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Devo-max Supporters For Independence

Posted on September 27, 2013 by

I believe in representative government. I believe people should be able to vote for the person/party whose stated priorities and policies most closely reflect their own.

I believe a party that is elected on a manifesto should have a legal obligation to act in line with that manifesto. I believe that if politicians lie to the public or Parliament, they should face criminal prosecution.

liarclegg

I don’t believe any of those things are unreasonable. And they’re also the main reasons I’ve been convinced to vote Yes in the independence referendum.

I was a big supporter of AV. I still am. And other than Conservatives, who benefit the most from a First Past the Post system, I still cannot fathom why everyone else isn’t. Why wouldn’t you want a government that actually reflects the priorities of the country’s population, unless you know that your priorities are so marginal they’ll never be heard?

The Labour Party’s split approach to the concept befuddled me. Why would they want to perpetuate a system which allowed such an unrepresentative party as the Conservatives to regularly take control of the country?

I could only see a few explanations: they prefer to swap outright power back and forth with the Conservatives and keep the Lib Dems and the Greens on the margins, rather than regularly sit in coalition with one or both of those parties; or they don’t actually believe in the long-term viability of their own policies and believe the country needs an occasional Tory government to do … something. Make a mess, perhaps, so they can always point and say “at least it’s better than it was under them”. I really don’t know. Somebody should ask them.

The argument that AV would have allowed lunatic fringe parties like the BNP to gain power was always disingenuous. AV required any candidate to receive some form of approval (1st, 2nd or 3rd choice, etc.) from at least 50% of the electorate to win. And to suggest that 50% of the electorate of ANY seat in Britain would support the BNP to any degree seems desperately unlikely to me.

In the 2010 General Election, their best performing candidate, based on actual votes and percentage of votes received, was party leader Nick Griffin. He polled 14.8% of the vote in Barking. Even if we make the ludicrously tenuous assumption than every UKIP voter would have given Nick Griffin their second preference, he’d only have managed 17.7% of the vote – leaving him just behind the Conservative candidate on 17.8%.

And even in the hypothetical situation where somehow he’d ended up above the Conservative candidate and got every second preference from Conservative voters, the total percentage from Conservative, UKIP and BNP was just 36.5% of the vote.

So in their best-performing seat, the most the BNP could have hoped for under AV was 36.5% of the vote, and that’s on the bonkers assumption that all right-wing voters gave them a preference. But the No to AV campaign pretended that AV would have somehow increased their chances of being elected.

(In fact, it would have been much harder for a fringe party like the BNP to get elected, because they would have needed 50% approval from voters, while under FPTP candidates are very often elected with under 50% of the vote.)

There was a very good reason the BNP were supportive of the No to AV campaign. Because the argument that it would benefit them was not only a flawed argument, it was the exact opposite of the truth.

So how does that bring me to supporting independence? Here are some more stats from that 2010 General election. The percentages of the UK vote won by each of the UK national parties was as follows:

Conservative 36%
Labour 29%
Lib Dem 23%
UKIP 3%
BNP 1.7%
Green 1%

Now, if we split those votes along roughly left/right lines (without getting into the debate over exactly where New Labour sits on that scale these days – I’m taking Labour, Lib Dem and Green as ‘left’ and Conservative, UKIP and BNP as ‘right’), that’s 53% left and 41% right.

So how did a still notionally left-wing country end up with a right-wing government? Well, partly because the Lib Dems to all intents and purposes switched sides, but mainly because our electoral system is fundamentally flawed and incapable of producing a representative government.

Now let’s do the maths within Scotland from that same election:

Labour 42%
SNP 20%
Lib Dem 10%
Conservative 17%
UKIP 0.7
Green 0.7
BNP 0.4
Scottish Socialists 0.2%

Doing the same left/right maths (the SNP are substantially left of Labour these days), that’s 73% left and 18% right.

Read that again. Almost three-quarters of Scots voted for an ostensibly left-wing party, compared to just over half of the UK. We are not the same as the rest of the UK. We have a different culture and values, and those are strongly left-wing in nature.

Scotland is not simply part of the UK family. While we may have close relationships with England, Wales and Northern Ireland, we have a unique collective social identity which simply is not in line with the whole of the UK. Our government should represent us. Socialism is not a dirty word in Scotland, but it has become one in many parts of England, with even Labour’s leader shying away from it.

Scotland elected ONE Tory MP, yet we’re living under the auspices of what for all intents and purposes is a Conservative government. This government does not represent us. It’s that simple. I want one that does.

So what about that big lie? The one about the BNP and AV? How is that relevant?

Because there are lots of big lies being told in this campaign too. One of the best is that we’ll be abandoning the rest of the UK to Conservative rule if we leave the Union. That’s a lie.

Then there’s the argument that there are too many unanswered questions about what life will be like in a future Scotland. Of course there are unanswered questions, because that will be decided by the governments we elect in future. But what that statement does is assume that the future in the UK is assured to stay the same. That is at best disingenuous and at worst a total deception.

Here’s a truth about an independent Scotland, based not on assertion but on the way Scottish MPs voted in reality – if we were independent, the Royal Mail wouldn’t be getting privatised, there’d be no bedroom tax and we wouldn’t be spending over £100bn on a new Trident while our universal services are under threat. All of these things were overwhelmingly opposed at Westminster by Scotland’s elected representatives, but they were overridden by English votes.

This isn’t about deciding everything we’ll do after independence in advance, it’s about us having the right and the power to make those decisions for ourselves in the future and not being in thrall to a government elected by people with totally different priorities.

To be absolutely honest, if it had been on the table, I’d have voted for a devo-max option. But it isn’t. And that means I’d rather vote Yes than be forced to keep accepting Conservative governments every time the English electorate chooses one.

I seriously fear that those who vote No in the hopes of some further devolution option being offered by Westminster will find that anything other than a close defeat for the Yes campaign will have this government claiming that there’s clearly no appetite for independence OR further devolution in Scotland and leaving their vague promises of jam tomorrow as nothing more than electoral rhetoric.

If we want Scotland run along the lines of our values and priorities, we have to vote Yes in the referendum – whether we win that vote or not, I believe we need a strong showing for independence in order to hold the government to their dangled promises of more devolution if we do stay in the UK.

And those are the reasons I’ll definitely be voting Yes.

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    88 to “Devo-max Supporters For Independence”

    1. redcliffe62 says:

      A very good article and how the argument needs to be pitched. Tory goverenments voted for in England as your government AGAIN even if not one or at a push ONE MP inSscotland or a Scottish govt voted for by Scots?
      We know when people think on this issue it sways their vote.

    2. Megalosaurus says:

       
      Yup, the electoral system in the UK is utterly broken. I know it, you know it, everyone knows it.  
       
      Which makes the fact that AV was defeated in the referendum even more ridiculous. That whole campaign… wow, truly a festival of stupid. I have nothing more to say about it…. even just thinking about it makes me angry.
       
       

    3. edulis says:

      To be absolutely honest, I would only vote for devomax if we could get rid of Trident. On second thoughts, Independence is a better option.

    4. wee162 says:

      Sorry, but AV is a horrible system designed to always reward middle of the road parties. That’s the reason why it was the system of choice for the Lib Dems, not because it’s in any way an inherently fair system.
       
      Here’s a hypothetical scenario;
      Labour 27%
      Tories 25%
      Lib Dems 24%
      Greens 23%
       
      Greens get eliminated. Their vote goes mostly to Labour with the Lib Dems a bit behind. That leaves you with;
      Labour 40%
      Lib Dems 34%
      Tories 25%
       
      So it’s tory voters who decide who gets elected out of the top two. Meanwhile all the Labour & Lib Dem voters had the Greens as their second choice which means they were the first or second choice for 75% of the electorate, but they were the first party to be eliminated under AV.
       
      There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Additional Member System used in the Scottish Parliament. Hell if the Lib Dems had had that as their proposed new system I’d have campaigned for it. As it was I wouldn’t vote for an AV system. It isn’t even any fairer than FPTP and it is designed to further reduce the political discourse to the ever narrowing “centre ground” which isn’t remotely in the centre.

    5. tartanfever says:

      Nice article Justin, thanks.
      Interesting to read the opinion of a devo-maxer being forced between yes and no. 

    6. Morag says:

      I supported AV, I voted for it, and I think it should have gone through.  However, I’m not convinced it would have made the practical difference Justin thinks it would, as regards increasing the chance of a coalition government.  Indeed, one article I read made a decent case for the system polarising the vote even more than happens at present.
       
      What it does allow, is a vote for a minority party if that is the voter’s preference.  Then, if the minority party doesn’t attract sufficient support, that vote isn’t “wasted” but is transferred to whichever of the majority parties the voter favours.  That may not make a huge difference to who wins what seat, when push comes to shove.
       
      Minority party members are very prone to believe that people would vote overwhelmingly for their party if only they didn’t believe it was a “wasted vote” because only the two main parties are really in with a chance.  I used to think this about the SNP, in the 1990s, but I believe I was wrong.  Similarly with the LibDems and the Greens – I don’t think there are huge numbers dying to give them their first preference, if only they had the security of a transferable vote.
       
      As for the BNP and similar loonies, they would only emerge from a system like that if they had real, meaningful, substantial support.  And if they had that, then democracy demands that they should have representation, no matter how distasteful we find it.  Justin is right – AV would have done them no good at all.  In fact, it would have exposed their paucity of support.
       
      I like the d’Hondt system, now that I’ve got my brain round it.  Even though it was devised to keep the SNP out of power, it’s a good system with many advantages.  For example, constituency MSPs hate it because they have list MSPs from other parties also working their patch and trying to win favour with the voters so as to challenge for the constituency seat next time round.  That can only be good for the constituents.  I hope we get to keep it after independence.

    7. balgayboy says:

      Rightly or wrongly and considering only just below 20 million voted out of a total of over 45 million eligible to to vote tells me that a good majority of the voters had no idea or enough understanding what the intent the AV referendum all really meant. 

    8. Gillie says:

      Wonderfully articulated.

    9. Juteman says:

      The reason Labour want to keep FPTP, is to make sure there is always a goverment favourable to the right wing establishment. Under FPTP, Westminster always wins, and the Labour drones are well rewarded.

    10. creigs1707repeal says:

      YES – it’s a no-brainer.
       
      YES Scotland.

    11. MochaChoca says:

      You might want to check the percentage for the Scottish left.
      Not that it actually changes the gist of the article.

    12. velofello says:

      Devo Max if it was on offer and won the referendum vote would last for a period, decades arguably, but would inevitably be eroded by the central government, they would want their powers back.Politics is about the acquisition and exercising of power. So a written constitution would be needed to protect Devo Max, and who gets to write such a constitution? Holyrood or Westminster?

      Anyway, Devo Max backed by a written constitution is not on offer.

      Independence and a written constitution is on offer.

      What is at risk is the very existence of the Scottish pariiament in the event of a No vote.

    13. Morag says:

      You might want to check the percentage for the Scottish left.
      Not that it actually changes the gist of the article.
       
      You’re right, these figures don’t tally.  Doesn’t alter the conclusions, but it would be good to get the sums right.

    14. Sunshine on Crieff says:

      I am, essentially, a supporter of more autonomy for Scotland within a reformed British union, but I can no longer see any prospect of it coming about. The behaviour and attitudes of those who are against Scottish self-determination have convince me of that.

      The only way to achieve anything like devo max or secure autonomy is to achieve independence and then negotiate agreements with our neighbours to cooperate in areas of mutual interest and benefit. 

    15. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “You might want to check the percentage for the Scottish left.”

      I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU MEAN.

    16. balgayboy says:

      Yes, I prefer the d’Hondt system as well and come Independence hopefully we will have a sovereign country’s democratically elected government which is fairly challenged by all it’s representatives to ensure it implements the will of it’s electorate. BTW: Also hope that the country gets a better calibre of opposition than it has now.

    17. les wilson says:

      Westminster wants to be able to manipulate Scotland as it has done and will continue to do. They ( whatever party in power ), will slowly dismantle powers of Holyrood in the event of a no vote, not too fast but slowly and without fanfare but have no doubt once they have removed any real power from us and Holyrood  is simply a fading icon, it will be closed.
      Then the re fixing of England’s province will begin, there will be so many negatives put upon us that the loosening Scottish cringe  will soon be back in place with a venom, just as they want it to be.
      It will be done with the sole intent of making  sure there is never a return to an Independence Referendum. Perhaps when oil really runs out, when of course they will consider us a liability. 
      This scenario is not hard to see, it is happening now, they are expecting a NO vote, quite confidently and already plotting the downfall of any resurgence of ” Scottishness” As a recognizable nation we will fall into  the category of myth.
      God help us in a NO vote, we have no option but to win a YES, otherwise Scotland is finished for the foreseeable millennium !
      We just cannot allow this to happen, we need to really redouble our efforts to win, all of us need to get out there and work hard to convert and ensure more votes.
      Our politicians should start refusing the crap and bias they get every time the are on the BBC/STV and show them up for what they are. The whole MSM need lambasted as publicly as we can do, including International forums and the like, the world needs to know there is  NO democracy in Scotland.
      An  international body should be invited in to monitor, actually perhaps the UN, as they are the most important for democracy worldwide or another important group of good standing.
      We need to do anything we can think of to raise our game. So let us get on with it. There is too much to lose. 

    18. Horacesaysyes says:

      “This isn’t about deciding everything we’ll do after independence in advance, it’s about us having the right and the power to make those decisions for ourselves in the future and not being in thrall to a government elected by people with totally different priorities.”
       
      While I don’t necessarily agree with you on AV or Devo-max, Justin (both would be better than the current situation, but not the best option available), the paragraph above gets to the very heart of the argument and spells out what the referendum is truly about, despite all the attempts to muddy the waters being put about.

    19. Horacesaysyes says:

      “You might want to check the percentage for the Scottish left.”
      I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU MEAN.
       
      Eh, shouldn’t that be 73%, not 72%, as I’d guess that the Greens and the Scottish Socialists would be broadly classed as being on ‘the left’? 😉

    20. MochaChoca says:

      When my brothers and I became old enough to vote our maw told us that voting SNP was a wasted vote (even though she herself was, and still is, pro-independence).
      She had a point but we voted SNP anyway. My theory at the time was that how could a vote be any more wasted than by being cast for someone or some party you didn’t actually want to win, even if they were less worse than the alternative.
      Looking back I’m confident though that everyone who disregarded the ‘wasted vote’ advice have brought us to where we are now, even though my votes hadn’t actually elected anyone they all went towards the percentages of showing independence as a well supported vision. Would the SNP ever have had a chance of electing an MP without sufficient voters ‘risking’ wasting thier vote?
      And if they had no MPs would devolution ever have to have been even considered?and without devolotion we certainly wouldn’t be where we are now.  

    21. Morag says:

      I’ve always supported complete inependence, especially since I realised how the finance equations shook down.  However, if we’d managed to negotiate a decent federal settlement, something similar to what individual US states have for example, it’s quite possible I would have become content with that and less keen to push for independence.
       
      The idea of devolution was that Scots would be so content with it they would stop agitating.  I once asked Alex Salmond, in about 1994, if that was a danger.  Suppose devolution satisfied people, progress to independence might stall.  (This was at the time when we were being told what happy devolved picaninnies the Catalan people were.)  He fixed me with a reproachful stare and pointed out that if the Scottish people were happy with the settlement it would be undemocratic to try to manoeuvre the political situation to force them to go further.
       
      If we’d been given a full settlement, devo-max for example, it might have happened that way.  Or not, of course.  However, by giving us this unjust pocket-money parliament while keeping all meaningful control at Westminster, they’ve actually accelerated the independence movement.

    22. Morag says:

      Eh, shouldn’t that be 73%, not 72%, as I’d guess that the Greens and the Scottish Socialists would be broadly classed as being on ‘the left’?
       
      Sssshhhhh, now….  😀

    23. Doug Daniel says:

      Great article, although like others I disagree about AV. When it came to it, I spoiled my ballot (or rather my proxy did – I was offshore) in protest of the fact that we were being offered a referendum on a poxy wee change to the voting system at the same time we were being told such a referendum on independence would be a waste of money.
       
      How we elect MSPs is good, although I would rather it changed to the Sainte-Laguë method (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sainte-Lagu%C3%AB_method), as D’Hondt favours larger parties slightly. However, the method I favour the most is Open List (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_list), which takes some of the power away from the parties, allowing the electorate to say “okay Labour, I’ll give you my list vote, but you’re not putting that donkey Richard Baker in the seat.”
       
      Proportionality allows radical-thinking voters to have radical representatives in parliament. AV doesn’t, as genuinely radical candidates are unlikely to get enough votes from others to reach 50%. With PR, you get elected if there are enough people who share your vision of the world. With AV, you get elected if there are enough people who don’t oppose your vision of the world. It might as well be called “Least Shit” voting.

    24. AllyPally says:

      Rounding errors.

    25. Morag says:

      MochaChoca, I explained on an earier thread that I had exactly the same conversation with my mother.  Of course, when your vote is in Wishaw, the choice is pretty clear.  If you want to vote for the party that’s going to win the seat, vote Labour.  If you despise North Lanarkshire Labour as a hotbed of corruption and nepotism (as my mother did), then you might as well vote for whoever you fancy, ‘cos they’re not going to get in anyway.

    26. cath says:

      “Under FPTP, Westminster always wins,”
       
      Exactly this. If Westminster win the referendum next year – because that is what the NO campaign is, Westminster and all its parties against Scotland and every single independently Scottish party – then it can do what it likes with Scotland. We have no say whatsoever.
       
      If they remove powers or try to knobble the Scottish parliament, as many including Labour have said they will, we have no democratic way of fighting that and anyone moaning about it will be whistling into the wind. A no vote would make it lose/lose for Scotland. The only Westminster/unionist party we have left to punish are Labour, as the other two are practically non-existent up here. If we punish them hard enough, we’ll either end up with them as our government anyway, or end up with the Tories. Brilliant. Westminster is not particularly democratic as a UK parliament. As a Scottish one it’s a travesty.

    27. Gillie says:

      I see the Prime Minister of England has refused a televised debate with the First Minister of Scotland.
       
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-24297286
       
      Less UKOK more Uchicken.

    28. The Man in the Jar says:

      @MochaChoka
      I have always voted SNP for the very same reason. My SNP vote in Westminster GEs is wasted (for now) as Labour have a huge majority here but I will be damned if I would give them a single vote. Anyway “Every little helps”

    29. James Kay says:

      I like the idea of additional members to improve proportionality, and the d’Hondt system seems as good as any. 
       
      However, there I would prefer to see a way that the electorate as a whole, and not the parties, select the ordering of candidates on the list.

    30. Tony Little says:

      Thank you, Justin for an interesting article.  I have not had to switch as I have been an Independence supporter since before I was born 😉 but it is good to hear how people are beginning to really think about what is on offer next September, and how they can “square their own circle” given the polar choice forced upon them by Westminster.
       
      I am not a fan of AV, much prefer the multi-member system of STV or similar options.  Although the d’Hondt system does offer a far more appropriate result than FPTP.  It is of course interesting that all the “new” countries in recent decades have opted for any system except FPTP which is confined to former British colonies, most notably India, Africa, and the far East.  (I always like to remind people that Zimbabwe used FPTP – I don’t know why)
       
      Next up, it would be nice to hear from a NO that has become a YES.

    31. Tamson says:

      “The argument that AV would have allowed lunatic fringe parties like the BNP to gain power was always disingenuous. AV required any candidate to receive some form of approval (1st, 2nd or 3rd choice, etc.) from at least 50% of the electorate to win. And to suggest that 50% of the electorate of ANY seat in Britain would support the BNP to any degree seems desperately unlikely to me.”
       
      My opinion of AV is that it polarises politics, by dragging more moderate parties to the extremes to garner 2nd preference votes. And then you end up with 2 parties who sit further left/right than they should be, with little ability or incentive to move to a more moderate stance.

      You can see that polarising effect in evidence in Australia just now (where they use AV). They’ve basically just elected a racist bastard.
       
      Clegg’s greatest betrayal of the LD voters (worse than tuition fees IMO) was in only getting a referendum on AV vs FPTP. After decades of his party campaigning for proportional voting, he got them a choice between the current unproportional system, and an even less proportional one!

    32. cath says:

      ” if we’d managed to negotiate a decent federal settlement, something similar to what individual US states have for example, it’s quite possible I would have become content with that and less keen to push for independence.”
       
      I’ve always vaguely supported independence – if you’d stuck a yes/no or even yes/devo-max/no ballot in front of me I’d probably always have voted for yes. But never strongly enough to be politically involved, and it took me a long time to come round to voting SNP. I’m half English and many of my best friends are English, due to growing up an obsessive fan of the Beatles and 60s music. (I also had a lesson very early on at 16 when I mentioned Scottish independence to get rid of the f-ing tories” to a friend from Northern Ireland who I assumed was a mod due to all the union jack clothing. Man I was politically naive back then 😉 It ended up very undignified girlie fight in a  hotel lobby.)
       
      So anyway if devo-max, or federalism or any kind of substantial new powers had been on the ballot paper and properly guaranteed, while I’d still probably have voted yes I’d never have become involved with the yes campaign. If asked I’d have used the safety blanket of devo-max because it’s non-confrontational. I suspect everyone would be like that. There’d be a few political types banging away on the yes and no sides, while the rest of us just agreed devo-max was fine, whether we believed that or not.

      That person I had a fight with at 16 is still a FB friend, for example. Arguing for independence and sharing that belief isn’t the easiest thing to do!

    33. Morag says:

      Clegg’s greatest betrayal of the LD voters (worse than tuition fees IMO) was in only getting a referendum on AV vs FPTP. After decades of his party campaigning for proportional voting, he got them a choice between the current unproportional system, and an even less proportional one!
       
      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.  In the end, the strongest argument I had for voting yes to AV was that it was in effect a vote for change.  That while it wasn’t the change we wanted, once change had happened, one could continue to campaign for more change.  However, if this didn’t pass, the attitude would be, well you turned down even this small change to the system, clearly there is no demand for greater change.
       
      Cameron played a blinder on that one I have to say, and Nick was completely suckered.  How can anyone trust that party again?

    34. Horacesaysyes says:

      Morag Says – However, if this didn’t pass, the attitude would be, well you turned down even this small change to the system, clearly there is no demand for greater change.
       
      An attitude we’ll also see if things go wrong and we get a no vote next year, and why the idea that we’ll get further devolution after a no vote is clearly mince.
       

    35. balgayboy says:

      Oh Well, Looks like Cameron has bottled out of a debate with the FM. He has responded that his front man labour MP Alistair Darling is the spokesperson for westminster. No contest there.

    36. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Eh, shouldn’t that be 73%, not 72%, as I’d guess that the Greens and the Scottish Socialists would be broadly classed as being on ‘the left’?”

      THAT’S IT, I’M VOTING NO.

    37. GrahamB says:

      DevoMax is a movable feast and therefore never fulfilling. People will always keep asking for more so we would have decades of tinkering round the edges until we eventually arrive at independence. This is the reason that so many oppose DM, not because it means different things to different people but because of its eventual outcome. It’s much more efficient to go straight to independence. Good article though (maths should be arithmetic – manipulation of numbers, whereas maths operates on unknowns).

    38. Macart says:

      A well reasoned argument Justin.
       
      Well said.

    39. scottish_skier says:

      A good article. Thanks Justin.
       
      My own impression is a section of the electorate is still holding out in the hope that some devo maxy thing might wondrously appear at the last minute meaning they don’t have to swallow hard and vote Yes. They’re starting to give up now though. After all, it’s not going to happen, if simply for the reason I’ve mentioned before; which party would offer it only to be thanked by the Scots electorate voting SNP in 2015? Polls suggest the SNP are now Scotland’s party at both levels and the electorate are canny; best vote for them whether you want indy or devo max. You can trust them to fight for it.
       
      I voted for AV as it would have made a crap system just a little less crap and, as others had stated, felt one change could lead to others.
       
      The Libs were power hungry fools. They went with AV over PR-STV as AV would have most likely helped them at the expense of Labour and the Tories. It would not, as others have noted, made Westminster more representative though. People would still have felt they’d need to pick one of the big three tactically to have a chance of their vote being counted.
       
      Watching the Tories and some Labour destroy AV with horrific lies galvanised me into saying my support for indy would never change. That, and the fact the Libs refused to work with the SNP on a two option referendum post 2007 told me that democracy in the UK was dead. No devo carrots would sway me in any way. Time to leave and that’s it.

    40. Horacesaysyes says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell says –

      “Eh, shouldn’t that be 73%, not 72%, as I’d guess that the Greens and the Scottish Socialists would be broadly classed as being on ‘the left’?”
      THAT’S IT, I’M VOTING NO.

      Dear God, what have I done??? 😮

      😉

    41. muttley79 says:

      @Rev Stu
      THAT’S IT, I’M VOTING NO.
       
      Geez my money back then!.. :D: :D:

    42. cath says:

      “That while it wasn’t the change we wanted, once change had happened, one could continue to campaign for more change. ”
       
      Same thing with devolution for the English regions.
       
      Between that, AV and Lords reform the picture is very, very clear – Westminster does not do change; it clings to the status quo with near desperation and one tactic for doing that is to offer really rubbish, small scale change then talk it down as pointless and rubbish, then use the ensuing apathy or no vote to say, “oh look no one wants change”. And the needle returns to the start of the song and we all carry on like before…
       
      Same tactic with devo in 79 come to think of it.

    43. Andrew Coulson says:

      It can’t be said too often:  AV is not PR!  AV addresses the problem that, under FPTP, a candidate that most people would be content with, may be passed over in favour of someone whom people either intensely like, or intensely dislike. Yes, this would be an improvement, but no, it does not bring PR any closer.  It may well make the representation less proportional, judging the distribution of seats against the distribution of first preference votes.  Long, long ago, the Jenkins commission recognised this, and so proposed a system of AV for single member seats, with a top-up regional list to get the PR better.  I’m not saying this was a good solution, or advocating it, just pointing out that it is well recognised that AV is not PR.

    44. Morag says:

      Dear God, what have I done???
       
       
      😆

    45. Morag says:

      When this is all over and the historians are looking back, I have a feeling the judgement may be that the Yes vote was won when the Westminster parties refused to allow a devo-max (or even devo-plus) option on the ballot paper.  That was just awesome politics on Salmond’s part.

    46. BeamMeUpScotty says:

      The Westminster parliament is dominated by English MPs which in my book makes it an English parliament.England doesn’t need a devolved parliament because it already has one.English voters get democratic representation but we Scots don’t.Westminster will never agree to oil revenues being collected by a Scottish treasury and since they control the Devo situation…no devo max for as long as we have oil.

    47. Morag says:

      They could have tried an AV thing though.  Put a devo-plausible scenario forward and talked it up a bit, while making sure that the power stayed where they wanted it.  It’s possible they might have got away with it. I think quite a few people might have voted for something that looked like another incremental step along the devo-road, rather than big scary independence.

    48. balgayboy says:

      Noticeable that cameronB & ianbrotherhood have not graced us with their respected comments so far today. Come on guys I miss your input.

    49. DougtheDug says:

      Defining Devomax is nothing to do with trying define what powers Scotland will have. The definition is really quite easy.  DevoMax is the maximum amount of power that Westminster will allow Scotland to have.
       
      Calman and all the schemes proposed from the Lib-Dems, Devo-More, Devo-Plus and the draft from Labour just shuffle the block grant through various assigned and devolved taxes in a bureaucratic merry-go-round and end up with the Barnett formula funding at the end. In other words nothing changes but a bit of grant shuffling through HMRC.
       
      It means that this is it and we can’t get any more powers or get offered any more powers because we are already at DevoMax. And after a no vote it’s going to get even less.  

    50. CameronB says:

      (I always like to remind people that Zimbabwe used FPTP – I don’t know why).
       
      Perhaps because FPTP is essentially mob rule, and mobs are easy to direct. More sophisticated systems empower the individual to make nuanced choices, and that is a politician’s nightmare. They might even be forced to act democratically.

      balgayboy
      Spooky. 🙂
       
       
       

    51. Albalha says:

      o/t
      My first set of YESMarch photos
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/albalha/

    52. cath says:

      Really it’s quite simple. Devo-max, as in maximum devolution is independence.

      Once independent we can decide, as a sovereign county, to pool resources on things like defence, if that suits us as all other normal countries can. And we can choose from the full range of international bodies and other countries. It may well be that a Nordic defence union suits us better than one with England. Our threats and opportunities around the north sea are very different from England’s and currently not addressed.

    53. Morag says:

      That’s a very powerful argument, Cath.  It’s the antithesis of this internally contradictory spin that says, you’re going to stay in the EU and continue to use the pound so it’s not proper independence so don’t vote for it.  (I never quite understood the point of that argument.)
       
      I hope that’s the sort of message that will go out to the devo-max supporters next year.  Salmond is not an idiot, so I expect it will.

    54. Gillie says:

       
      One interesting aspect about AV referendum was the polling. Just after the UK election in 2010 there was healthy lead for the YES camp, but a few months in the YES camp lead lost that lead and were on the same level of support as the NO camp. It was just a month before the referendum that the polls changed dramatically in favour of the NO. It shows that voters only became engaged in the AV debate just a few weeks before polling took place. 
       
      We are seeing similarities in polling with the independence referendum. It could be only weeks before polling in Sept 2014 that Scots finally engage and make their minds up on independence.
       
       

    55. ianbrotherhood says:

      @Balgayboy-
       
      Not much to say today.
      On a bit of a downer after last night – had a hot date lined up but she never showed.
      Woe is me…

    56. balgayboy says:

       
      cath says:@ 1.04
      Understand your rational, but for me it’s Independence only without any sub-title compromise. Scotland and it’s people are due no less than it’s rightful place in the world’s community.

    57. For die says:

      I’m a fan of PR but voted no to AV. It was just a sop. Don’t understand how anyone who wants rid of Trident can be a fan of Devo Max. We would still have Trident and still no control over eg foreign affairs.

    58. Horacesaysyes says:

      ianbrotherhood says –

      Not much to say today.
      On a bit of a downer after last night – had a hot date lined up but she never showed.
      Woe is me…
       
      I think we’ll all be feeling like that on the 19th September if it’s a no vote!

      (Sorry things didn’t go well last night, btw)
       
       

    59. ianbrotherhood says:

      For those who don’t visit the Twitter space – here’s a belter Rev retweeted earlier:
      http://chasanddaveinnewyork.tumblr.com/post/40178901809/with-the-black-panthers
       
      and here they are in action, at the height of their fame, in 1981:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1fOZjiDaw4
       
      Gertcha!

    60. Mchaggis says:

      Sorry… I stopped reading near the beginning when the author made it clear he supports some sort of reform to have a government which represents everyones views, but then makes it clear thats based on an assumption parties such as BNP would never get in anyway…
       
      that is fundamentally flawed and as equally undemocratic as fptp. You can’t pick and choose the circumstances that would suit your argument for pr.
       
      if some form of pr were in place, who is to say people who might vote BNP but dont due to the fptp system making it a wasted vote, would now go ahead and vote bnp?
       
      what does the author suggest we do with the voting system when fringe parties do start getting representation?
       
      if you want something like full pr, then you must be prepared to live with the consequences.
       
      as i said, the rest of the piece may be more logically presented, but with the opening faux pas of “i want true democracy but only for parties I deem acceptable”, i didnt read on.

    61. Triangular Ears says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
       

      THAT’S IT, I’M VOTING NO.
       
      In all seriousness (and humble apologies if this has been answered countless times before), but are you moving back home in time for the vote?  I have brothers contemplating the same…

    62. Holebender says:

      AV is a shite electoral system; a fudge which absolutely nobody supported – not even the FibDems. No wonder the referendum failed.
       
      D’Hondt is somewhat better but I do not like the closed party lists. The lists put too much control in the hands of political parties and not enough in the hands of the electorate. For example, why should someone who has been rejected by a constituency electorate become an MSP because he/she is high on a party’s regional list? I think all candidates should be directly elected or rejected by the electorate, and my preferred method is STV-PR as used for local council elections.
       
      I hope independent Scotland adopts STV-PR for all elections.

    63. Morag says:

      In all seriousness (and humble apologies if this has been answered countless times before), but are you moving back home in time for the vote?  I have brothers contemplating the same…
       
      Funny thing, you know.  I was just going over the electoral register for our ward in connection to the imminent by-election, and noticed something.  The son of a friend of mine, who hasn’t been living in the family home for quite a while, is on the electoral register.  Last I heard, he was building a career based in England.
       
      Just a thought that popped into my head, for no readily apparent reason.

    64. Morag says:

      For example, why should someone who has been rejected by a constituency electorate become an MSP because he/she is high on a party’s regional list?
       
      I don’t think that’s a helpful way of putting it.  If someone has come a close second in a hard-fought two-way contest, that’s hardly being “rejected”.  As I see it, parties put their best and brightest forward for election, and try to get them elected one way or another.  I agree with you about the closed lists though.  There is probably a better way of doing it.  (I’m just not sure about public elections for the lists, because most people wouldn’t have a scooby who half the people were, and some people would be trying to get the daftest numpties at the top as a spoiler tactic.)

    65. balgayboy says:

       
      ianbrotherhood says@1.37
      Got the message and very funny. Can I please suggest that regardless of the differences or the tone of the subject matter that we are all together in the end result and we can stick together in achieving our collective aim. 
      Yes Scotland.

    66. cath says:

      “It was just a month before the referendum that the polls changed dramatically in favour of the NO.”
       
      I think that’s one reason the NO campaign are extremely arrogant and complacent (or were). Their thinking is that Yes always starts high then as the referendum approaches no gains, especially if the media is running with the no bias. They used the AV one and others as a guide for that and reasoned with yes at only about 30% at the beginning, they’d easily push it down to about 17% (those were figures I actually heard bandied about on a FB page) by the referendum. Always seemed a bit hopeful to me.
       
      ” The son of a friend of mine, who hasn’t been living in the family home for quite a while, is on the electoral register. “
      I really hope there’s some plan for making sure the electoral register can’t be swamped with people who don’t actually live here…

    67. Morag says:

      I’m perfectly comfortable with people being on the register in their family home, even if they are working away.  I voted in the 1997 referendum on that basis myself.

      I really don’t think enough people will be in this category to make any difference, especially as there are probably voters on both sides involved. If someone has somewhere in Scotland they genuinely call home, I’m not arguing.

    68. Doug Daniel says:

      Open Lists are the only way to truly solve the problem of parties being in too much control of which of their candidates gets elected. They manage it in Sweden, and I’m fairly sure Swedes aren’t inherently more intelligent than anyone else.
       
      Personally, I’m not a huge fan of STV. Parties only put forward as many candidates as they think can get elected, so if they don’t think they’ll get more than one elected, that’s all they’ll put forward. Putting forward too many candidates can lead to disaster, as your votes might get split and end up with neither getting elected – I think that happened in some cases in 2007. That means if there’s an unexpected surge of support for a party in a constituency, you miss out on potentially getting another person elected. In my ward last year, for instance, it was perfectly possible for the SNP to receive 100% of the first-preference votes, but to only get 33.3333333333333333333% of the councillors.
       
      STV encourages parties to be too cautious, and end up always being one election behind. Far better to say “place a vote for your favoured party, then rank their candidates in order of aceness.”

    69. Hetty says:

      It’s clear that the tories plan was to have a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and no other option purely because they were and still are sure of a ‘no’ vote. Devo-max is now not an option I can’t understand why anyone would believe the libdemlabtory party in saying they are offering anything like devo-max. It’ll be devo-min and devo-nil eventually with a ‘no’ vote. I have managed to talk with a couple of people enough for them to now be Indy voters and they in turn are talking to others who are seeing through the lies and so seriously thinking about voting ‘YES’. There’s still time, and people will hopefully have some answers to allay their fears(!) when the white paper comes out in November. My own support for Independence sadly has lost me a couple of friends and others keep their distance, but it’s worth it.  Hopefully new pals are on the horizon!

    70. Taranaich says:

      Great to see this post on Wings!

    71. molly says:

      Hetty it’s funny a similar reaction from a couple of my friends , definitely a cooler welcome . Which is strange because I never initiated the conversation about Independence with them.The reasons I first liked them is still there ,I just  happen to have a different opinion on Scotland’s future. Must admit I was slightly taken aback by The Daily Mail quotes for today stuff but hey ho

    72. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I cannot understand how anybody could work out that complcated devo-max or federalism could do anything that straightforward uncomplicated independence wouldn’t do a lot better.
      I have never been in either of these positions and the reason we are where we are today is because the SNP never weakened into them either  (though some luminaries have faltered in the past). 
      We got devolution because we stuck out for independence. Had we settled for devolution we would have got something half of that and we would be looking for devolution today.
      That’s the way it works.
      Confederalism ie when already independent countries agree to share responsibilities and operations in areas of mutal interest – is a different beast

    73. Daughter of Evil Reindeer says:

      @ Hetty 2.22pm

      I think you are mostly right.

      If devo-max or even some increased power for Holyrood is or was an option then why was this never on the table, why not just give it to us.

      Instead of the “Project Fear” rhetoric why not something along the lines of – “The Sottish people obviously want more decision making ability so we are the party offering it”, sure vote winner even for the tories in Scotland.
      So the reality is probably that Devolution was a sop. That devo-max like full independence is unthinkable for them.

      I think the overconfidence bit is for show, publicly deny credibility, and do the dirty work by proxy through “Project Fear” I think privately they will be looking at the prospect of Independence as a major crisis, on a par with a North Korean invasion or a meteor strike.

      For them it would be the end.

      Their island kingdom has a border and potentially a “socially just” one.
      They are no longer such an oil rich Country.
      Their “top table weaponry” is threatened.
      The sun sets completely on empire and careers.

      They make out that they have no contingencies, in the event of a yes vote, I very much doubt that. Supreme over confidence, they must be covering their arses somewhere, to not do so would be like making a speech about a “Thousand Year Reich” from a bunker under Downing Street.

    74. John Lyons says:

      The argument that AV would have allowed lunatic fringe parties like the BNP to gain power
       
      Lol. This made me think of Tory MSPs, but only 14 out of 15 are in on list seats…

    75. TJenny says:

      I want devo – platinum, or as we like to call it, Independence;-)

    76. Holebender says:

      If people are daft enough to vote for lunatics and various unsavoury characters, who am I, or any of you, to deny them democratic representation? Getting elected would probably be the death knell for most of these nutters anyway; they would be subject to much more scrutiny, and would actually have to do something, if they were sitting in the legislature.

    77. Justin says:

      Balls, balls, balls. I can’t tell you how much that maths error annoys me. I did it in my head and must have missed the decimal points when I did it. Sorry. 

    78. Shinty says:

      devo- platinum it is, nothing less.

    79. Rab o' Ruglen says:

      Hi there,
       
      I voted against AV for the same reasons most of you above did – its crap, but also by the time of that referendum it was becoming clear that the SNP would probably not need PR to gain substantial numbers of Westminster seats.

      I simply love the idea of the SNP winning a huge majority of Westminster seats with just over 40% or so of the vote.  We, as a party, suffered so badly under the FPTP system for so long, I just couldn’t bring myself to vote against it at a time when we appeared to be on the brink of the present system working in our favour.

      Consider if we lose the referendum narrowly, a majority of SNP MP’s in the 2015 GE could be a way of shoehorning a further referendum out of Westminster by threatening UDI if one is not granted, and we would stand a much greater chance of winning it in the light of the reprisals which will surely come as a result of a “No” in this one.

      No feeble fifty at Westminster if the’re SNP members instead of SLABs!
      Regards,

    80. john king says:

      I for the life of me cannot see why devo max was EVER  the preferred option,
      as long as those people get to decide what the next illegal war we get into and steal the bedroom off a mother waiting for her wounded son to come home only for him to be called a shirker (by a company who makes money out of telling him that) 
      because he had the temerity to leave his legs in Afghanistan
      what the hell is the point of it,
      so we can have a “wee pretendy parliament” ?

    81. john king says:

      before anyone says 
      no no your wrong john devo max is meant to stop that sort of thing,
      we’ll have control over our own welfare budget under devo, but we’ll still find ourselves press ganged into becoming one of the most despised countries in the world, I read recently someone (in defence of the union) say the UK was admired around the world and a beacon of light or some such twaddle.

      The choice of whether we send our sons to die on foreign fields should, no MUST  rest with the people who will have to look them (when they come home wounded) and their mothers right in the eye and say but it was worth it,
      besides which if anyone seriously believes that anything other that the complete removal of the word Scotland or Scottish (following a no vote)from the map is deluding themselves,
      Im 58 years old and I can guarantee you before I die, if we vote no there will be no such country as Scotland,
        whats the betting after a no vote they’ll say no wait guys were working on “something better” for you!
       
      sound familiar
      fool me me once shame on you
      fool me twice shame on me

    82. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Exactly, John

    83. G. Campbell says:

      “Almost three-quarters of Scots voted for an ostensibly left-wing party, compared to just over half of the UK.”
       
      Four-fifths of Scots voted for “left-wing” parties in 2010. The Lib Dems got 19% of the Scottish vote, not 10%.

    84. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I have to say that any of the steadily vanishing LibDem vote that I have met isn’t remotely left wing.

    85. Jeannie says:

      @Dave McEwan Hill
       
      Dave, where’s the Yes office in Dunoon?

    86. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Jeannie
       
      It’s at the trafiic lights next to the E&R Inglis and Dunoon Observer shop on Argyll Street. We only daily weekdays between 1 pm and 3.30pm though it is the very odd day we get away at 3.30.
      It is shop, not an office and is supported by sales of stuff – books, CDs, Scotch Tablet, badges, car stickers, hats etc etc  and teas and coffees. 
      We’d love to see you

    87. Justin says:

      G Campbell, you’re absolutely right! In my original blog post that figure is 18.9%, which is where the discrepancy comes from. I therefore retract my earlier apology – it’s a typo, not an arithmetical error. (Phew.) 🙂

    88. Jeannie says:

      @Dave McEwan Hill
       
      Thanks for that.  I know exactly where it is now.  I’m usually only in this neck of the woods at weekends, but occasionally on a weekday, so might get the chance at some point.  Cheers.



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