Smith’s plan will be a win win for us!
This week, when sharing this article regarding the Cross Party Home Rule campaign on various social media platforms, a few people got upset as they believed us to be promoting a Better Together group. I guess in a way this is correct as many of the people involved in the group are pro Union and the Smith Commission is concerned with devolving powers within the current UK setup. However, I don’t see how promoting this commision will not further the goals of those who support Scottish independence.
First off, I should repeat something that I have said several times throughout the Independence Campaign. I was supporting independence not for nationalistic reasons but for pragmatic ones. I saw it as a great opportunity to move to a more representative political system closer to the people, which I believe would have produced a fairer, less corrupt and more prosperous society. Devo Max would have been tempting for me, and a lot of people who voted Yes and many who voted No favoured that option.
In the UK we don’t really do revolutions. Which is probably a good thing as they generally result in years of chaos. We tend to do gradual political change. The slow levering of power away from those who are clinging to it. Yes voters who call for a Universal Declaration of Independence(UDI) months after we just voted against it, many justifying their claims with conspiracy theories, are wasting precious energy. Change does happen, maybe not at the speed we would want it to but It happens when enough pressure is put on power by enough people. From the wresting of power away from an absolute Monarch towards Parliament, to the gradual expansion of the political franchise up to universal suffrage and the devolution of power to regional assemblies. These are all examples of democratic progress won through pressure being placed on government by the people. And in order to get enough people to facilitate change you need to form a consensus.
And if this is true, even though we lost the referendum we are winning the war, as there is now a groundswell of people looking for more regional power. Today the BBC have published a poll showing that the English, energised by what they have seen north of the border are starting to embrace the idea of more devolution. So, now is a time for Yes voters to get behind the Smith Commission as only two things can happen with this process and they will be good for our cause. It will either fail to deliver any meaningful powers in which case we will have a grounds to pursue a second referendum on account that we were misled. Or, it will deliver something approaching Devo Max, in which case we will have the ability to make real changes for the common good. Both of these outcome will likely increase support for independence, the first because people will feel let down by failure to fulfil the vow and the second outcome will give us an opportunity to instill confidence in people that an independent Scotland will be a success.
So, the Smith Commission is a win win for those of us wanting more power for Scotland. We should use it to reach out an olive branch to the many who voted No despite also wanting to see greater devolution. We need to bring on board those who were swithering going into the last weeks of the referendum. We should do this to grow our numbers as the more people who support Devo Max the more likely we are to get it. If we don’t get it, despite a majority of citizens being united in their support for it, then the Yes vote will increase next time around.
So, instead of talk of UDI’s and conspiracy let us put our effort into the exciting time ahead. Let us vote SNP in May and SNP, Green or SSP in the scottish parliamentary election. Let us work in our local communities to build them up, to deliver some of the ideas from the Common Weal, and to spread the positive case for more power. Let us await the Smith Commission report, and if it is promising then we should all put pressure on our politicians to deliver it. If it is disappointing we should challenge those who voted No to support a second referendum.
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