Friday, September 19, 2014

Scottish politics have only just started to get interesting

We lost the vote, but the people my heart goes out to are those that voted no in a postal ballot and those voted no in the hope of keeping the status quo.

We who asked for a yes, voted yes, encouraged others to vote yes and did our best to make it happen. We managed to get 45% of the vote and on an 85% turnout. 10 years ago, even the idea of an independence referendum was almost unthinkable. We didn't get the majority, but that's politics and we live to fight another day. It was a political fight and we lost it.

Those who voted no at the ballot box, knowing that a no vote meant implementing "The Vow" and wanted that could vote no in the hope that is what they would get. They voted no and that, we hope, is what they will get.

Those who voted no by postal ballot or were looking for the status quo will, I fear, end up the worst of both worlds. Their vote was made effectively null and void when the party leaders suddenly put the vow on the table.

The position we are in now is the least stable position we could possibly be in.

Had it been a straight fight between independence or the status quo from the beginning a 55%/45% split either way would pretty much have put the issue to bed. We'd have either become an independent country or the country would have made it clear that it was no to independence and the whole idea of another referendum would be dead at least in any of our life times.

Had there been three options on the ballot paper from the start, then the decision would have also been a fairly clear one. Either independence, the status quo or devo max would have won.

The problem we have now is the that the implications of a no vote changed half way through making the no vote a completely unclear one. Some people would have voted no because they wanted the status quo, some people will have voted no because they wanted Ed Miliband's version of the vow and some people will have voted no because they wanted David Cameron's version of it.

It's messy. Really messy.

If the changes do not go through Westminster (and that includes more powers for England, Wales and Northern Ireland) then you have 45% of Scotland who voted yes along with another unknown percentage of people who went with "the vow" because they though it was the safer option,

It means the issue of independence has not been put to bed. A failure of Westminster to live up to it's word will leave a Scotland that has woken up and is now politically alive and who will be even more disillusioned with Westminster than they were before the referendum

We have the best interests of Scotland at heart. Now we wait and see if Westminster do too. If not, then unbelievably, there may well be another independence referendum in my life time. And all because Westminster panicked at the 11th hour.

Scottish politics have only just started to get interesting!