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 despair of politicians and the media. The campaigns, propaganda, spin, misinformation, downright lies and whatever else you might like to add has reduced the debate to pathetic levels. Once again it is the social media and the many blogs which have raised the important issues. Unfortunately the victims of all the misinformation will not normally be exposed to the proper information and real issues which blogs like bellacaledonia are highlighting.
Most importantly, the minute a politician says something “will” happen I shudder. Nobody can say for sure either way on any future happening or outcome.
For me there is one overriding consideration. Vote No and the UK will continue much as it is. If you like the thought of that it’s your choice. But if you are unhappy about any of the things Westminster politicians are doing in your name vote YES because for me it can’t get worse and from the energy generated on the social media it is likely to get better, not on 19th September but at some point in the future. I cannot predict how but I can have faith and hope.
I think there are many people who are worried that an independent Scotland will be dominated by Alex Salmond and the SNP. This impression is re-enforced by the poor quality of the campaign. Alex Salmond is an economist, the dismal science, and he is paying too much attention to detail. Actually there are many commentators, Chris Huhne amazingly among them, who make the point that it should be a vision of a potential future Scotland that motivates people to vote Yes. We should be hearing from other prominent people who have decided to vote Yes and are not SNP members. It may be of course the media campaigning for Project Fear (Better Together) do not want a more positive message to come across to weaken the relentless negativity surrounding Salmond.
Now I read of the numerous outrageous foul tricks that Project Fear is getting up to. @MissyM on Twitter highlights just a few of these. Given the antipathy of the media, it is very difficult to see how this can be countered as the victims of this misinformation are unlikely to follow the social media campaigns.
But I would urge every YES voter to try to make their voice heard with a message to “lift eyes unto the hills”.
All three main Westminster parties have pledged to devolve some tax raising powers to Scotland after a No vote.
We already are able to vary income tax and no government in Holyrood has taken this on because by itself it is a poisoned chalice. If Westminster were devolve all types and rates of tax keeping only some universal federal taxes to pay for defence and foreign affairs then that would be worthwhile having. An increase in one tax rate can be offset by lowering another and in this way a fine tuned tax regime can be achieved that suits our internal needs.
As it is, these a weasel words from the Conservatives, their cronies and Labour because they know full well that a future Scottish government would be shooting itself in the foot if it were to increase a single tax rate. What is more I suspect that Westminster would devolve one or two taxes and scrap the Barnett formula. In other words they can immediately point to a high spending, high taxing regime North of the Border
There is a feeling that a No vote will land us with another Conservative government. However I think it may be more than that.
I have a strong sense that substantial numbers of English people are growing more right wing. I think many people down South are in tune with Ian Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms and the need to rein back immigration from the EU. Many are also in favour of withdrawal from the EU; at least polls seem to indicate that. The major Westminster political parties appear to be singing from the same hymn sheet and a change of government may not alter that.
Whereas I do not think that is the case in Scotland. It implies that over the long term England and Scotland may continue to diverge in their attitudes to social justice and what constitutes a fair society. Scotland will not be able influence the course that Westminster politics takes and only a Yes vote will free us to follow our own ideas.
Watching the opening ceremony last night it struck me how many small nations and regions go to make up the Commonwealth and how many were never part of the British Empire but have asked to join in recent years.
It would appear that an independent Scotland could do worse than cultivate relationships across the entire spectrum of Commonwealth countries. The UK has been too pre-occupied with the EU and the USA for many years now to pay real attention to the them. As a small nation with great strengths, expertise and agility Scotland could benefit hugely from membership. Just one example, the majority of the Commonwealth population is young and we need to bolster our demographics in that respect. There could be mutual benefits in that area alone.
Of course as Tax Expert, Richard Murphy, has highlighted many Commonwealth countries are tax havens. We might need to avoid contamination in that respect.
Somehow the fine words of the three main Westminster parties do not ring true for me. The idea of any of them especially the Conservatives being magnanimous and welcoming of Scotland back into the fold is not a characteristic I can link with them.
If the NO vote prevails on 18th September then I think we will not see Devo Max but Devo Min, no NHS, no Barnett formula, more and deeper cuts to public services and an emasculated Scottish Parliament. Most public services such as water and all the various aspects of social welfare will be privatised, rich pickings for the neo- cons. This will of course be under the mantle of improved efficiency and all the usual weasel words. It will not happen overnight but will arrive via the back door in exactly the same way as the NHS privatisation in England and Wales has avoided the scrutiny of most of the voting public.