Tuesday, 21 August 2012
Referendum Question Solved
The media is still preoccupied with Julian Assange's latest self-preservation tactic and none, apart from the Scotsman, has reported David Cameron's latest remarks regarding independence for Scotland.
The MP's message was relayed courtesy of 'sources close to the Prime Minister' who warned a substantial increase in financial powers for Holyrood is not an option if Scotland wants to remain within the UK.
The warning, according to Eddie Barnes, appears to rule out both devo-max and other forms of fiscal autonomy.
Only six months ago Mr Cameron, during an infrequent visit to Scotland, assured the electorate that if they voted No in the referendum he 'would look at what further powers could be devolved'. It seems he's now looked and decided none. Few independence supporters will be surprised by this development.
There doesn't seem much point discussing a second question on the ballot paper if the PM is not prepared to offer further devolution rights to Scotland and I suspect this is his way of ensuring the ballot paper holds one question - Yes/No with no alternatives. This may well come back to bite him.
The SNP insist civic Scotland has a desire for further fiscal powers but if the Westminster government now declares it will refuse to acknowledge these wishes, then there is no point in putting the question before the people in 2014.
I've never been comfortable with a 'devo-max' question being included. It's too much of a halfway house which leaves Westminster with majority control over my country.
The Yes campaign must use this latest 'message' from No 10 to achieve a successful Yes vote for independence and make clear to voters how fickle the Westminster government will be if we vote anything else but Yes.
That's the referendum question solved. Let's move on to the financial aspect of independence. The result will depend upon people's belief that they will be better off in an independent Scotland. It's the responsibility of politicians to put the facts on the table.
The moral of this post is: Don't trust Westminster politicians.