Does no means ‘No Change’ or ‘More Powers’?

Electoral Reform Society,

Posted on the 15th October 2012

So we have a deal.

We have a Yes/No question for a vote on Scottish Independence, and we can hardly contain our disappointment.

This referendum has become a bit of a game with both sides intent on rigging the deck. We now have a deal that suits the interests of a few dozen people in Edinburgh and Westminster and excludes a large section of the Scottish people who want more powers within the UK.

Every reputable poll since 1999 ‘more powers’ has almost always been the most favoured option with two most recent Polls in June  by IPSOS Mori  and a face to face survey by TNS showing more powers on  around  40 points and ‘Independence’  and ‘Status Quo’ at best in the high 20s.

It’s now important that Unionist Parties make clear their intentions on what exactly a ‘No vote’ would entail – with the options on more powers spelled out in law ahead of the 2014 vote.

They need to tell us if No means ‘No Change’ or if No means ‘more powers’. If change is what’s on offer then it should be more than a politician’s promise: we need it enshrined in law before the vote.

And looking to the positive, we now have votes at 16 for the referendum. But let’s consider for a moment the magnitude of that move.

Young people will get a say on the future of the Union, so it is absurd not to let them have a say on the small matter of their next local MP. Votes at sixteen should be more than another grubby political deal. Politicians need to seize this opportunity to make a lasting investment in the political education of all our young people.

It seems that until 2014 our politicians will be too preoccupied with defeating each other to see the real problems facing Scotland’s politics. We will have to rely on others to lead the debate on our democratic future.

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