Well as Im sure everyone has heard by now, it was a no vote in Scotland. While there were no exit polls, I sort of conducted my own exit poll by text and it was about a 50/50 split. Passions were high, I think some would have preferred a voting method that involved grabbing either Salmond or Cameron by the hair and bouncing their head off the relevant ballot box while shouting dont ever put me through this again :##
I was hoping the result would have been closer, ideally a tie. That way Cameron and Salmond would have been forced to settle it the old Highland way, stripped naked out in the middle of Rannoch Moor with Claymores! :yes:
While Im a little disappointed with a no vote :no:, Im not really that surprised. Ultimately the SNP lost I would argue because they failed to close the deal. They could not answer some of the basic questions such as currency or EU membership, nevermind some of the other pointy issues.
I had always assumed for example, that the SNP plan would be to form their own currency in the short term, then look at joining the Euro or linking the Scottish pounds value to sterling longer term. The idea of keeping the Sterling made no sense to me. And the idea that Westminster would go along with that was just fantasy. And clearly the SNP were extremely naive to think they could just show up in Brussels and be welcomed into the EU without having to apply first for membership and clear a few hurdles first.
While Ive never had any doubt that Scotland could be viable and get by as a country, after all Ireland has managed pretty well (we have a higher GDP than the UK, lower unemployment, lower taxes, etc.). But clearly the Scottish electorate werent convinced that the SNP had fully thought through the process of independence. At the risk of sounding like the No camp, but independence would be for life, not just for Christmas. Wishful thinking and repeated watching of Braveheart (which btw was filmed in Ireland!) wasnt enough.
Given these facts one has to ask, how could the referendum have ever got so close? Well largely because the No camp hardly covered themselves in glory, as John Oliver considers on US TV recently. I mean take this ridiculous campaign add from them, which I know for a fact convinced a number of people into voting yes. And who had the bright idea of putting “Darling” Alastair, aka the guy once barred from every pub in Scotland (something to do with putting up the price of drink), in charge of the better together campaign? And who dreamt up that slogan? It sounds like something a wife beating husband would say.
And lets not forget the bungler in chief David Cameron. He sat on his ass for three years, did no preparation, nor contingency planning to counter the possibility of a yes vote. Until two weeks before polling day when he was forced to go running around waving a saltire (then dropping it), promising everything under the sun and pleading with the scots not to leave.
There are two reasons why I dislike the present government. Firstly because they are bunch of, how was it Cameron put it, Effing Tories, more interested in cutting taxes for their millionaire buddies than tackling the countries problems.
And secondly, because they are completely incompetent. Since the beginning of the present regime it has been a case of government by crisis and panic. Be it chaos at passport control, or more recently the passport office, chaos in schools, then universities, chaos at the Olympic security arrangements, panic during floods or that petrol strike that wasnt, panic at UKIP take all the Tory MEPs seats, etc. In all cases the government was often warned by experts of trouble ahead, advice they arrogantly ignored, forcing them to run around in a panic with their ass on fire when the inevitable happens. The coalition government could not be more out of touch if they lived on the moon.
And who was it who had to ride into this debate and rescue the union? None other than Gordon Brown, the PM the Torys ousted at the last election! A formula for change laid out by him is now essentially going to dictate politics in Westminster for the remainder of the parliament and possibly the next.
Anyone who thinks this is over with a no vote is mistaken. Already the hard right of the Tory party (the sort who think Edward Longshanks was way too nice to the Scots), who have been hoping mad over Scotland the last few months, are already showing signs of rebellion. Wales and Northern Ireland are also kicking up a fuss, fearful that Scotland getting more means them getting less. And Nigel Farage (who last time I checked was a MEP and should presumably be attending some EU committee meeting or something) has suggested a reworking of the so-called Barnett formula.
One thought to consider however is that if Devo Max isnt delivered Alex Salmond has left the SNP enough wriggle room to declare another referendum in a few years time (and his resignation clears the way for his successor to ignore his promises in this regard anyway).
Indeed if there was anything that could have swung this for the SNP it was the memory of a previous referendum promises that were reneged on by Thatcher. If this were to happen again, its very likely there will be another vote and all the SNP need to do is convince under 200,000 people into voting the other way. Indeed a lower turn out, one closer to the standard for an election, would probably by itself swing things to the yes camp, particularly when you consider how much of the No vote came from over 60s, who may not be around next time to vote no (or maybe the younguns will pad lock the zimmer frame!).
In short if Devo Max isnt delivered on, Scotland will almost certainly seek independence at some point in the future. For Scots it would be a case of fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on us…fool me…three times, fuck yous! were down the road & yous are getting batterd by the way! |-|
Here endeth the lesson
And theres a sobering lesson here for Cameron, anyone going into a referendum thinking they can predict the outcome is playing with fire. If anyone is more naive than Salmond with regard to Europe it is Cameron. He plans to schedule a referendum on the EU in the next parliament. Not because he wants the UK to leave the EU (hes a bit dim but not a complete moron!), but to keep the swivel eyed loons in his own party happy.
However its a policy doomed to failure. Hes depending on the EU being willing to renegotiate a treaty, which they clearly wont be willing to do (within a time line of under 2 years, if they even schedule a meeting to discuss the possibility within that time hell be doing well!) . Hes assuming that he can then blag the public into voting the way he wants (didnt quite work out in the European elections did it?), when clearly they wont.
And if its a vote to leave the EU, Cameron (and Farage) assume they can talk the EU into offering a free trade deal on favourable terms, when there is no guarantee they will do so. Indeed hell have to get trade deals with all the other major trading blocs (China, India, America) and its doubtful hell get as good a deal as the combined EU has been able to wrangle.
And lets not even consider the consequences for the UK. No doubt those who voted No to protect Scotlands EU membership last night will be looking for another crack at independence. And the Republicans in Northern Ireland would be looking for a referendum on unification with the South, or at the very least a renegotiation of the Good Friday agreement. Indeed, Martin Mc Guinness has reacted to the Scottish Referendum by calling for a “border poll“.
A more sensible strategy would be, while acknowledging the need for EU reform yes, but accepting that the hard right of Tory party wont shut up just because Cameron gives them a referendum on the EU (they have a list of other demands ranging from rolling back on existing devolution, ignoring climate change, banning gay marriage, bringing back hanging, flat tax and privatising the NHS). He needs instead to confront them and make it clear that they can either run off and join UKIP or put up and shut up.
Last night Cameron and the Westminster establishment managed to dodge a bullet. And they would be well to remember that, to borrow a phrase from Irish Republicans, they need to be lucky all the time, while their opponents (be it the SNP, UKIP or Sinn Fein) only need to get lucky once. Hence reform, possibly a move to a more federalist government in the UK, is urgently needed.