Monthly Archives: November 2013


imagesWe’re having a referendum next year but we all know it’s much more than that.

No European country has ever done what we’re about to do and as an exercise in democracy it is huge. Where the demand for detail characterises the debate, particularly from our friends in the no campaign, sometimes we forget the big philosophical themes of this enterprise. We also have to try and properly define what we are doing. That can only be called ‘Scotland’s Great Choice’. Because that’s what it is – a choice of two very different and distinct futures, and very few nations ever get this opportunity.

Choice (1)

Is actually quite simple. If you support No it is a belief that this is as good as it gets. It also signals a general contentment with Westminster rule and Westminster politicians ability to deliver for Scotland. The No campaign has said this is a ‘best of both worlds’ but then find it difficult to explain the added value from Westminster, particularly when we have a Tory Government we didn’t vote for pursuing policies we don’t want. There is a demand that the No camp define what would happen if Scotland votes No and it is right that if they are promising further constitutional change they must produce details of their proposals.

Otherwise it’s straight forward

No = Content with current arrangements.

Choice (2)

Is a Yes vote and that too is quite simple as a general principle. It starts with a belief that all decisions should be taken in Scotland by the Scottish people through our Parliament. It is a belief in the Scottish people and our abilities to do things better. ‘Yes’ is able to look at the experience of the Scottish Parliament to demonstrate that where we get the responsibilities we do things better and that evidence is compelling when we contrast, for example, our stewardship of the NHS with that in the rest of the UK. It is based on the simple premise that we will run responsibilities better because we care about them more. It is also an acceptance that as a political culture we are different from the rest of the UK. Again this is compelling. We don’t vote Tory in any significant numbers in Scotland where England prefers Tory political stewardship. There is also signs that this political divergence is deepening with the emergence of UKIP and Westminster taking up a UKIP influenced agenda, particularly on European exit and immigration.

Yes therefore is similarly straight forward.

Yes= Scotland in the Scottish people’s hands

So, therefore here we are. I’m certain that turn out next year will be huge for ‘Scotland’s Great Choice’ and the two options will be apparent. Belief in us to do things better, or a belief in Westminster to do things better on our behalf.