A year ago today…

keep-calm-and-voteI voted No.

Am I sorry, ashamed, apologetic that I voted No?

Never in this life.

I don’t think anyone should feel apologetic or ashamed or sorry for how they voted in the referendum: we came together in the largest turnout since the 1950s, after two years of intense debate. Each of us voted, and. as agreed, we abide by the majority. Everyone who voted in the referendum voted rightly, whether it was Yes or No.

If I’d known on 18th September 2014 what I know now on 18th September 2015, would I have voted differently?

No, I would not.

There were other reasons why I voted No, but the key one for me was the decision made by the Scottish Government, which was publicly supported by the Yes Scotland campaign, that an independent Scotland wouldn’t have a central bank or its own currency: instead iScotland would make use of rUK’s currency and, if the government of rUK legislated to allow that, of rUK’s central bank.

This was such an appalling and stupid idea that I voted No to it on 18th September 2014 and I would vote No to it again on any day of any year. iScotland without its own central bank could not join the EU: iScotland dependent on rUK’s central bank would not have been an independent country.

Anyone who tried to tell me that this didn’t matter, that it was just a trivial issue that could get changed later on, clearly had never once seriously considered the ramifications of iScotland’s inclusion in the EU being dependent on rUK’s: or of iScotland’s access to rUK’s central bank being legislated exclusively by Westminster. Nor had they considered the historical parallels of taking such a step.

As I know now, the board of Yes Scotland were, most of them, aware that the Scottish Government’s plan to permanently enthrall iScotland to the Bank of England was stupid: they knew there needed to be at the very least, an alternative plan. They chose not to say so, because their goal was to get as many votes for independence as possible and they thought lying about currency union would get them more Yes votes.

For this reason alone, I wouldn’t be sorry that No got the majority. Independence is a huge step. If the Yes campaign honestly believed they had to lie on a matter as huge as iScotland’s currency to get a Yes vote, then the campaign deserved to fail. While I support the rule of 50+1% being decisive, a narrow margin for Yes would have been a bad start for something as big a change as independence, wouldn’t it?

Nicola Sturgeon is a politician. No doubt she will call for indyref2 at the point when she thinks Yes can win a majority: or if she is retired when the moment comes, her successor will. There will be an indyref2 at some point, I make no doubt.

But for those who were voting Yes because they wanted an independent Scotland, either for its own sake or to make iScotland a better, fairer, freer country: don’t call for indyref2.

Call for a second Constitutional Convention.

The White Paper the Scottish Govenment put out, described an iScotland that was a mixter-maxter of dependencies on rUK’s goodwill. It was muddled, verbose, and lengthy. Most people planning to vote Yes, never read it: I did. It was a mess.

Let the blueprint for Scottish independence be constructed by a Constitutional Convention, which involves everyone.

Another reason I am sure the Yes campaign failed was its participants entire lack of interest in taking seriously people’s reasons for voting No: its failure to hold events which welcomed and wanted to hear from people who intended to vote No and people who were undecided. Perhaps, if Yes had wanted to hear from No/Undecided, rather than ridiculing or trolling or excluding, the Yes campaign might have managed a winning campaign.

Supposing Scotland – independent or not – had its own Constitution?

I suggested this to many people over the last few years. The only ones who consistently said there was no point, people wouldn’t want to do it, this was a thing that could happen later – were all Yes voters.

Make of that what you will. But if you’re one of those who told me that, don’t try to tell me now that the problem is the No voters would stand in the way.

Electoral Reform Society - Democracy Max


Filed under Scottish Constitution, Scottish Politics

2 responses to “A year ago today…

  1. We need one throughout the UK (and/or its constituents separately, though Northern Ireland is still a tricky one….).

    • Well, perhaps if Scotland successfully and collectively writes our own Constitution, the English and Welsh (and Northern Irish) would be happy to model a UK-wide constitution on Scotland’s.

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