I know that sounds like a silly question.
Back a couple of years ago, one of the ideas being proposed about the referendum was that it should include a third option – devo-max or devo-plus. In July 2012 I noted the multiple reasons why – though undecided on the Yes/No question – I was against these options, and moved on: there seemed no reason to dwell on what was not going to be voted on.
Tom Gordon outlined the difference between the two, and who was supporting them, in the Herald:
Devo-plus was supported by LibDem Tavish Scott, Conservative MSP Alex Fergusson and Labour’s Duncan McNeil plus Reform Scotland, a think-tank based in Edinburgh that is, it says, independent of its parent think-tank Reform based in London:
devo plus could be a credible alternative to independence, if that option was rejected in the referendum.
Devo-max was floated as “full fiscal autonomy” and was supported primarily by the SNP:
Devo Max is intended to make Scotland more accountable for its spending. At present, Holyrood is responsible for 60% of all public spending in Scotland but has a say in setting and raising just 6% of it, through business rates and council tax.
Under Devo Max, Edinburgh would be responsible for raising, collecting, and administering the vast majority of taxes and benefits, and would receive a geographic share of North Sea oil revenue. EU rules mean VAT would stay the same across the UK, and financial regulation, employment, and competition law would also remain reserved.”
At the beginning of October someone tweeted me a link to Yes Edinburgh North & Leith‘s first public meeting, on 3rd October in the Halls on Henderson Street.
Unlike most Yes events, this one was billed explicitly, both in the header and in the text, as for undecided voters – so, unlike with most events organised by Yes Scotland, I felt free to go along. When I got there, about five minutes before the start, I found some Yes activists who’d come anyway were leaving, and people identifying themselves as undecided were being let in on a one-for-one basis (the hall was packed). I got a seat at the front that had been vacated by a Yes voter and was sitting next to two Yes voters who weren’t budging and who didn’t know Leith votes Labour.
Tonight at 10:35 the BBC will broadcast a very special edition of Question Time, from Edinburgh’s Cornmarket.
It’s special on two counts, one overshadowed by the other. Firstly, because the audience will all be 16 and 17 years old – the age range who will be able to vote for the first time on 18th September 2014. (Properly speaking it should have been an audience of kids with birthdays between September 1998 and September 1996, since anyone 17 today would have been able to vote in September 2014 anyway.) But, this means an audience of interested politically aware youngsters will be able to put questions to politicians directly concerned with the independence debate.
David Dimbleby presents Question Time from Easterhouse in Glasgow. Panellists include:
And then there’s the new BBC Extra Guest. Last time was Toby Young, and very dull he was. Who should be the Extra Guest this time?
In autumn 2014, Scotland will vote on independence. Obviously, the SNP want to win. But realistically, the leaders of the party can read polling data as well as you or I: they know a majority yes for independence is not a likely outcome in 2014.
The SNP have said, ever since 2007, that they would have a referendum on independence only after they had won two elections.
In 2007 and 2011 they won, and so they have a democratic mandate and an obligation to hold a referendum. But they won both elections because of unexpected circumstances.
I don’t know how I’m going to vote in autumn 2014. And so far, neither campaign has impressed me. I don’t trust Alex Salmond: I don’t trust Alistair Darling. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know why. I don’t trust the Conservatives or their faithful puppy-pack of LibDems: I’m not a nationalist, either for the UK or for Scotland. I’m not sold on flag-waving, and I don’t think I’m particularly patriotic.
But the SNP have a democratic mandate to hold a referendum on independence in autumn 2014 and I’ve never stepped back from voting in an election in my entire life – I’ve never spoiled a ballot, though I’ve been tempted more than once: I’ve always tried to figure out who I want to vote for, or at least, who I want to vote against.
And this is a big thing and I kind of envy the people who have made up their minds, who know which way they’re going to vote, and who can campaign wholeheartedly for their chosen cause – are we staying in the UK, are we going to become independent – without the host of doubts I have about either answer.
(I’m unalterably opposed to devomax / devoplus, by the way, and quite prepared to campaign wholeheartedly against that.)
“We unite behind a declaration of self-evident truth: the people who live in Scotland are best placed to make the decisions that affect Scotland.” Alex Salmond, 25th May
“If we decide to leave the United Kingdom, there is no way back. It is like asking us to buy a one-way ticket to send our children to a deeply uncertain destination…” Alistair Darling, 25th June
I agree with both of them.
That’s my problem.
On Thursday night I went to A state fit for the 21st Century, organised by the Constitutional Commission Continue reading
Tomorrow, 18th January, Reddit and English Wikipedia and quite a lot of WordPress and various other online communities, big and small, will be blacked-out from 5am, British time, to 5 again the next morning (midnight to midnight, Eastern Standard Time, or the hours Washington DC keeps). This is a protest against the SOPA and PIPA legislation: more links here. This is not actually a post directly about SOPA and PIPA, which none of us outside the US can actually do anything about anyway aside from note what this legislation is, why the US government is doing it, and, if you’re a geek with a talent for explaining stuff to politicians, writing to your MP and asking to meet with them to explain why threatening a website owner with five years in jail for the 21st-century equivalent of recording a film on your VCR with the intention of watching it over and over again is stupid.
There, I said I wasn’t going to talk about it. Excuse me. I’ll move on.
Why will the Tories fight foul? What does this have to do with US Congress legislating on the Internet?
On ZDNet Government, David Gewirtz writes: 5 reasons why SOPA, PROTECT-IP and other legislative idiocy will never die:
- You can’t really compete against consumer behavior.
- Fear sells.
- There’s a lot of money to be made from fear.
- Politicians need lobbyists.
- Lobbyists have a disproportionate influence on politicians.
First of all, let’s consider: assuming that the Tories want the Union to be preserved, what’s their best means of going about it? Continue reading