Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Things to think about in advance of voting in the Scottish Indyref. May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears.



Section 1: Identity


  • 1. Should Scotland be an independent country? If you think so then vote Yes.
  • 2. Do you think Scotland is a country, as opposed to a region or province within the UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland? If you think so then vote Yes.
  • 3. Do you feel more Scottish or British? If you feel more Scottish then vote Yes. However an independent Scotland does not mean that you would not be British as you still would live on the island of Britain. It changes the way Scotland is governed not the way you describe yourself. 
  •  4. Do you think that Scotland as an independent state, or as part of the UK should remain part of the European Union? If the answer is Yes then vote Yes. Scotland is all ready a member of the EU. It would be very unlikely that Europe would wish to eject 5 million of its citizens who all ready hold European Passports. Barring the complexity involved in doing this, it really doesn’t make any sense that the EU would wish Scotland, its major oil producer to not be a member.
  • 5. Did you know that as an independent country Scotland would have greater representation within the European Parliament? Currently Scotland is represented by 6 MEPs with just over 5 million people which is the same as Malta which has 600000 people, and the Republic of Ireland with 4.5 million people is represented by 12 MEPs.


Section 2: Defence


  • 1.      Do you believe that nuclear weapons should remain based on the Firth of Clyde less than 30 miles from Scotland’s largest city? If your answer is No then vote Yes. The UK Government has all ready began preparations for the replacement of the existing generation of weapons and like those before them, they will still be stored on the Clyde, as they are too dangerous to be located in the Thames.
  • 2.      Do you believe that the money spent maintaining and replacing these weapons would be better spent on other things? These could include free education; free prescriptions; abolishing some of the cuts in welfare which are hurting society’s ill, disabled or vulnerable; or improving conventional defence forces or a mixture of these. If you think Yes, then vote Yes.
  • 3.      Do you believe that Scotland should become involved in wars, like the Iraq war which toppled Saddam Hussein, that are not sanctioned by the United Nations? If you answer is no then vote Yes.


Section 3: Constitution


  • 1.      Do you believe that you should live in a country with a written constitution which enshrines certain rights for citizens? Nearly every country in the World has a written constitution except the UK. If your answer is Yes than you should vote Yes.
  • 2.      Currently you are guaranteed shelter, food, warmth, clothing, and water in Scotland only if you are in prison. Do you think these items like these should be added to a written constitution? These are some of the proposals considered for the inclusion into a Scottish Constitution and therefore would only be available with a Yes vote.
  • 3.      With which Government, Scottish or UK, are you most satisfied? If it is the Scottish Government then you are more likely to vote Yes, with the UK Government a No voter.
  • 4.      With which Parliament, Scottish or UK, are you most satisfied? If it is Scottish Parliament then you are more likely to vote Yes, with the UK Parliament with its unelected House of Lords a No voter.
  • 5.      Which Government is presently best at representing Scotland’s interests in Europe and the World? I would say the Scottish Government as it is more likely to know the best interests of Scotland, in which case if you agree you should vote Yes.
  • 6.      Which Government do you want in the future to represent Scotland’s interests in Europe and the World? I would say the Scottish Government as it is more likely to know the best interests of Scotland, in which case if you agree you should vote Yes.
  • 7.      Who do you say should have the final say over whether nuclear weapons can be based in Scotland? I would say the Scottish Government as it is more likely to know the best interests of Scotland, in which case if you agree you should vote Yes. If you think Westminster knows best then vote No.
  • 8.      Which Government do you think would be best at representing Scottish interests in the European Union? I would say the Scottish Government as it is more likely to know the best interests of Scotland, in which case if you agree you should vote Yes. If you think Westminster knows best then vote No.
  • 9.      Which Government do you think would be best at deciding welfare policy for Scotland? I would say the Scottish Government as it is more likely to know the best interests of Scotland, in which case if you agree you should vote Yes. If you think Westminster knows best then vote No.
  • 10.  Which Government do you think would be best at deciding pensions policy for Scotland? I would say the Scottish Government as it is more likely to know the best interests of Scotland, in which case if you agree you should vote Yes. If you think Westminster knows best then vote No. Remember UK state pensions are some of the lowest available anywhere in Europe so I don’t think we could do much worse if Scotland was in charge instead of Westminster.
  • 11.  Which Government should be responsible for all tax decisions in Scotland, including tax revenues from oil and gas? I would say the Scottish Government as it is more likely to know the best interests of Scotland, in which case if you agree you should vote Yes. Remember the disaster with the oil revenues so far whilst under Westminster’s watch so I can’t understand why anyone would want to vote No on this one.
  • 12.  Which Government should be responsible for all spending decisions in Scotland, including income tax and corporation tax or equivalent? A Yes puts Scotland in charge of its own tax and spend, whereas currently it only controls spending. The Scottish Government has provided free bridge tolls, free prescriptions and free tuition fees things that are unavailable in other part of the UK. Therefore why would anyone want to vote No on this point I just don't know.
  • 13.  Which Government should be responsible for immigration policy for Scotland? In order for Scotland to remain viable in the future we need skilled immigrants. If you want Scotland to continue to wither and have an ageing population then vote No.
  • 14.  If Scotland votes YES to become independent do you agree that Scotland should have a proportional share of UK assets and liabilities on independence? This includes the UK pound sterling, the Bank of England, nationalised industries, the UK national debt. This after all is the responsible and reasonable option.
  • 15.  Do you think Scotland should establish its own currency pegged 1 to 1 to the UK pound sterling in the event of independence? This could be done either immediately or after a few years of currency union.


Section 4: Democracy


  • 1.      The Union of 1707 established Great Britain from Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. In the House of Commons within the UK the numbers of seats per country are as follows. England 533 seats (82%) with the South East region having 139 seats, Scotland 59 seats (9%), Wales 40 seats (6%), Northern Ireland 18 seats (3%). Total UK 650 seats or 100%. Does the division of seats or MPs represent a fair union between the Scotland and the rest of the UK? This has meant that Scotland has only affected the final outcome of a UK General Election twice in 100 years. To make democracy matter in Scotland the only way is to vote Yes. If you wish your vote to continue to not count for much then vote no.
  • 2.      Scotland has voted Labour at every election since 1970. Therefore Scotland has had a UK Government it voted for in only 18 out of the last 40 years. Do you consider this to be democratic? If the answer is no then you should vote Yes.
  • 3.      Which parliament, Scottish or UK, do you trust more to make decisions in the interests of Scotland? I would consider the Scottish Parliament to be more trustworthy and therefore I am voting Yes. If you think the opposite then you should vote no.
  • 4.      Which Government, Scottish or UK, do you trust more to make decisions in the interests of Scotland? I would consider the Scottish Government to be more trustworthy and therefore I am voting Yes. If you think the opposite then you should vote no.


Section 5: History


  • 1.      The official title of our Sovereign is Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. Are you aware that only England had an Elizabeth I, and therefore this title is incorrect in the case of Scotland? 
  • 2.      The Stone of Destiny or Stone of Scone was traditionally the stone over which all Scottish monarchs were crowned. This stone was stolen by Edward I of England in 1296 and taken to Westminster Abbey where it resided, except for a short time in 1950, until it was loaned back to Scotland by the UK in 1996. Do you believe that the actual ownership of this Stone should be returned to Scotland? If your answer is Yes then you should vote Yes.
  • 3.      Were you aware of the Alien Act passed by the English Parliament in 1705? This Act threatened that unless Scotland agreed to negotiate terms for union and accepted the Hanoverian monarchical succession by 25.12.1705, there would be a ban on the import of all Scottish staple products into England. Scots would lose the privileges of Englishmen under English law – thus endangering rights to any property they held in England. This latter part was very important as most of the members of the Scottish Parliament also held lands in England. Do you agree that this was a fair and honest way to establish a union between the countries of England and Scotland? If you do agree then vote no.
  • 4.      In 1896 the Labour Party established a commitment to a home rule parliament for Scotland. Do you consider it reasonable that it took the Labour Party until 1997 to pass a bill in the UK parliament to establish a Scottish Parliament?
  • 5.      The Scottish Covenant was a petition to the United Kingdom government to create a home rule Scottish parliament. First proposed in 1930, the National Covenant movement reached its peak during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Over 2 million Scottish residents signed this out of a population of just over 5 million. Yet this request for a Scottish Parliament was ignored by Westminster. Do you agree that it was correct that this petition was ignored? If think this was okay then vote no.
  • 6.      In 1979 Scotland voted in a referendum to establish a Scottish Assembly. The majority of those that voted, voted for the establishment of this assembly. The Westminster Parliament had inserted an unprecedented (before or since) clause in the referendum bill that 40% of those people on the voters roll had to vote YES for this assembly, a requirement that was not met. This clause meant that those who did not vote voted NO including the dead, and remains highly controversial to this day. If you think that Scots are not genetically programmed to make political decisions then you should vote no. If you feel the opposite you vote Yes.
  • a.       Do you believe that the controversial 40% clause was correct? I
  • b.      Do you believe that the decision not to establish a Scottish Assembly in 1979 was correct despite the majority who voted in favour of it?
  • 7.      In 1979 Scotland was promised greater devolved powers if it voted NO in the Scottish Assembly referendum, and this was guaranteed by both of the main Westminster political parties, both Labour and Conservative. Do you believe that this promise was kept within a reasonable timescale given that it was 1997 before it actually happened?


Section 6: Resources


  • 1.      Do you believe that the UK has been a good governor of Scotland’s natural resources? 
  • 2.      Think of this. Both the UK and Norway discovered oil in the 1970s. Norway has a colossal nest egg, the UK has a colossal debt. Has this changed your answer?
  • 3.      The SNP since the 1970s has said that an oil fund should be established to save some of the proceeds from the oil the proceeds of which have flowing into the UK Treasury since then. The proceeds from the oil have amounted to many billions of pounds, and have meant that the UK Pound has traded more highly on the currency markets than it would have done without it. This has led to manufacturing industry in the UK being adversely affected by the oil as this increased exchange rate has made it less competitive and imports less expensive. Therefore it can credibly argued that, due to the UKs incompetent management of this vital resource, that the UK and Scotland in particular has suffered because of it. Do you believe the establishment of an oil fund would be a good idea for the future, this option only being realistically available with a Yes vote as the UK has still no plans for the establishment of such a long term plan.

 Before you vote on Thursday make sure you are informed. Do not vote only because of what you feel or what your head tells you. You require to make a reasoned judgement of where Scotland's best future lies either in the UK as a region or standing on its own two feet like all the other countries in the world. If you cannot arrive at a reasoned decision or your decision is based on fear then on this occasion I would encourage you not to vote as this referendum is so important for everyone's future. May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears.


Definitely also worth a look and in similar vein is Bella Caledonia's Guide to Decision Making in the Scottish Independence Referendum.