Mike Vickers' Blog

November 29, 2013

There may yet be a 3rd way for Scotland

Filed under: Politics, Scotland, Scottish Independence, World Class — derryvickers @ 10:26 pm

Following hard on the heels of the Scottish Government’s ‘White Paper’ on Scotland’s future there have been a number of articles advocating yet again that the Independence decision shouldn’t happen.  There ought to be a 3rd way with more devolution – Devo-Max.

(Unfortunately the Scotland Act of 2012 although passed by both the Westminster and Scottish parliaments has found no favour in either house; yet does give more power to the Scottish Government will come into operation in 2016 if there is a No vote in the Referendum.)

First from Simon Jenkins

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/26/stop-lecturing-scots-freedom-not-wealth

In the tail piece he states

Modern Edinburgh already feels more like Dublin than London. The coalition must seriously consider offering a new Anglo-Scottish deal, somewhere between independence and the present devolution’

Second from Brain Wilson; I first came across Brian as the terror editor of the West Highland Free Press.  He has mellowed somewhat since those days (may be as result of a stint in the Blair Labour government as Energy Minister)  In

http://www.scotsman.com/news/brian-wilson-no-substance-in-snp-white-paper-1-3209731

Brian berates what the current SNP Government could have done for child welfare already but features that  they will do it following Independence

‘Apparently short of women’s votes, the Nationalists have made promises about what would happen to childcare by 2024. Big deal, one might say. The obvious point is that nothing of significance has happened since 2008 when they gained control of the Scottish Parliament. Certainly nothing as radical as the childcare and pre-school revolution which benefited the whole of the UK in 1997.

As always, the Nationalists prefer to talk about what they would do if only they had independence. Like everyone else, they should be judged not by what they say they would do, but by what they have actually done. If they believe in childcare or anything else as a social priority, the time for evidence is not 2024 but 2014.

We are, after all, talking about Scotland’s children – not pawns in the Nationalist game’

But then Brian does not support Independence but could well support a 3rd way!

Yesterday Bill Jamieson, Editor of the Scotsman, in his article

http://www.scotsman.com/news/bill-jamieson-white-paper-fails-examination-1-3211174

‘It was Cameron’s insistence on a straight independence Yes/No that has not only ensured a more polarised debate, but also denied Scots the opportunity of voting for an option that was clearly the preference of many. This has allowed the SNP to argue that only a Yes vote will secure any change in Scotland’s governance arrangements. How ironic that a Yes vote for independence next September would be likely to result after all negotiations, concessions and compromises on a solution not far removed from devo max. Unfortunately, the route which we have been compelled to take has made this entire process far more divisive and antagonistic than it need have been. And that stems directly from the insistence of the Westminster Prime Minister not to allow Scots a full choice’

brings up the point that the Scotland’s Future as stated in the ‘White Paper’ will, following a Yes vote and Independence will look very little different from Devo-Max, the 3rd way that Cameron would not consider.

Finally only today just three days after the publication of the ‘White Paper’ Joyce McMillan, one of the consistently relevant columnists of the Scotsman

http://www.scotsman.com/news/joyce-mcmillan-independence-waiting-to-be-created-1-3213196

hammers the point home:

At a deeper level, though, we are now facing the profound consequences of the fact that this is not the referendum most Scottish voters would have wanted, if anyone had cared to consult them.

We have been landed with next year’s straight Yes-No vote on independence through the mere mechanics of party politics – that is, by the unexpected scale of the SNP’s victory in the 2011 Scottish election, combined with the subsequent refusal of the Unionist parties to table a third referendum option, in the form of a new “devolution max” scheme.

The contrast with the 1997 referendum, which sought approval of a home rule scheme drawn up over a decade by a wide range of grassroots civic organisations in Scotland, could hardly be greater; and it’s therefore not surprising if large sections of the Scottish public talk as if this referendum has been dropped on them from a great height, by forces far beyond their control.’

May be we can just hope that at even at this 11th  hour both sides will see that a straight Yes No is to neither the Westminster or the Scottish SNP Government’s advantage.

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