Repeatedly in discussions on Twitter, which admittedly is not the place for subtlety, pro-independence Scots have told me that the thing that matters is winning the Yes vote – “Everything else” can get worked out post-indy.
This is indescribably foolish.
One, because presumably they are attempting to convince me to vote Yes, and I’ll vote for status-quo devolution if they’ve got nothing more in the pot to offer but “We want you to vote yes!” Telling me that this is the “wrong attitude” to take to the independence referendum? Well, fine, but it’s my attitude: you can’t convince me to vote yes by refusing to engage with me.
Two, because realistically: I understand that the proposed timescale for independence is two years after a “yes” vote wins. Assuming that the Yes vote does win, that means four or so years from today, Scotland would be an independent nation.
That is none too much time to begin the Constitutional Convention to discuss what form and structure the new nation should have.
I wrote about the work of the Constitutional Convention in the 1990s Continue reading
On Calton Hill, near the old Royal High, you’ll find an odd monument – a cairn with a brazier on top. It commemorates the Vigil for a Scottish Parliament, which was held for 1980 days – from 1992 to 1997. One of the 26 Objects at the National Museum of Scotland exhibition was the tent for the traveling vigil, drumming up signatures for the Scottish Parliament. The vigil ended the day that Scotland voted Yes in the 1997 referendum: which had been part of the Labour manifesto.
All of this feels like recent events to me. I have to think to realise that that there are people who were old enough to vote in May 2010 who would have just started primary school on 11th September 1997 – for whom the Claim of Right for Scotland and the Scottish Constitutional Convention, if they remember them at all, are events from before they were born.
Here is the Claim of Right for Scotland, signed on 30th March 1989 at the General Assembly Hall in Edinburgh, where 10 years later the Scottish Parliament sat for the first time:
We, gathered as the Scottish Constitutional Convention, do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs, and do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests shall be paramount.