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.

After Shock of the Scottish Referendum

I have not written my blog since the referendum. I was so appalled by the result, so near and yet so far but more especially about how much of what I feared has since come true. So many No voters were plainly taken in by the propaganda of the Better Together campaign. Much has been written so I am not going to repeat it.

What the Smith Commission has come up with is a poisoned chalice as I suggested in August. Even Gordon Brown agrees with me. As Iain MacWhirter says “The cost of financing Scotland’s ageing population is being repatriated while.. means of growing the economy are reserved.’” This says it all in a nutshell. You just have to read tax expert Richard Murphy here  to get the real story.

And I am also still worried about the NHS. The No campaign repeatedly and falsely claimed that it was safe. TTIP will make it completely vulnerable.

We should realise that Osborne’s Austerity is more than just a hopeful plan to re-balance the economy. Milton Friedman is, years after his death, an icon for the far right neolib / neocon economists and politicians. Naomi Kemp in her book “Shock Doctrine” draws attention to their deliberate opportunism in taking advantage of catastrophes to further their idea of minimal state intervention, preferably none at all, in the running of an economy. Osborne and his friends see our present financial situation as an ideal time to drive down the public services. It is a measure of his ineffectualness that more has not been sold off already. But given the  chance in May 2015  they will continue to privatise all parts of the public services which can be turned into a source of private profit.

Scottish Independence and the No Campaign

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.