Referendums or Even Referenda

The time would appear to be ripe for further government by the people. In spite of being a representative democracy the UK members of parliament have decided to honour the result of the EU referendum whatever their own positions on the desirability of Brexit; this even though the referendum was advisory.

While Westminster is in the mood to meekly accept the result of any referendum how about some more…

  • one to ban drinking on Sunday
  • one banning Fox Hunting
  • another to abolish the House of Lords
  • another to bring back the death penalty
  • even one to turn the UK into a republic so we can have a Trump like president of our own.

English Votes for English Laws

Amazing, the Tories have done it again – produced a poisoned chalice. William Hague on the Radio 4 Today Programme announce their proposal for EV EL. The Committee stages of an English only Bill would be voted on by just English MPs but the final 3rd Reading vote would be open to all MPs.

He stressed that this would give English MPs the power of veto over English only legislation. He never mentioned that non-English MPs might have a similar veto at 3rd Reading. What great spin. But also what a waste of time if a Bill were to fall at the last hurdle. So there would be great pressure and  massive negative publicity if a Bill were to be voted down. Hence the poisoned chalice. What is more Hague never mentioned the House of Lords nor what would happen to a Bill which with some amendment might have passed into law.

It is quite possible after GE15 that Labour will be able to govern with the help of non-English MPs. If English MPs have a Tory majority then they could amend English legislation as it went through the committee stage so that it was unacceptable to Labour. What then? Effectively the Labour government would have no jurisdiction over English law making. What a nonsense.

Why can no politician have the guts or the vision to see that a federal solution is now the only solution as an alternative to Scottish Independence.. 

SNP and GE15

The Scottish Referendum campaign was marked by a very timid approach to their message by the SNP. They obviously did not want to appear extreme to the middle of the road voter but as a result failed to garner their votes and possibly also failed to convert some undecided voters to the Yes camp. David Knowles has recently written about converts here. Many people have been converted to the renewal of Scotland through participation in the Referendum and the SNP must talk their language.

That means not sinking to the level of the other parties trying to hedge their bets for their positions after the election. The SNP message should be loud and clear. “Vote for us, the only party who will put the Scottish People’s interests first”. They should ignore any attempt to get them into a duel of weasel words. Be simple. Be evangelistic. That is the Scottish mood.

Scottish Independence–What next?

It is most important that we continue to capitalise on the surge of political activity which so energised the Yes campaign.

However what can realistically be done or campaigned for?

One option which could be pushing a an open door is to work with the idea of English votes for English laws. The present proposals are timid and probably unworkable. However why not a truly federated UK?

I suggest that the UK Federation is made up of the states of the existing regions of England, i.e. the North West, the North East, the Midlands, the South East, East Anglia, etc., and then Scotland, NI, Wales. I know the regions are ill-defined but could be a starting point for natural states. Then the states governments would devolve powers to the federal government. The federal government would consist of two houses, one elected on numbers of voters and the upper house being equal representation of all states. Of course there would be size differences but just think California (38 million population) and Wyoming (0.5 million) in the USA.

I will return to the theme again.

Scottish Independence – Will Hutton Against

Will Hutton makes his case for imaginative thinking by Westminster in the last ten days of the campaign to stop the breakup of the UK. In this paragraph be succinctly explains why we in Scotland have had enough of the Union…

The big argument is that Scotland does not need to be permanently yoked to English Toryism’s infatuation with a libertarianism that denies obligations to society and each other, has abandoned justice and equity in its public policy positions and is the author of the great “cashing out” of the past 30 years. All our utilities, five million council houses, many of our great companies and swaths of real estate in our cities have been cashed out in the name of market forces, of liberalisation, of being open for business and wealth generation. What has been created is predator capitalism, massive inequality and a society organised to benefit the top 1%. The country needs to build, innovate and reinvent social partnership. Independent Scotland can strike out in this direction.

We have nothing against the people south of the  Border but we do want to build a society that we want. Hutton goes on to say that an  independent Scotland will carry on in much the  same way. But he forgets that the SNP are a regional authority not a national government which has stepped into the void in national politics to effect change. After a YES vote the people of Scotland will decide what government they want. It could be that Alex Salmond is actually a turkey voting for Christmas and that a strong Socialist party will emerge before the first general election of iScotland.

I will vote for it if…

  • It proposes an independent currency with our own central bank
  • It looks outward to Europe and to the Commonwealth
  • It proposes a fair tax regime for everybody and every organisation
  • It has long term realistic plans to tackle inequality and nurture everybody’s health and well-being.

Some suggest this is wishful thinking but better to live in hope than vote for Will Hutton’s picture of the present and no doubt future Westminster government.

Scottish Independence – Endgame

I have the feeling that everything worth saying about Scottish Independence has now been said. Ron Ferguson in the Press & Journal summarises the debate clearly.

We have gone through all the technical arguments with neither side in the debate actually being terribly convincing. The future is not ours to know about sums it up. So it remains a single question. Each individual voter has to rely on their own emotional psyche, if there is such a thing, to decide a preference for government from Westminster or from Holyrood.

I personally believe that England which dominates Westminster is going in a direction which I don’t like and that it will not easily be changed. Scottish voters will have minimal influence. On the other hand I have written before that I doubt some of the present politicians’ abilities. So I do hope that a Yes vote will result in  many of  the present campaigners stepping up to the plate to make Scotland a society we can all be proud of.

I want radical change not nationalism.

Scottish Independence – Do We Really Want to Stay?

Fraser Nelson, right wing Editor of the Spectator, in the Telegraph writes this

But if Britain were to somehow leave the European Union and become the 51st state of America, we would actually be one of those poor states. If you take our economic output, adjust for living costs and slot it into the US league table then the United Kingdom emerges as the second-poorest state in the union. We’re poorer than much-maligned Kansas and Alabama and well below Missouri, the scene of all the unrest in recent weeks. Only Mississippi has lower economic output per head than the UK; strip out the South East and Britain would rank bottom. We certainly have our problems; we’re just better at concealing them.

And they want us to stay!!!