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Yes, No or Further Power: The Scottish Question

Scottish residents should be able to vote for further power in lieu of independence

Alex Salmond speaks on Scottish Independence
Should Westminster be in control of the referendum or should Scotland be able to organise its own? • Photograph: Scottish Government

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond is posing a great question to all of his Scottish people, and, broadly, perhaps the whole world. Should Scotland gain independence from the UK?

My verdict: it’s a choice for the Scottish people, and them alone. But who are the Scottish people? And what should the referendum ask them? These are questions all are asking themselves, and there will be many an argument about every little decision.

What annoys me most is the UK central government’s attempts to interfere in Scotland’s decisions. Although I do not agree with every decision that Tony Blair made in his ten years as Prime Minister, his early commitments to devolution were certainly some of his best. These small countries, unlike many others controlled like the British, had the chance to vote for their changes and they made the decision that they wished partial independence via a referendum, and they got that almost immediately. To add to that, the Labour Cabinet had a mandate to do so as they had promised it in their manifesto. The Scottish National Party are in the same situation. They were elected into a majority government with independence a key item in their manifesto, and now they seek a referendum on the matter? So what’s different about the situation – why can’t they do it with interference. A country that is so strong on an economical front, where university tuition is free, where prescriptions are free should be able to make a decision themselves; those who fear it will go wrong, well, that’s their consequence if it does so right.

Next question: what should the referendum provide as options? The Scottish Parliament wishes there to be three options – a yes, a no, and a request for further fiscal power. The United Kingdom Parliament wishes it to be a simple yes or no question. I, personally, think there should be a third option. Previous referendums, including the one held for Wales earlier this year, allowed the further power option, in replacement of a ‘yes’ option and for that reason I think it should be added for this one. Despite that, getting a majority will be harder with three options than two, for those saying this third option will make it easier for them to win.

Third question – who should be able to vote on it? The change would affect the Scottish people the most – they would be taking full responsibility upon themselves, and therefore any consequence of their actions would be their own, and for that reason, only the Scottish people should be able to vote on it, not the rest of the UK. Furthermore, when I say Scottish people, I mean those who are registered to vote in Scotland, the Scottish electorate. They are the ones who vote for the Scottish MPs and the members of Scottish Parliament, and chose the SNP government that exists today. How would we like it if we wished to become independent from the EU and the French or the German electorate voted on that too?

In summary, the Scottish Parliament should organise, hold and vote on their own referendum, and we, as other nations of the United Kingdom, should sit and watch. What we think is to be our own thought, and not to be involved in this decision making process. Besides, the interfering should wait for the Yes/No/Further Power campaigns.

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