Referendum now – the union demand


by Hazel Lewry

The Unionist parties will call for a referendum now to fuel what they hope will be a recovery at the polling stations. In desperation they will try to argue, after preventing a referendum in the past, that our government must do it now, put the question to the public immediately.

The mantra will be focus, focus on jobs, focus on the economy, focus on families, not a “distraction” of an ongoing “Independence” debate.

The Unionists need a debate and referendum now while their media circus, or parts of it at least, remain strong in Scotland, while their propaganda machine still has wheels to spin. They demonstrated this towards the end of the election campaign with continual “name the date” cries.

Time is not a Union friend, and the Unionists know it. The Union-Dependency machine will bring every power to bear to try to force a referendum before our government is ready.

Our government will decide when the time is right. The Scots decided last night the time was right to put in place a government committed to giving them a true voice. Scotland decided that a statesman and an able deputy were a far better option for their country than a party and leadership not so slowly fading through pink to Gray.

As a result of this the Unionists should realise the only reason there is a debate on Independence, is because they have demanded one, through the years their cries have echoed, scaremongering across generations. In reality a debate on “Independence” appears a non-starter, as independence is the brother to dependence. Scotland is not dependant. Scotland is self sufficient. We export food, we export energy, last night we exported entrenched entitlement. England is dependent, Whitehall and Westminster are dependent.

It is our poor relations south of the border who need Independence, they need it so that they can grow again as a nation, they can cast of the aspirations of a major world player, aspirations often bought with Scots blood. England needs time to begin to redevelop her manufacturing base, so decimated by Westminster in these last 30 years.

As Scotland strides forward to a bright, self assured and confident future, a future her people showed by the power of their individual and collective ballots they are ready to assume, she should be gracious and give England time to prepare.

Scotland doesn’t need to bend to Unionist clamour, for that is all it is. Scotland needs to focus the first part of this next Parliament on removing the hurdles to the growth of two nations. That is best done by bringing the powers gifted to Westminster back to Holyrood. Give both nations time for amicable treaty dissolution.

That is after all what we’re discussing, take away the scare tactics and propaganda. Neither Scotland or England ceased to be as nations in 1707, they both simply entered a treaty. It hasn’t worked, for either nation. When something doesn’t work it’s time to change it, or repeat the mistakes ad-infinitum.

The ending of treaties in history has happened in two ways, either by nations acting maturely and thoughtfully, unwinding the ties created with good grace and mutual benefit, to all out hostility and conflict. Confrontation is unthinkable, given any other option – sadly, however, so might be good grace on the part of Westminster.

The choice is Scotland’s in this present day, but there are many times in the history of the last three hundred years it could so easily have been England’s. Where Westminster and Whitehall showed timidity, temerity, lack of courage and initiative it is unlikely the Scots are of a mind to follow that example.

In all likelihood, what was created in 1707 will survive, that United Kingdom of ours, the monarch will remain titular head of state, but we will once again two fully autonomous countries within that single kingdom will exist, until we choose otherwise. A sensible and mature monarchy would also realign itself to the best interests of both nations, understanding that in Scotland we have a monarch by our sufferance.

Moving on from the May 5th 2011, with its astounding, resounding party of the people result, perhaps the first ever true such result anywhere in modern democracy in these islands, it is time for all the parties and power-wielding entities to take a breath, and actually think about the consequences of their future actions.

For the Unionists and their media spin machine – an immediate referendum, if you lose, what then? What of the turmoil to jobs, to families, to economies on both sides of the Tweed? Or are tanks in the streets in 2012 a real possibility in some minds? Is ignoring the settled will of the people all it’s believed it would take? In the final analysis, probably not, yet some Unionists were urging this last night.

Scotland has made a choice, the decisions are now for Whitehall and its supporters to make. Alex Salmond being an economist as well as a master statesman, can see the possibilities of both paths, and their pitfalls. By delaying a referendum, probably until June 2014 or later, The Scots and their government are prepared to work to ensure this is mutually beneficial.

With an effective majority in Holyrood it will be no other way. Can the Union and Westminster accept the hand of Scottish friendship and walk a future path as good relations, or do they prefer to use the fist in the iron gauntlet? Scotland made her choice yesterday. Now it’s up to Westminster.