There’s a lot to be said for Scotland staying in the Union.
There’s a lot to be said for Scotland becoming independent.
There’s a lot to be said for devomax.
All of these possible options in the referendum have many really excellent points in their favour – more than enough to think about over the next two and a half years. Yet it’s easy to see that when David Cameron, Nick Clegg, and Ed Milliband all join hands and aim for us, we’re in for a doomfest.
Remember AV? The No To AV campaign went directly to lies, lies, and more lies: the Yes To AV campaign followed suit: and instead of having a sensible discussion about the benefits and drawbacks and tactical choices in campaigning for a change in the voting system and what a No or a Yes vote could mean, we ended up hearing about faked-up costs that the campaigners made up, and looking at pics of babies on ventilators and cat videos.
It would be great if the independence referendum campaign could happen positively. If everyone who supports Scotland staying in the Union could stick to their honest belief about why that’s the best thing. If everyone who supports Scotland’s independence could stick to their honest belief about the advantages. If everyone who supports devomax could stick to their honest belief about why this is the way to go in autumn 2014.
Okay, and fair criticism of the options you’re not going for is reasonable. But if you know already which way you’re voting in autumn 2014, you ought to have good solid positive reasons why, not just negative thinking about the other two. Let’s hear those. (This is a perfect example of the kind of thing I mean: Scotland 3.0)
Above all: I want all five main Scottish parties to commit to giving us only their honest, positive, reasoned views about which option they’re supporting. It would be great if Westminster could keep their neb out, but small chance of that: let’s at least try to keep the discussion positive, clean, and reasonable in Scotland.
I don’t know how I’ll vote yet. I’m not easily convinced either way. But the one thing about which I can be readily convinced: that some at least of the politicians will be arguing not about what’s best for Scotland, but about what’s best for their party and their party’s financiers. Politicians who go negative, who support negative campaigns, who rely on attacks and unreasoned scaremongering – those are not thinking about what’s best for Scotland.
So maybe that’s what we ought to be writing to our MSPs about right now. I will if you will. How about it?