Friday, September 19, 2014

The dream shall never die

Well that was frustrating news to wake up to. So close. All over Scotland, more than 4 out of 10 wanted independence - if this was a jury, it'd necessitate a re-trial.

Despite the high (for apathetic UK anyway) voting turnout of 84%, I suspect that, as with so many campaigns, too many yes supporters couldn't be bothered enough to vote, leading to the eventual 55%/45% split. Voter registration was 97%, so that's 13% who didn't get it together to have their say. Much better than the baffling failure of the AV referendum, but remember - Tories will always turn out to vote, so you can't leave anything to chance.

Still, it was a pretty close result and by no means could Westminster be satisfied with the margin. The no vote was generally in spite of Westminster, more a vote of fear of the unknown. You note how this morning Cameron slipped into his speech "settled for a generation, perhaps for a lifetime" - really? Really? Presuming there's another vote in another 15-odd years time, the younger yes will surely outstrip the older no.

A good summing-up of the new challenge was made by Phillip Blond from ResPublica (some kind of think-tank). The two options on offer - an increase in Scottish devolution and the ruddy West Lothian question - are contradictory impulses - MPs are kept in line by party whips, so banning the Scots ones from English issues and vice versa merely serves to tighten the grip of Westminster. Better just to devolve everywhere, and energise the whole nation - the Cornish, the Welsh, the North-East, Manchester, Liverpool, the Midlands et al; even the sodden Fens; and in the process the West Lothian nonsense will dissolve because we'll all take more responsibility at a local level.

On the night, it was fun to see McGlashan again, caricature though he is. Catch up with his previous adventures in the cackle-tastic and surprisingly sprightly Absolutely Everything DVD box set (via Amazon UK or Amazon US).

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