Scottish independence: Call for 'truce' during Glasgow 2014

Lord McConnell Lord McConnell hopes campaigners will not use the Games for political gain

A former Scottish first minister has called on both sides of the independence debate to declare a "truce" during the Commonwealth Games.

Lord McConnell, known as Jack McConnell when he was an elected representative, said neither side should use Glasgow 2014 for political gain.

But First Minister Alex Salmond said it was "nonsensical" to suggest politics would overshadow the event.

A referendum on Scottish independence will be held on 18 September.

Voters will be asked the yes/no question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Lord McConnell will explain his thinking on the issue during a House of Lords debate later.

The former Labour MSP and now Labour peer, told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "There is a genuine concern that there will be a temptation on both sides of this debate in the period of the Commonwealth Games, given the numbers around and the focus on Scotland, to engage in a continuing debate on the referendum campaign and therefore I think it would be wise, six months before the games, for both sides to say that they will agree a truce for that two week period.

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He continued his message: "Campaign relentlessly between now and then and of course afterwards, but for that two week period let's concentrate on Glasgow and Scotland and winning some gold medals for Scotland.

"I don't think it is a lot to ask both sides of politicians to lay off for that fortnight and to ensure that nobody involved in the Games be distracted or concerned by what they say and do and achieve might be either exploited or used by either side in the aftermath."

Mr Salmond told BBC Scotland's Glenn Campbell that the Games had been prepared on a cross-party basis and that there was no reason to doubt that continued approach.

In addition, Scotland's sports minister Shona Robison said she did not share Lord McConnell's concern that politicians would hijack the Games.

Ms Robison said: "Politicians of all persuasions across the debate will enjoy the Games, will be involved as appropriate but I don't think there is any willingness or desire to hijack the Games.

"What we all want is for it all to be a huge success for Scotland, we have invested a huge amount of time and resources in what will be Scotland's biggest sporting event we have ever had. Everyone wants it to be a success and that will be a sporting success."

She added: "The backdrop to the Games is that it has been achieved on a cross-party basis. That puts us in a very strong position to continue that cross party working right the way through the referendum. We have worked through a general election, through a Scottish election, through a local election and despite rigorous debate through those elections we still manage to sustain cross party working around the Games."

Meanwhile, the Law Society of Scotland has said both sides of the independence debate need to do more in 2014 to engage and inform voters.

It commissioned a poll from Ipsos Mori which indicated that only 14% of voters said they were "very well informed" about the issues being debated in the campaign so far.

Bruce Beveridge, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: "This is an exciting and quite possibly pivotal time for Scotland. The importance of the question facing us in September, described as the biggest for our nation in 300 years, demands a thorough and worthy debate.

"This poll shows that, with only nine months to go, many Scots still do not feel properly informed.

"Over half say the debate is not covering the issues they care about. And as many as two thirds are finding it difficult to decide whether or not the information they are getting is true."

A Scottish government spokesman said it was important that both sides of the debate did as much as they could to "engage and inform voters in the run-up to the referendum".

He added that the government's White Paper set out the "transformational opportunities of independence for Scotland".

A Better Together spokesman said: "We are being asked to take one of the biggest decisions in Scottish history.

"The campaigns are working to get information out to people across the country about the impact of going it alone on our jobs, pensions and public services."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    @9. Lucky White Heather

    Alex Salmond had every right to wave the when Andy Murray won. That's the national flag of where the Athlete comes from, and the country where Mr. Salmond is the First Minister of.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Whatnonesenseyou ... read my comment again... None of your comments are relevant as they are historical I was opining about the future. You missed the point entirely so sad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    This man represents no one but himself!

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    no campaign wish to stifle debate, an absolute affront to democracy and the Scottish people.

    The anti Scottish no's have the bbc and all news papers on their side.

    The Pro Scottish Yes campaign must use all legal and peaceable measures to secure a Yes to save our nation from a future under tory rule.

    Jack, voting no is voting tory, I suspect you'll suffer that to remain a lord?

    C McK

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Typical that the usual folk are on here who have not a clue on the matter. Who bailed out who at what Banks exactly? I think Northern Rock were one of the first failures. Besides any bailing out of any bank was done with tax payers money so unless Scotland does not pay taxes what right have English commentators got to say that THEY bailed us out?!

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    My claymore will be deactivated for the duration as the great Lord requests, such wisdom only comes through sterling service for the British establishment. But why do the media go big on such blatant self publicity and a non-story at that..

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    McConnell is simply an idiot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    The sooner Scotland votes for independents and goes her own way, the better! Hopefully all the Scottish patriots in what remains of the UK will leave and go home to support their motherland, especially the ones in parliament.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    I cant wait for Scotland to vote yes so next time the scottish banks are bailed out the scots can pay for the bail out themselves. A new scottish currency if they are so confident of it will increase against the UK pound and kill off exports to their biggest market england. All the UK needs is fracking and an oil pipeline with Norway. Scotland is only one oil refinery from going broke anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Jack was democratically defeated in 2007 and now represents the Westminster Establishment (maybe he always did) but in no way does he represent the views of the vast majority of Scots, if he did he would have turned down a seat in the House of Lords.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    I hope the Scottish Government behaves exactly the same way that the uk government and bbc behaved during the Olympics!

    jack mcconnell - failed politician, whose obviously had a wee nudge from his pal darling to earn his crust for being a lord.

    I wonder what jack would look like wandering round the Raploch in his ermine robes!

    That's new labour, self service not public service!


  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    NO "truce" during the Commonwealth Games. The yes campaign needs to get out there during the games and show the rest of the world we want our freedom and we (Scotland) will not let an Westminster lacky tell us what to do!

    What a cheeky fellow!

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Was it Atlee who said that "some silence from you would not go amiss"? I must say that I feel the same whenever I see some of these policiticans. Jack Connell, Alisdair Darling, etc., spouting off about independence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    There will be no chance of any truce because the referendum date was chosen by the SNP in the hope that off the back of the Year of Homecoming, the Commonwealth Games & the Ryder Cup scots who would never otherwise vote yes will be carried along on a nationalistic swell and vote yes before regreting it the rest of their lives.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    McConnell and and Darling would be out of jobs once the independence bell tolls and they are affraid as its money for old rope, being aswerable to no one and making a total screw up of the economy for Scotland and the UK.
    These labour puppets are a disgrace to Scotland and shouldn't be given air time for what they have done for the ecomony
    The voters will decide, Westminster or Edinburgh

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    An interesting re-appearance by Jack who did absolutely nothing for Scotland - his attempt at "gagging" is just typical of the no camp - the Scottish people deserve something more constructive about the future of Scotland from the no camp - rather than this kind of intervention. Instead of trying to block constructive debate, the better together camp need to say what would happen after a no vote.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    FACT: Scotland could be a wealthy independent country with a democratic system of government.

    Or we could stay in the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    I thought Salmond wielding the Saltire at Wimbledon was awesome actually :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    The campaign should continue. Much too important an issue to "call a truce"
    As to whether people believe the information they are given, what can you say? Both sides will give conflicting information about a particular subject to support their point of view. Voters have to decide who they believe

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Lord McConnell - another good reason to see the House of Lords done away with. A complete irrelevance in a modern democracy.


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