Saturday, 17 May 2014

Scotland 'no' is too negative.

I am in two minds about Scotland's Independence from the UK. On the one hand I can understand why they would wish to break free from Westminster. The politics of Scotland is a far different landscape than that represented in London - they don't get the governments they vote for. They have been out of sorts with the Tory party for some time. Independence from Westminster is attractive - a fresh start, a new politics shaping their own destiny. There are a lot of good reasons to say 'yes' to  independence. But I would like them to say 'no'. I would like Scotland to stay part of the United Kingdom and my reason is simple. It is because I believe that as part of the United Kingdom Scotland can help us change the geopolitics of the country and of Westminster. It is a somewhat selfish reason - I want Scotland to stay and help prevent continuous Tory-led government from Westminster. Also I am proud of the Scottish contribution to our culture.

The problem with the 'No' vote campaign in Scotland's referendum is that it has been far too negative. Simply telling the voters what they would 'lose' with Independence isn't going to work. Better to tell them what is gained by Scotland moving forward in the Union. It would also be better to tell the Scots how we feel which is that on the whole we don't want to lose them. We must say if you stay we will change.

When we talk about devolution and change in the distribution of political power, our politicians rarely address the problems of England.  But England needs a solution too. In one sense England is over-represented in Westminster but in many other ways it is poorly represented. Britain needs a new political settlement and whether the Scottish people vote to stay in or out of the UK it is time we considered the shape of that reform. We cannot simply go on as before. The Scotland referendum should be a starting point to major political reform for the United Kingdom.

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