Independence, yes or no”, those are the only two options that the people of Scotland should be presented with in the independence referendum, according to Johann Lamont, leader of the Scottish Labour party (The Times, 9th July). She also expressed the desire for a “positive debate” on independence. So when will the debate begin and what will the Scottish Labour party have to offer the people of Scotland other than a No vote that leads to No change and No improvement? When will the Scottish Labour party start to listen to the majority of the people of Scotland, who, if the polls are correct, wish to see the referendum debate lead to significant change and significant improvement.


Sticking to a policy of no options other than Yes or No is a risky approach for the Scottish Labour party and the other parties that support a continued Union with England. By proposing that the only option, other than independence, is a continuation of the present Union, these politicians will put themselves in a position where they will have to defend and justify the damage the present Union has inflicted, and continues to inflict, on Scotland.

How will the proponents of a No vote justify the damage that has been done to Scotland over the last 50 years by shoehorning Scotland into inappropriate economic policies that have been developed primarily to support London and the South East of England?


How will those who support the continuation of the present Union justify the drop in the standard of living experienced by so many Scots impacted every time a head office function closes in Scotland as a result of UK government policies?

We can all be sure of one thing; the politicians who campaign for a No vote are bound to produce many “impressive” claims and statistics to support their case. However, the statistics just won’t wash anymore, the statistics and hollow claims will be scrutinised in detail. The feeble foundation that supports the arguments for maintaining the present Union will be exposed; the proponents of a No vote will be found out! Scots are not daft enough to be persuaded that the loss of 1000 highly paid head office jobs can be replaced by 2000 supermarket checkout jobs. The statistics might look good, unemployment down by 1000, but in reality the lower incomes that are result for those affected, and the drop in the standard of living that they experience, completely exposes the fake statistics. Worse still, countless Scots, who lose well paid skilled jobs as a result of these head office closures, are forced to leave their homes in Scotland to find comparable employment elsewhere.

It is interesting to observe that in the same week that Johann Lamont was insisting that the only option that Scottish Labour will be supporting in the referendum will be a No change option, Sir Tom Hunter was urging all politicians at Holyrood to support the drive for Scotland to have full fiscal responsibility. As he argued “politicians of every hue should have the maturity and decency to put party politics aside and do what is right for Scotland by coming together for our great nation”. Sadly, it appears that Johann Lamont, and the other proponents of the No option, are refusing to listen to Sir Tom Hunter just as they are refusing to listen to all the other Scots who wish to be given an option for change within a Union in the independence referendum.


The No option in the referendum is the option for No change, but Scotland needs change and it needs this change urgently. As Sir Tom Hunter recognised, “We are collectively complicit in doing what we have always done or, at minimum, doing new things that haven't moved the dial one iota or maybe just a wee bit … marginal growth cannot and will not secure our position as a leading small nation in the world”. Full fiscal responsibility, and control over all the other levers of power that are required to develop the Scottish economy for the benefit of Scotland, will be required. None of this will be achieved if the only alternative option to independence is a continuation of the Union in its present form.

So how will Scots respond to this intransigent adherence to nothing but the No option expressed by unionist politicians? Well it might not go quite the way that the supporters of the present Union would like. Many Scots are likely to realise that a No vote will lead to No change, but that a Yes vote will leave the door wide open for change. It will also become apparent to most Scots that a Yes vote will not necessarily mean Yes! A Yes vote will take the debate to the next stage where all options will still be open. It could lead to full independence, it could lead to enhanced devolution, or it could even lead to a radical new Union. Above all else, however, a Yes vote will ensure that positive change of some sort will be as good as guaranteed. Of course, the supporters of a Union could simplify all of this and have the option for a radical new Union included as a referendum option. They could even start listening to the majority of their fellow Scots; but let’s not get too radical now!

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