There is a referendum in Scotland on 18 September 2014. You might have noticed. Here are some thoughts on that topic, just in case you did not have enough to read.
As is pretty obvious, I am voting Yes. I wrote a blog three months ago explaining why I planned to do that, whilst offering two chinks in my armour that could be exploited so as to make me vote No. In those three months, no-one has managed to convince me: 1) that my human rights and fundamental freedoms might be harmed with a Yes vote; or 2) educated me as to how there might be an existential threat to the NHS in the event of an independent Scotland coming to pass. Even the recent story about the SNP’s apparent massaging of the NHS Scotland budget and a £400m-£450m funding gap over the next two financial years has not swayed me: maybe I am being thick (it has been known to happen) or maybe I have a blind-spot (I am acutely aware those who self-identify with Yes can desensitize themselves to counter-arguments), but from my reading of this BBC story there is plainly a funding gap coming up under the status quo, whether or not that is spun as an anti-SNP story about that party’s management since forming a majority Government at Holyrood in 2011. Clearly, this story is difficult to present as an argument for independence, but it is a mighty big double-edged sword that can swing back against the status quo given the funding gap has developed in the current financial model for Holyrood.
As for my own reasons for voting Yes, I think the Scottish Parliament has done pretty well with one hand tied behind its back, and I think it could continue such work with the power a Yes vote would invest in it. To be blunt, I do not believe a No vote guarantees such an empowerment.
Anyway, that is all I am going to write about my own decision. I am not going to be so presumptuous to tell anyone how to vote at this stage of the game. The main thing I want to note is this. Not all Yes folk are deluded nationalists (the likes of Andy Wightman and Peter Matthews articulately explain why they are voting Yes without even getting near that straw man I have just created). Not all No folk are No-Surrendering fans of foodbanks and the trappings of all things British. At 22.01 on 18 September 2014 all the participants in the referendum, plus a heck of a lot of interested observers, will still need to work together for the future. So vote however you see fit, marvel in the democratic process, and continue to be pals with those you are pals with now.
See you on the flipside.