This is ridiculous. There’s even more going on now the referendum’s decided. And I wanted a rest…
In no particular order, my thoughts are that whatever action now follows, it can’t suggest the referendum wasn’t decisive and is somehow irrelevant because of any amount of excuses like ballot-rigging, last-minute offers and failure to deliver retrospectively.
This is a miserly response to a democratic process and runs counter to the simultaneous claim that this was a celebration of democracy which was an honour for Scotland. If it is an event to be proud of, we can’t carp about losing.
It doesn’t matter that the over-65s won it – their vote counts the same as anyone else’s. Whatever their motivations, be it personal security, lack of charity or shrivelled belief in country, they are entitled to vote accordingly.
In any campaign the trick is to win over enough voters to your side and clearly Yes didn’t do that so for the foreseeable future, the game is over. I would have claimed independence with a single vote more than No and disregarded any Unionist moans about Salmond claiming there would be no post referendum difficulties or claims of unfair funding or whatever. As far as we can see into the future, independence is off the board and the game has changed.
That doesn’t mean though that Alex Salmond is wrong to point out that a referendum is merely one route. New Zealand springs to mind in context as it had no formal process to sovereignty – it merely acquired more powers from London as the years went by until it was agreed it was effectively independent. There is no New Zealand Independence Day because nobody knows the date it happened.
The reaction to Salmond is interesting because it shows how worried the Unionist establishment is by the continuing movement. Instead of ignoring him or laughing at his remarks following a referendum win, Johann Lamont reacted angrily showing just how defensive she remains despite victory.
Accepting the result and agreeing to work in the best interests of Scotland is one thing. But forgiving the systematic mendacity and connivance with the Tories, UKIP and big business to crush what we now see to be the hopes of mainly working class Scots, is quite another. No sooner had Willie Bain called for reconciliation than people were tweeting how their elderly parents had been told by him they would lose their pensions if they voted Yes. It is now the narrative of the referendum that Labour sacrificed the rights of its own natural support in order to maintain the British state. Margaret Curran overseeing a party inquiry into why voters deserted them is just an insult to the Labour movement. It is another bureaucratic manoeuvre to pretend to be doing something – like making the Holyrood leader the ‘leader of all Scottish Labour’.
The truth is that Labour deserted its own people and has paid the price. It isn’t the voters who need to be questioned, it’s the Labour leadership. The story I read about the Curran initiative was placed just above a headline which read: ‘Balls to keep Tory cap on child benefit.’ Go figure, Margaret.
There is a determination among the payroll politicians of Unionism to make this whole period disappear into history. They have been deeply disturbed by having the agenda removed and having to deal with an organic and committed opposition that doesn’t fit the norm. For me this is one of the main reasons to keep going – the old failed hegemony has broken down and the Yes parties are already combining along with the grassroots into a radical opposition to the way Scotland is run.
Unionists can’t seriously suggest that everyone divest themselves of the dream of independence just because of the referendum result. After all, Labour voters didn’t stop voting Labour because the Tories won the election. And if the early unions had given up when first confronted by the bosses, there wouldn’t be trades unions today and there wouldn’t be a Labour Party.
Harnessing the energy will be a longer process because it will and has burst out in different forms and ideas which will have to coalesce and find sustainable shape if it is not all to be lost. I argue that Yes should maintain an administrative heart so everyone can stay connected – I think it can be paid for by the Yes parties. Yes should redefine what it stands for which for me has to be all powers below the level of a separate state. We would call it Devo Max and, bizarrely, it is on the agenda because of the wrong use of the term by London-based Unionists (including the ill-informed BBC) and because of a failure of the political parties to define what they meant when they panicked two weeks before voting.
It is perfectly possible I think that with the mood in England darkening, that serious powers could now come to Scotland just to stop another insurrection while the rest of the UK also benefits from enhanced devolution. And that would mean a serious reduction of MPs going to Westminster, the obvious democratic quid pro quo which also leaves Labour hoist by its own petard.
The nutty hyperbole of Gordon Brown talking about effective federalism has entered mind of the ignorant English media and is gradually being given form in the political debate. This is constitutional reform by osmosis and I’m not even sure the London classes know what they’re doing.
Far from settling the question, the referendum has produced more chaos than ever and we must not let it settle.