There will be a momentous decision being made in Scotland on Thursday 18th April 2014, whether to become independent of England or stay within the union.
I received a phone call from an official referendum polling organisation last Saturday,(13th September) the first ever such call I have received. Was I a random number being called- I shall never know. The caller did not get my salespersons treatment, he was too polite and did ask if it was a good time to call for answering a few questions. End of story…It was not a good time to call.
Votes will be placed, I believe, mainly with heart or head. Some people will vote with both. We have had only one Member Of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) give our remote area the time of day, a socialist who supports the ongoing union of Scotland. I note that The First Minister Alec Salmond says he and his party have covered every area in Scotland. He should define what that means! Even the sitting Scottish Nationalist Party member, (SNP) has not ventured to arrange any local meetings. Is that confidence because he was voted in as an MSP last time, or is there something else going on?
On the other hand, those who represent staying in the union, (‘No’ to independence) have not tried to kid anyone that they have travelled far and wide in number to promote their cause. (One of their number has genuinely tried to). How do you interpret this?
The ‘Yes’ campaign has been vigorous. Its momentum has excited a lot of people. Throughout, the independence campaign has had the advantage of being blessed with a positive sounding ‘Yes’. The ‘No’ campaign has been very slow to react and speed up, they have been seen as lazy; the pro-union campaign has been disadvantaged throughout with the negative sounding ‘No’. They have been struggling to find a way to make their message vibrant.
Scottish Police have begun patrolling armed, without any public debate or agreement to it. There has been an attempt to slip this through under the cover of the Independence Referendum. The Minister For Justice tried to fob off public protest, saying it is solely a police matter: it is not. The SNP Minister has responsibility for police and policing matters. After local government and public protests, reports are being called for. The reporting organisations do not sound like bodies independent from the Police they will be reporting on.
Questions: why is the Scottish Government arming police? what are they intending?
All sides have indulged in disingenuity to suit their causes, some apparently more than others; the SNP were caught out very early on in this long campaign. As a cynic, I have to sadly admit that is the way of politics. One of the prerequisites of being a politician anywhere, is being able to look someone in the eye, appear to be sincere while acting out the events of The Ides Of March. That said, it is fundamental to ongoing well-being in Scottish politics and in Scottish community life that there is respect on all sides whatever the outcome of the vote.
There are many unanswerable questions for which, political imagination has been required to field them. There are answerable questions which have been either glossed over, dismissed as scare-mongering, or side-stepped. Time scales for change, if it is a ‘yes’ vote, are, in my view over-optimistic. Is the Scottish government canny enough and strong enough to handle experienced, tough and clever negotiators in or from London, because there is no doubt,they will be wheeled out. A similar question can be asked if there is a ‘No’ vote. After the Edinburgh Tram contracts debacle, I wonder.
If it is a vote to keep the union, a great deal of trust will have been handed to Westminster, which on past form has been totally untrustworthy. Will this and future Westminster Governments honour what they have promised, the equivalent of Devo Max which, if you remember, was not allowed to be an option to vote for? (Maximum Devolution for which there is no given definition). Will they honour the tenets of the Edinburgh agreement which agreed the upcoming Referendum? I believe, a great deal of redefining and fiddling of definitions, is likely to occur. I would like to be proved wrong. A close vote should and ought to focus ruling classes both in London and Scotland.