So what is the current state of play?
Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon are still not winning the argument. Their so-called White Paper has apparently attracted very few readers. This is not surprising given its length and the fact that much of what it states as firm future actions is in fact nothing of the sort. I have said before that Alex should have acted like a statesman, not a politician. Spinning the news and the facts is not a good idea. Those of us who have followed anything of the debate know that in the event of a Yes vote the real horse trading will have to start. I believe in many ways they have been too cautious. Why not appeal to the romantic in the Scot? Let’s go for full blown independence with our own currency and outside the EU, and make ourselves a brand new state. Then if rUK and Europe want us to join in we can negotiate it from a position of strength.
Why do I say this? Because if I am to vote yes a large part of my decision will be the present state of English dominated politics. I don’t want to stay with a £ that an English Chancellor is using to bail out his uber rich (Robert Peston’s terminology) pals with. I don’t want to live in a society where those in full time work are subsidised by the taxpayer, in effect subsidising the profits of mega companies. I don’t like Workfare; I don’t like the benefit cuts. I want us to bring up and educate our youngsters so that they have a future of productive and satisfying work. It is totally immoral that we have such high youth unemployment across the whole of Europe and yet the private sector, especially the banks, are avoiding any responsibility for the disaster of our present financial crisis and still taking home vast fortunes every year.
And yet the SNP seem to assume that they will run an independent Scotland and again I repeat do they have the people of vision to do it?
In marketing and selling terms it is never a good idea to merely knock your competitors product. The same must be true of political campaigns. The No campaign in the Scottish Referendum Debate has largely tried to tear apart the SNP campaign statements without suggesting better alternatives.
The Guide to an Independent Scotland “Scotland’s Future” out this week sets out in detail what the SNP would do in the light of a Yes vote. However much of it could be achieved without full independence as it is about changes within Scotland. In fact some of it might be possible without any constitutional changes.
I would like to see the No campaign not just knock “Scotland’s Future” but suggest ways in which much of it could be achieved with some extra devolved powers. If the Westminster government were to commit to a package of measures under so-called “Devo Max” to be enacted post the September 2014 vote, this would strengthen their argument enormously. Definite commitments would cut through the miasma of speculation and counter speculation that has characterised the debate so far.