Defying democratic will of Scots is anti-Scottish says Joan McAlpine

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By G.A.Ponsonby
 
A row has broken out at Holyrood after the SNP’s Parliamentary Liaison Officer Joan McAlpine described attempts by the Unionist parties to thwart the Scottish Government’s plans for an independence referendum as “anti-Scottish behaviour”.
 
Ms McAlpine made the remarks during a Parliamentary debate instigated by Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont who had introduced a motion that would have placed conditions on the referendum ballot.

By G.A.Ponsonby
 
A row has broken out at Holyrood after the SNP’s Parliamentary Liaison Officer Joan McAlpine described attempts by the Unionist parties to thwart the Scottish Government’s plans for an independence referendum as “anti-Scottish behaviour”.
 
Ms McAlpine made the remarks during a Parliamentary debate instigated by Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont who had introduced a motion that would have placed conditions on the referendum ballot.

Speaking in the chamber, Ms McAlpine who is a former Times journalist said: “”I absolutely make no apology for saying that the Liberals, the Labour Party and the Tories are anti-Scottish in coming together to defy the will of the Scottish people, the democratic mandate the Scottish people gave us to hold the referendum at a time of our choosing, which the first minister said would be the latter half of the parliament.

“And I think to watch you cosying up on the sofas of various Scottish television studios I think will really alarm the people of Scotland.”

Ms McAlpine had stood by her twitter comments earlier this week when she said: “last poll had SNP on 51%, perhaps because of the negative anti scottish behavior of unionist parties”

Interfering in referendum is anti-scottish as is refusal to compromise on popular desire 4 powers to Scotland” she later added.

The South of Scotland MSP was responding to threats by the Tory Lib/Dem coalition to wrest control of the independence referendum from Scotland.  Tory PM David Cameron has threatened to withhold from Scotland what he claims are the powers needed to hold the ballot unless the Scottish Government accept conditions set out by London.

Mr Cameron’s threat was backed by Labour MPs and MSPs, with Labour’s leader in Scotland, Johann Lamont saying she welcomed the Tory leader’s intervention.  Yesterday Ms Lamont’s boss, David Miliband, joined with the Conservative Prime Minister in attacking the SNP’s plans.

However this evening Scottish Labour MSPs are reported to have demanded that Ms McAlpine be sacked from her position.  Labour MSP Neil Findlay suggested Ms McAlpine’s comments meant she was implying that Scots did not love their country.

“Given the views that opinion polls suggest of the vast majority of the Scottish people, is she suggesting that they’re not patriotic and do not love their country? If she is, that is an utter disgrace.” he said.

Ms McAlpine responded that her remarks were not addressed at the Scottish people but were aimed at Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems.

“I actually didn’t address my comments to the people of Scotland, I addressed my comments to the Labour party, the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats who, thank goodness, do not represent the people of Scotland and, as the First Minister said earlier, were out-polled in their entirety by the SNP last year.” retorted the SNP MSP.

Tory MSP Jackson Carlaw accused Ms McAlpine of a “form of political racism”.

In the end up the Labour motion was defeated when MSPs backed by 67 votes to 56 an amendment that stated it was the “responsibility of the Scottish Parliament to decide the timing and arrangements for the referendum”. 

The Parliament also backed calls for 16 and 17 year olds to be allowed to take part in the ballot and that Scots are allowed to “achieve a parliament with the powers and responsibilities of independence to grow the economy, create jobs, build a strong society and give all of Scotland’s people the life chances that they deserve.”

However, speaking afterwards Labour Lothians MSP Neil Findlay claimed Ms McAlpine’s remarks were “the worst of nationalism” and added: “Like so many people, I am proud of my country and I love Scotland.”

Mr Findlay also claimed the SNP MSP had used the term because she disagreed with him and accused Ms McAlpine of “claiming that two thirds of the country is anti-Scottish”.

He said: “She must apologise to the Scottish Parliament, and Alex Salmond should sack her.”

Mr Findlay is no stranger to controversy himself, as he showed when attacking the Scottish Government’s moves to stamp out religious bigotry at football by suggesting the plans were similar to a “tinpot dictatorship”.

Last November another Labour MSP, Michael McMahon, went further and suggested that public parades by the Orange Order and Irish Republicans were comparable to celebrations of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce.

He said: “When the First Minister claims that he wants to stop people reliving 1690 and 1916 on our streets, I ask him to reflect on this glib statement and ask himself how prepared would he be to consign William Wallace in 1297 or Robert the Bruce in 1314 to the dustbin of history and set his culture and heritage aside because it may give offence to someone.”