Only a Yes vote can end this democratic deficit as Yes Scotland takes off kid gloves

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  By Martin Kelly
 
So the prize awaiting Scots should they vote No in 2014 is years of austerity, or cuts in layman’s terms.
 
UK Chancellor George Osborne laid out the real scare story of the independence debate when the effect of the UK’s massive debt and economic stagnation were laid bare.

  By Martin Kelly
 
So the prize awaiting Scots should they vote No in 2014 is years of austerity, or cuts in layman’s terms.
 
UK Chancellor George Osborne laid out the real scare story of the independence debate when the effect of the UK’s massive debt and economic stagnation were laid bare.

There is no hero waiting in the wings to prevent this public sector aus-terror-ity, with Labour providing a two-Edded monster of its own in the shape of Miliband and Balls who have both pledged to follow the same public sector cutbacks as the Conservatives.

Scotland doesn’t want the kind of society this will undoubtedly create but sooner or later the right wing shift in England’s political landscape will reach Scotland and the economic realities of a debt riddled UK will force the kind of change onto Scots that we don’t want.

As things stand, Scotland is governed by a coalition we did not vote for.  Policies are being pursued that we do not identify with.

Our own government based here in Edinburgh has, given the limitations placed on it by devolution, performed a minor miracle by ensuring the most vulnerable in society are provided with as much protection as is possible.

The SNP’s strategy on the economy has left the rest of the UK trailing as the gap between job figures north of the border and south stretches and the Swinney/Salmond double act proves attractive to companies with inward investment its highest for years.

The headlines in the BBC claimed Osborne had pledged more money for Scottish infrastructure, but the sleight of hand was exposed when it emerged the ‘extra’ cash was in fact Westminster’s version of a payday-loan that had to be paid back to the Treasury with interest.

Polling suggests that Labour’s lead over the Tories is fragile and not as great as one would require from a party about to regain power.  Thus, in 2015 Scots could very well vote in large numbers for Labour but find themselves once again with a different party in government.

That Labour would pursue the same policies anyway is moot – and only crystallises the extent to which Scotland will suffer under the current constitution with many believing they are voting for a party that will uphold its socialist principles but that will instead implement the same right wing cutbacks.

There is a way out for Scots and that is to vote Yes in 2014.

A Yes vote in 2014 ends this democratic deficit at a stroke.  From the moment of independence, Scots can be assured of having the kind of government they vote for.

It’s a compelling argument and one that is increasingly becoming the focus of the Yes campaign.

On Friday, Blair Jenkins, Chief Executive of Yes Scotland, warned Scottish voters that the latest austerity cuts and changes to our society announced at Westminster this week, provided further clear evidence that Westminster isn’t working for the people of Scotland.

Highlighting the fact that voters in 2014 will have a choice of two paths, Mr Jenkins said: “The referendum is about who is best to make decisions about Scotland’s future – to make the most of our immense resources, and to overcome the challenges that we face.”

This weekend, Yes Scotland is launching the third key strand of its campaign to voters with events taking place across the country.  Local teams will distribute almost 500,000 leaflets which set out the cost to Scottish families of getting governments we didn’t vote for time after time at Westminster.

According to the pro-independence campaign group, research it has carried out shows key failings in the current political union.

Yes Scotland has highlighted key areas including governments Scots do not vote for, Scottish MPs regularly outvoted on key decisions, what this means in terms of Trident, the Poll Tax and controversial bedroom tax.

The campaign group has published figures highlighting the current democratic deficit which reveals:

  • Between 1970 and 2014, Scotland will have had Tory-led governments we didn’t vote for in 26 out of 44 years
  • At the 2010 election we returned only one Tory MP – but we have a Tory-led government because of the 305 Tory MP’s elected elsewhere
  • Scotland’s 59 MPs can always be outvoted in the House of Commons by the 591 MPs from elsewhere in the UK
  • 76% of Scottish MPs voted against the further austerity cuts contained in George Osborne’s 2010 Finance Bill – but they went ahead nevertheless, with thousands of jobs lost
  • 82% of Scottish MPs voted against the new higher VAT rate of 20% – but VAT went up along with the prices we pay in the shops
  • 81% of Scottish MPs voted against the welfare cuts contained in the Welfare Benefits Up-rating bill – but a million Scottish families will see their incomes fall because MPs from the other parts of the UK voted a different way
  • 91% of Scottish MPs voted against the bedroom tax – but we’ve had it imposed anyway, with around 100,000 families in Scotland directly affected
  • 79% of Scottish MPs voted against new laws designed to prepare the Royal Mail for privatisation – yet Royal Mail will be sold off in the coming year, a disaster for postal services in Scotland

It’s a sobering list and a reminder of just how impotent those sent down to represent Scotland are when faced with an overwhelming English majority.

Mr Jenkins added: “That Scotland finds itself on the receiving end of unwanted policies is not new, with the most notorious example of modern times being the Poll Tax.

“The Yes Scotland research confirms a range of policy choices that Scotland has opposed and yet Westminster has imposed.”

The upping of the ante by the pro-independence group coincides with the emergence of very real fissures at the heart of Scottish Labour with the party engaged in a bitter row with their largest donor, Unite, over the selection of a replacement for Eric Joyce.  At Holyrood Johann Lamont has wielded the axe, carving up her front bench team and in the process forcing Ken Macintosh to reveal disagreements with the party’s Scottish leader over the direction Labour are taking.

It will be interesting to see if the media pick up Yes Scotland’s gear change which coincides with the Scottish Parliament recess and Labour’s Scottish turmoil.

The group has faced criticism for adopting a low key ‘softly softly’ approach which allowed its Better Together rival freedom to throw low blow after low blow, creating the image of a dynamic campaign with real momentum behind it.

The decision to highlight the devastating effects on Scotland of the current democratic-deficit and the certainty of much worse to come regardless of how Scots vote should it persist post 2014, will be welcomed by many.