Monday, 7 September 2009

Referendum would be reckless

Psephologists will tell you that it all depends on the question. Phrasing can deliver widely varying responses to pollsters.

Who would reject a land of milk and honey? But if that land of milk and honey were to come at a high price the respondent may choose an alternative.

That's why I wasn't surprised that, in response to a question from Brian Taylor on Reporting Scotland, most voters said they would like to have their say on Scotland's future. However, this was rather amateur journalism (unusual for Brian) as he should have tested opinion by giving respondents a range of options to prioritise like tackling the recession, improving the nation's health, raising standards in education or even tackling scourge of drugs in addition to the question on a referendum on independence.

Politics is all about priorities and choices and to isolate Scotland's independence issue from all others is not living in the real world. That's why Tavish Scott was right this week.

To indulge in a month or, more likely, six month referendum campaign on Scotland's constitutional future in the middle of this country's worst recession in decades would be, at best, a distraction, or, at worst, reckless. Scotland's Government and Parliament would be paralysed and unable to devote sufficient time and resources to creating jobs and business.

I personally would always rate an independence referendum reckless or a distraction as there will always be something more important and, what's more, a majority of the voters backed parties who agree but the argument is even stronger in the current economic climate.

Until pro independence single issue parties, like the SNP, can convince a majority of voters to back them that won't change. If we were to concede that crucial democratic point the door would be open to referendums on a full range of subjects supported by minorities and we would would face demands for frequent repetitions of the independence referendum.

I simply don't understand why the minority SNP think they have the right to impose their priorities on the majority. They claim to be democrats after all.

1 comment:

  1. Your logic is entirely convoluted. You presume to know the result of the referendum without holding it.

    And think on Willie Rennie, would not the idea of a referendum on PR for Westminster always fail on the very grounds that you use for objecting to an independence referendum?

    Anyway you Lib Dems might as well continue on the path to an illiberal and undemocratic end and watch the SNP make mincemeat of you in 2011 for opposing the democratic wishes of the Scottish people for a referendum.