The Case For A Second Question!
I’ve been mulling this post over for a while, ever since Jade Holden wrote a piece against a second question on her blog.
I was glad to read that the fringe event at Scottish Liberal Democrat conference and my speech to the floor of conference, made her agree and excited to join the campaign against a Yes/No ballot.
I was disappointed to read that she changed her mind later that weekend.
I still believe in a second question. Why?
As I said to conference, “a vote against independence is a vote for the status quo”. I am not and will never be in favour of the current constitutional settlement.
I firmly believe being one step back or one step ahead of the right constitutional settlement are as bad as each other.
If I wasn’t interested in this question or had I not been taught about democracy around the time of Scottish Devolution, had I not thought of how I would like to see the constitutional settlement solved then it would be so easy for me to vote No in the coming referendum and think nothing of it.
But because I am interested in the question and in politics, I won’t be able to bring myself to vote No.
I can’t vote No because of one simple reason: Trust in politics and politicians, in particular David Cameron & the Tories and Ed Miliband & the Labour party.
In 1979, there was a referendum on Scottish Devolution. The Tories said “Vote No and we’ll come up with a better solution”. Well, 33 years later the country is still waiting for the Conservatives’ better solution. Let me put that into perspective for you, thats my life plus almost a decade. It can’t be that hard to find a solution that the Conservative party can agree on, can it?
In 2011, there was a referendum on AV, the ‘No’ side tried to reassure everyone that if they voted No, there was still a chance for voting reform. This vote was specifically on the proposal of AV.
After a No vote was declared, David Cameron amongst others claimed that this was a ‘Yes’ vote for FPTP.
Now the question of independence or not is too important to me for me to allow my vote to be manipulated in this way so I’m making the conscious decision not to vote in any Yes/No referendum.
I believe in change so I believe there should be a change option on the ballot.
I agree with Jade and others who say, complicating the issue with devo-max, devo-plus and devo-extra (my pet name for Home Rule). I agree with the ‘independent’ panel that says rest of UK should have a say in whether the current constitutional settlement should be changed.
The ballot paper could ask:
The current constitutional settlement sees the Scottish Parliament deciding issues on matters such as Health, Education, Law & Order among other things whilst Westminster deciding on matters to deal with Welfare, Economy, Defence, Foreign affairs, Immigration. Should the current constitutional settlement change?
If Yes, should Scotland become an independent state?
There is no Rennie’s riddle here if there is a Yes/Yes, we go independent, if there is a No to the first question we stay as we are. If there is a Yes/No we continue on the debate as to what Scotland we would like to see and hopefully bring the rest of the UK into the debate as well.