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Posted on August 14, 2011 by

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[3] Wikipedia:

[4] Wikipedia:

[5] Financial Times:

[6] The Herald:

[7] The Independent:

[8] UK government:

[9] Professor Brian Ashcroft:

[10] Wikipedia:

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[16] “Better Together”:

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[28] House Of Commons Library:

[29] Wikipedia:

[30] Great Ormond Street Hospital:

[31] The Courier:

[32] NHS Blood & Transplant:

[33] Marcus Chown:

[34] The Guardian:

[35] The Independent:

[36] BBC Scotland:

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[55] The Telegraph:

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[58] Wikipedia:

[59] Fletcher Tufts:

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[63] Wikipedia:

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[69] The Guardian:

[70] BBC:

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[76] The Huffington Post:

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3 to “Wee Blue Links”

  1. Ghengis D'Midgies

    Link 126 seems broken

  2. Alan Rennison

    I’m a Scottish economist living in Seattle. I have just posted this on facebook, and thought you might be interested:

    “Scotland, here’s the plan (version 2).

    I have tried to tidy up a crazy idea, based on some online and offline feedback over the last 24 hours. Again, I would have voted ‘No’, but 45% of Scotland voted ‘Yes’ on Thursday so the door should probably not be closed on the independence question for another 30+ years. Westminster are going to take a while to straighten out the new powers, and even longer to offer the opportunity of another referendum, but the Scottish people can take the lead in doing two things while we all wait for that mess to be sorted out: (1) Improving the quality, reliability and transparency of ‘the numbers’ informing the independence debate; and (2) Preparing to robustly re-test Scotland’s appetite for independence 10 years from now (any sooner is probably too soon).

    I reckon the following could be done at a cost of £2-3 per person per year over 10 years, plus the cost of one text message in 2025.

    (1) Improving the numbers

    As we know, the Scottish people have lacked confidence in the socio-economic analyses (i.e. ‘the numbers’) informing the big independence questions around currency, public expenditure, the EU, oil, the NHS, etc through the whole referendum process. The answers are perceived as biased because they are (or appear to be) coming from the Yes campaign, the No campaigns, or the affiliated political parties. However, the Scottish people could improve their confidence in the numbers by bypassing the campaigns/parties and commissioning independent (and ideally, world-leading) think tanks and experts to present evidence and answer questions on each topic, themselves.

    One implication is that the Scottish people would need to pay for the required analysis. A ring-fenced and independently governed ‘independence analysis fund’ that the Scottish people pay a few pounds per year in to, would be one way in which to finance the creation of the required analysis, without relying on Government funding (or lottery winners or JK Rowling).

    An independence analysis fund would pay for the following activities (on a ‘draw down’ or ‘as needed’ basis): (i) consultations with the Scottish people to confirm which questions need to be asked, and who should answer them; (ii) the creation of socio-economic data, evidence and models that the experts can use to calculate the expected impact of (for example) a rise in the world oil price, an increase in the Bank of England base rate, a sharp depreciation of the pound, Scotland joining the EU, a change in income tax rates etc, on (for example) Scottish jobs, food prices, savings, taxes, public expenditure, trade, welfare, mortgages, education, healthcare, defense etc; (iii) expert assessments of the quality and validity of the input data/assumptions used to calculate the expected impacts, and expert validation of the results of the calculations and their implications for an independent Scotland; (iv) a website where the Scottish people can see what data/assumptions are being fed in to the impact calculations, how these assumptions are being refined and updated over time, and how the experts are interpreting the results; (v) a board of (unpaid) trustees (including representatives from each side of debate, civil society, the private sector, and other non-Government representatives) to make sure that the fund is being used in the way the Scottish people want it to be used; and (vi) a small secretariat to help formulate and prioritize the technical questions, and to administer all of the above (consultation logistics, contracting experts, maintaining the website etc).

    One million people (Scots, non-Scots, Yes voters, No voters, interested people living outside of Scotland) each donating of £2-3 per year for ten years in to an independence analysis fund would likely be more than enough to pay for the above activities. Some larger private donations would also help, but these individuals would need to be content that they would not have a disproportionate say in what questions get asked, or how they get answered.

    (2) Re-testing the appetite for independence

    The Scottish people can re-test the nation’s appetite for independence by holding a ‘shadow referendum’ in say 2025, informed by the improved numbers (see above) and several years’ of Scottish Government implementation of the new powers, but without any handholding from Westminster or Holyrood. The primary purpose of the ‘shadow’ referendum would be to support the case for holding another ‘real’ legally and constitutionally-binding referendum (or not – remember I’m a No), based not on opinion polls, but on the largest sample size possible (i.e. pretty much everyone 16 and over living in Scotland).

    A shadow referendum could be administered using mobile phone e-voting – I think this would roughly work as one vote per registered mobile phone contract address, tallied to the electoral register to avoid electoral fraud. There would be no need to finance policing costs, logistics around polling stations and the count, or a day off work. The e-vote could be administered by a pro-democracy NGO, financed by the Scottish people from the cost of their one-time text message vote (the payment would be made when you register to e-vote).

    (3) Aye mate, very good, it’ll never work

    Maybe I’m living in fantasy land (I am, it’s called America), but a few people have indicated to me that the above might be worth a go. It’s hard for me to make anything happen from 5,000 miles away, but if anyone knows anyone who might be interested in doing something to take this rough concept forward, share/like/tweet as you please, and I would be happy to throw a few more crazy ideas across the Atlantic to help make it happen. Also happy to take comments on how to refine or improve or abandon.”

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