Wednesday, September 17, 2014
GO ON! YOU MAY AS WELL
In the unlikely event that anyone reading this is still making up their mind, or hasn't voted yet if you're reading this on Thursday, then you're probably someone who quite fancies the idea of a YES but isn't sure what will happen next? That you are worried about instability and are considering voting No because it seems that that way stability lies? (certainly that's what the papers and the telly say)
If this description fits you, can I ask you to think about waking up on Friday morning. There's going to be one of four scenarios. A clear No, a narrow No, a narrow Yes, and a decisive Yes.
Can I ask you to think about these outcomes not necessarily in terms of which one feels the best, but pragmatically. Which one of these results is the most useful to have in our pocket as we step into the future?
A decisive "No" vote will result, I think, in a sigh of relief from Westminster and a an almost immediate "discovery" that the proposed last minute plans for Devo Max are both unworkable in themselves, and impossible to sell to the electorate in the UK. I think even a narrow No victory will release a lot of pent up anger in both Tory and labour backbenchers...and the 2015 election is unlikely to be about who can give the sweaties the best sweeties. It is much more likely to be a "who can stick it to the Scots hardest" competition.
Besides, all those back bench MPs are actually right. Enhanced devolution is a box of vipers, which is why Cameron didn't want it on the ballot paper. While we tried toi get the mix of powers right, there would be a constitutional crisis every ten minutes..and even if they do manage to cobble something together for 2015, there is still very likely going to be an EU referendum in 2017. I seriously believe that a No vote is a vote for chaos. There are already reports not just of mutterings in Westminster, but reports that the precious banks and markets won't regard a patch up job as stable either. Stability is what they want most, and a sticking plaster over a narrow No vote isn't going to convince anyone that another crisis isn't round the corner.
So we might as well get it over with and vote Yes now.
Not that a narrow Yes win is likely to be a bed of roses. A lot of people who have been making prophecies of doom and gloom will be tempted, by a narrow Yes, to make our lives miserable enough so that we change our minds. The narrower the Yes, the longer and more difficult the negotiations. Conversely, a decisive Yes will mean that the rUK will adjust itself, after a pretty short time, to a reality that is unwelcome, possibly, but that has to be dealt with. Again, the stability of markets and commerce demand it, just as do considerations of social peace and common-sense.
Like I see, I'm not trying to make an appeal to anyone's idealism here. But iit is surely very clear that a decisive yes vote is a much better negotiating tool than a narrow one whose Mandate might be questioned by the losing side. (Especially if it's really close)
Finally, it might well be that for all the campaign has been going on for two years, that it all feels rather sudden - and not just to the Westminster parties who seemed to wake from sleep two weeks ago. It might be that we doubt that we're ready, for possibly good reasons. But it surely clear now that whatever happens, we're not going back to the status quop. The change is already with us, and I sincerely believe that a decisive Yes vote will be the best result for social peace, economic stability, and the healing of divisions in what is right now a divided Scotland and will then be a divided UK. Clarity and stability two years ago may have seemed to lie in a No vote. Everything has changed. Everything has already turned. Maybe change is always here before we feel ready for it. But i see no better way to deal wiothy the new reality than embracing it.
Go on. You may as well