It’s not been a great week in the Scottish independence referendum. The Codswallop Quotient has gone through the roof since word got out last Tuesday night about George Osborne’s plan to rule out a currency union with an independent Scotland. If the CQ has a similar effect on the human body as the pollen count, there will be lots of people sneezing across the country this week.
It was a huge gamble on Osborne’s part and it will be a while before we know whether it’s paid off. I’m still not getting any sense that it’s doing any more than reinforce the choice of the already decided.
But after a week where the trenches got deeper, there are two signs of signs of hope, both of which could lead to more intelligent discussion. The first is Scotcen research showing a consistent 57% of respondents oppose independence, a consistent 31% of people favour independence but 32% of people are more in line with Liberal Democrat thinking, favouring a so called “devo max” option. That basically means that Scotland decides everything for itself except defence and foreign affairs. Nearly 3/4 of people put deco max as one of their top options. The question that needs more work is how many of these people would vote yes rather than continue with the status quo if there is no pathway to greater devolution.
Willie Rennie said:
This yearly survey once again confirms that the majority of people agree with Scottish Liberal Democrat home rule to build a stronger Scotland within the UK. Sir Menzies Campbell’s home rule report showed how a permanent transfer of powers could improve the accountability of the Scottish Parliament whilst continuing to pool risks and rewards across the broad UK shoulders.
We can shape our destiny on the domestic agenda whilst working with the UK family on pensions, foreign affairs and defence. This report puts petrol in the tank of our Campbell II plans, which will lead the way in bringing together an overall consensus on more powers. With Labour and the Conservatives to set out their plans for more powers in the coming months it is clear that a No vote in September opens the door to further change across the UK.
The second promising thing comes from our former Secretary of State Michael Moore. He’s going back to political campaigning basics and has arranged a series of discussion meetings between nest week and early September. His Road to the Referendum series will see him chat to local people in his Borders constituency, answering their questions. He says:
The question facing the people of Scotland on 18 September is the most important one in our lifetimes. There can be no going back from independence, and as a passionate supporter of Scotland remaining within the UK I am determined to play my part in helping people get access to the information they need to make up their minds. I know from my growing postbag that local people want answers to the important questions raised by independence, and that is why I have decided to hit the road around my constituency to discuss these important issues directly with my constituents. Anyone can attend these public meetings whatever their views, and I would encourage them to bring their family, neighbours and friends. I will endeavour to do my best to answer any questions posed by my constituents, and look forward to interesting discussions with them.