Scottish Independence Part III - If It Is A No

Have I convinved you yet to vote yes? I would imagine not, as that's not really my point of these posts. If I was trying to convert you to a Yes I'd be doing other tactics, like properly taking apart the No chat, or even going on a 3000 word post about Yes and why it makes it better. I don't expect to be able to change your mind (unless I have, which is amazing) but the point is that I am setting out my reasons for voting Yes so that you can know that I didn't do it for the "wrong" reasons. If you are voting No I hope you respect my opinion as much as I will to yours (desite the snarky comments you might have seen me dish out recently, which I have apologised for - I blame the baby tiredness).

However, a No is a distinct possibility. In fact, despite the polls suggesting slightly otherwise recently, I believe that on the 19th we will wake up to a No and the Yes campaign will have failed.

Or will it? A recent discussion with a friend who is a staunch No had him mutter "I can't wait for this to all be over on the 19th" which got me thinking - will it be over? The answer, I am sorry to tell you, is No and for some very important and very good reasons.

You see, this isn't like other elections where politics is being played out and it's been a bit of a compromise - you are either in or out. The only middle ground is the ground where you don't vote (or spoil your ballot). The reason why this is very important is that it means that after the vote is confirmed and the result announced there is going to be two different realities.

If it is a Yes

The UK will start to reconcile the issues needed to split up as per the Edinburgh Agreement and at some point in 2016 Scotland will become Independent. Here's hoping.

If it is a No

Well... the Yes side will be upset and the rUK will breathe a sigh of relief, and then things will start all over again. Those who wanted better control for Scotland will still want better control. Those who wanted better powers will still want better powers. Those who wanted a fairer government will still want a fairer government. So it won't stop - the framing will have just changed slightly.

And there is one other major thing that has came from this whole affair, and that is engagement. There isn't many in Scotland who aren't thinking about the IndyRef which is good and that means even more are questioning the make-up of the UK and the system we have. The question might have been answered, but the topic is still up for discussion.

What About the Rest of the UK?

This isn't just limited to the esoteric North of the Border either - the rest of England should be paying attention too because the MPs that we have in Scotland vote on policies that affect them - and vote on policies that are devolved. What that means is that a Scottish MP can vote on English educational reform but then the English MPs don't get to vote on Scotland's education. That's great for Scotland but it's dreadful for England and even worse for a representative democracy. If this whole affair wakes the UK up to that imbalance then that would be great. Imagine - England voting on Independence in a few years time themselves! 

Another good point is why should Scotland get to decide on these things? Shouldn't Wales or Northern Ireland? Or Newcastle? Manchester? Borders are arbitrary anyway... imagine.

What About Further Devolution?

At the beginning of the debate I said that I'd prefer the best of both sides - more powers but still part of the UK. Alex Salmond proposed a three answer vote, but it was vetoed by the UK government because of it splitting the Yes and No votes, giving a possible easier "victory" to the Yes campaign. This tells you something about the thought processes at play. "They're never going to win, so let's make it more difficult for them".

What has actually happened is that they've made it worse for them - a No is seen as the status quo, and very few folk like the status quo in Scotland, meaning the only positive option is a Yes vote. This will be dealt with in a further post (my issues with the No camp), but it touches on a problem; only now, in the final 10 days or so, the No vote is being suggested was all along being a vote for further devolution - which is far from the case, and quite insulting to suggest. New powers to Scotland would be great if No was the answer, and be positive, but only true independence can give us the control we need.

Further devolution would be welcome  - but it's just one further step towards independence. A deeper half-way house that worsens the debate for everyone in the UK. Don't be seduced by promises - remember, the Coalition promised to make no reforms to the NHS and they've instead smashed through it's privatisation.

Another Vote

Finally, here's something to consider - in the 1979 vote for devolution it was a slight Yes win but it didn't meet the added criteria for the vote to be binding (a discussion for another day). It took 18 years to get another vote in 1997 that gave us the near 75% Yes margin that gave us the powers we have now.

So don't get too worried. We might not get it sorted this time round, but our children might yet get the chance. it might be close now but once the older establised voters either change thier minds or die off, the new generation who deserve better will wonder what the hell were we thinking, and do it anyway. It be even sooner if the 2017 vote for EU membership pulls Scotland out with the rest of the UK...

That's a No then. It has changed everything. Let's make sure it does, at any rate.