Thanks! Sharp words to No voters.

 britain isnt eating

Tam Tolland

Did you vote NO at the referendum? If you did thanks for that, you bastards.

As a pensioner, we are next on the Tory hit list. No more winter fuel allowance. No more free bus passes. No more xmas bonus, and various other cuts. So because you voted NO you let loose the “Dogs of War”on your own people. Happy now are you? The unemployed, the disabled, working mothers, people on Tax Credits, low income families,  children. the old,and the sick, all being attacked the Millionaire Morons at Westminster. Because you voted NO. Some people may argue that when you voted against an Independent Scotland, you were not aware of the carnage you would cause, so it is unfair to blame you.

Being subject to these cuts, I am not one of those people. In my mind you are to blame. You caused this, you voted NO because you believed the lies, because you were afraid, because you didn’t give a fuck about anyone but yourselves. So as I said, thanks for that you bastards.

Because you voted NO, you are not immune to these cuts, they will effect you, they will effect your family, they affect your freinds. And when they do, me, and thousands like me, will say “Fuck You” for allowing this to happen.

Maybe next time you will think. I will help send them homeward to think again. I will vote YES.

Roundtable – “What did the ‪#‎indyref mean to you?”


This week, near the anniversary of the independence referendum our contributors were asked what the indyref meant to them. As ever, we’d love to hear your reminiscence of the referendum and what it meant to you.

Louise Wilson – I’ve worried about my answer to this question for a while. The truth is the indyref doesn’t sit quite as close to my heart as many of my colleagues and friends. In the end, I voted yes. But I did so on the belief that decisions are best made at the most local level possible (with of course some national oversight to ensure there aren’t massive inequalities), and getting powers to the Scottish Parliament is part of that step.

I didn’t vote yes because I automatically felt Scotland would swing left, nor because I felt our nation would be economically better off. Of course, I hoped this might be the case in the long run – but I was well aware of the risks. So when the No vote echoed across the country on 19th September, I wasn’t totally heartbroken.

Instead, I hoped that the UK could go forward together with the progressive momentum which had been found in Scotland. Looking towards the general election results, maybe that hope was misplaced. Looking towards Labour leadership results, perhaps it wasn’t.

But mostly what I took away from the indyref was the huge levels of engagement. People young and old were taking about something that before had been considered distant, irrelevant. I overheard people on the street, on the train, in the supermarket actually talking about legislation, the constitution, and political parties. This was incredible. And even more amazing, is the effect this had on turnout in Scotland compared to rUK in May.

I hope this can continue. Even if you disagree with the government of the time, it’s important to register that. It’s important to use your voice, vote or campaign to tell those at the top what your want. The indyref wasn’t about becoming passive, letting things roll by and just keeping the status quo. The indyref was about action, fighting for what you believe (whether left, right, unionist, pro-indy or anything else). That is what the indyref meant to me.

Siobhan Tolland – This is a deceptively difficult question. If I was to answer it in one sentence though, it would be it has shifted my perception of power. To my shame I used to see the Scottish Parliament as a bit of a Disney Parliament. Interesting an all but really Westminster was the ACTUAL parliament. In a post-referendum Scotland I realise now that the basis of our power absolutely and completely has to lie in Scotland and Westminster is but a tool to achieve that.

The two great moments of the referendum for me showed me very clearly, once and for all, that Scotland’s path was inevitably set for independence no matter what. As a historian I often see moments as they fit into a long sustained period of time and consider their importance within that context.

The first moment was The Empire strikes back greeting of the labour MPs, as they trooped up from England to persuade us to vote No. Welcome our Imperial Masters! They were humiliated by a guy on a bike with a megaphone and the Star wars theme tune blasting out. It was the funniest, most brilliant and most politically potent moment of the referendum. If you haven’t seen it, you really really should:

It showed the revolution that was happening. For decades Labour was in unquestionable control. Westminster was in unquestionable control. All the debate, the discussion and arguments didn’t even touch this moment. The MPs were left looking absolutely ridiculous as any vestiges of power they had were stripped away under the booming, ‘Bow to your imperial masters’. Robin McAlpine said that this moment was the beginning of the final stages of Empire and that encapsulates it so well. When the powers at be are ridiculed so completely they have no power left.
The other moment was the weekend before the referendum. I am still sad I missed being part of this. I started getting social media reports and videos of thousands of people just gathering in the streets, singing, dancing and partying. The sense of celebration and hope swept across the country. It was happening in Perth, Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness. All over, thousands just parting across the country on the eve of our most important moment in modern history. I knew there and then Independence would happen.

No to be fair, I did kinda think that might have been last September 18th. But what these moments have done for me was continue my certainty. I had assumed I would have moved into a deep dark depression post-Independence. The fate that we now have even a year on, with a government killing off our citizens without remorse and refusing assistance to vulnerable people generally shows a society more and more bereft of compassion. I find myself using ‘fascist’ more and more often whereas a year ago I would have been reluctant to use that word.

There was a lot to be depressed about. Yet, from the moment I realised we had lost, I just kept thinking and saying, it doesn’t matter. The empire is crumbling. Independence is just a matter of time. Nothing I have seen changes that for me. The massive move into the pro-Independence parties, the dessimation of Scottish Labour and the slow move of public opinion consistently towards Independence all mark the historic inevitability. I genuinely believe that.

The UK government did not win the referendum. They got a stay of execution for their Empire.

For me now, changing society has become my main stay of life. I can’t undo my political awakening and I can’t stand back and watch such ingrained cruelty of our Fascist state. Self-determination is part of this struggle now. Social justice and notions of fairness and compassion are so deeply ingrained together now. I want to help make the final crack that broke the empire.

Anna Crow – Political awakening. Education. Empowerment. Honest discussion and debate. Learning to see through the mainstream media and political spin. Arguments on Facebook. Seeing vast levels of hypocrisy and people putting their own interests before the common good. A new kind of solidarity. Badge-wearing. Green Yes.

Liam Muir – I have learned more over the course of the referendum campaign and in the year since about politics, history and global affairs than I did in all my years beforehand. Seeing the enthusiasm many in Scotland shared for the prospect of self-governance forced me to get to grips with many of the main arguments in favour of and against independence. It was this engagement that formed the foundation of the person I am today and that has given me a new found clarity.

One day when I was helping out at one of the Yes stalls in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket, I had a fascinating exchange with a flamboyant American tourist who went by the name of Marie. She walked up to our stall, camera around her neck and a bemused expression of her face, seeming genuinely perplexed at the idea Great Britain would break up.

‘What would become of the Union Jack?’ She asked.

‘After everything ya’ll been through, you wanna throw it all away? Ah don’t get it!’

To her credit, once her ambivalent attitude had been fully showcased, she did ask me why I thought Yes was the right choice.

I always feel so many emotions whenever faced with this question. I was amazed how superficial her thought process was but also excited she showed enough interest to listen to us. When asking her to contemplate the USA’s history with the British Empire and how she thought the Scottish independence movement had cause to even exist in the first place, she flipped up her Steampunk lenses and listened.

Firstly, I explained to her how strong the political argument is. Scotland’s voting influence being marginal, Westminster implementing cuts to vital services when an already alarming number of people are working to maintain their own poverty and so on.

Just as I was about to approach the taxing issue of Scotland’s financial stability, she interrupted.

‘Ya know I never thought of that! Sounds good guys, can I take a badge?’

She took two badges, one for herself and one for her husband. Now whether she had been wholeheartedly convinced that self determination was definitely the route Scotland should pursue, or was late for the Tattoo and took the badge in an attempt to create the illusion my words had resonated with her, I will never know.

This chance meeting brought me to a an understanding that no matter how important we all consider this debate to be, others give it no such credence.

When the campaign began, I distinctly remember being continually surprised at how much of an impact the pro independence movement was having on this country. For the first time in my lifetime, politics had become mainstream. The environment I was living in during the months leading up to the vote was often one I thrived in. My involvement in local activism saw me expand my knowledge and understanding of how this society functions and more importantly, how much influence our politicians actually have on our lives.

Was the referendum a failure? It really depends on who you ask. To those unwilling to give the vote a second thought, it was probably no more important than it was to Marie, wearing her Yes badge for a lark whilst playing tourist on vacation to Northern Britain. For the people that threw themselves in to the debate, viewing independence as the first step towards UK wide reform, the goal was not achieved. This does not constitute failure in my eyes.

Scotland may not have millions of people marching through the streets demanding their Government grant them their independence as we see Catalans doing in Barcelona. It may be entirely possible that far from being an inevitability, Scotland could have missed the boat and been left behind by other countries that have managed to escape British imperial rule. Whatever the polls say in the years ahead, a country politicised is a country alert and the democratic will of Scotland may never have been stronger.

Chris Napier – For me, the indyref was about a personal political awakening. I’d always been interested in politics but spent most of my 20s (I didn’t vote at all until I was 28) pretty apathetic to the process as New Labour seemed so dominant as to make the act of voting redundant. I’d always been a supporter of independence – as a teenager for wholly vacuous Braveheart reasons and later as a student I discovered the sound economic and sociological case for it.

In any case, the indyref caused me to take a look at all my preconceptions and (by that point, slightly dated) knowledge and reassess them before engaging friends, family and strangers to see what they thought – which proved to be an enlightening experience

By the time it was all over, I knew I couldn’t just sit back and allow the machines of the state to continue twisting information and stifling freedom and democracy – so I became an activist, turned my writing over to politics rather than pop culture and I am not going back in my box. After all, ‘the price of apathy to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.’

More than that – the breadth of the debate and the awakening of popular political engagement in Scotland made my own awakening more meaningful as a part of a greater paradigm shift, rather than the isolated rantings of one individual. As such, I’ve met people over the last year, through being politically active and writing about politics – who have inspired, encouraged and educated me and I’d like to think that this is a process which is ongoing across the country.

The independence referendum was cruel lesson in defeat (all to familiar to a long time follower of Scotland’s sporting endeavours) but also an invigorating and inspiring example of what can happen when people really start trying to change things, start talking and co-operating, even against impossible odds.

As such, it’s not even just about independence but about involvement, analysis and progression.   It’s a few million personal awakenings like the rolling pebbles which start a landslide… a landslide which has not been stopped and hopefully never will be.


One Year On


Chris Napier

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. . . .”

So begins A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens’ homage to duality, social justice and resurrection set against the backdrop of the French Revolution and it neatly encapsulates my memory of the period immediately around the independence referendum one year ago.

As I said to one of my best friends just before the referendum, it felt like something special, possibly the first thing to happen in our adult lifetimes that matched the significance of the Moon landings or the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Before the day of the vote itself, it was a time of incredible hope, infused with a sense that genuine progressive change was possible and fuelled by the most widespread political awakening I’ve ever experienced. I spoke about the referendum, wider politics, what it meant to be Scottish or British to strangers and almost as importantly, to friends and family who I’d never have broached such subjects with in the past.

I remember being at the Yes rally in George Square the day before the referendum and feeling that this was the most excited I’d ever been about politics and the atmosphere was how I’d imagine it would be if Scotland won the world cup (or let’s be honest, just managed to qualify for a football finals…)

Of course, it wasn’t all good. There was conflict and I got into some blazing rows with workmates and friends (I have to admit that I didn’t always cover myself in glory in some of these debates) and there was also the fear that a chance at genuine, honest discussion was being stolen by the establishment and the media.

Then the time came to vote and I will always remember walking up to the polling station with my wife and my newborn son, accompanied by my mother in law (who lives in England but wanted to be in Scotland to experience the vote) and her English husband who insisted on winding me up by accepting and wearing a ‘No Thanks’ sticker.

Then some friends and I settled in with a few beers to watch the late night results show and it quickly became apparent as the results came in for each local authority, that it wasn’t going to go our way. Nonetheless, we saw it through to the end, feebly holding on to the usual Scottish sports fan hope that ‘it’s still mathematically possible if Edinburgh goes 80-20 for Yes’ and then we shuffled off to our beds (or got the first train home) as our hangovers and heartsick disappointment got the better of us.

That said, I remain massively proud that the city of my birth (Dundee) and the city I’ve lived in since the age of 18 (Glasgow) were two of the few parts of the country to cast their vote for change.

When I surfaced in the afternoon of the 19th to see the news coverage of the smug and derisory unionist response, with the debate swiftly shifted to being about EVEL and later the awful scenes in George Square, I was more disheartened than I’ve ever been in a long career of having hopes come to naught (Scottish sports fan, remember.)

So I did something I never thought I would do. I joined a political party and got politically active. I also started writing intensively about politics, rather than just arguing with people on social media. I knew that I couldn’t just lapse into the semi-apathetic state I’d occupied before… and neither did the rest of Scotland.

Fast forward to a year later and where are we?

With a majority Conservative government in Westminster who are openly opposed to revisiting the question of Scottish independence and have no intention of granting greater devolution as seemingly promised before the referendum. Five years and more of austerity cuts and warmongering at Westminster seems certain while the mainstream media stokes up fear and prejudice against refugees and benefits claimants.

Nonetheless (or perhaps because of this), support for independence only seems to grow, to the point where the SNP went from avoiding the topic of a second referendum to setting out a potential timeframe for one.

The worrying thing there is the general lack of self-reflection as to the reasons why Yes didn’t get over the line last year. Too many are too willing to assume that a victory is certain in a second independence referendum and the tendency of more than a few to insist blind compliance with the SNP party line is the only way to manifest support for independence or progressive change is concerning.

For me, independence was never about nationalism – I was Scottish when I was born and I will always be Scottish, regardless of the stamp on my passport or which government I pay my taxes to – but rather about making my country a fairer place with a more representative and responsible government.

I don’t think that can be achieved as an effective one party state or without continual self reflection as to why Scotland should be independent and what sort of independent country we’d want to be.

As such, with a year to get over the heartache of the No vote, a year spent raising my boys (now there’s two of them) and being more politically active than ever before, I’m still Yes because the economic, social and democratic reasons have only become more stark.

Now I’m a bit more cynical and very much settling in for the long haul rather than hoping for transformative change in the short term.

This will be the only year that I’ll dwell on this date as something to remember because I don’t believe in enshrining failure, rather in learning lessons and moving on.

The beauty of the Yes campaign was it’s diversity and inclusiveness, with supporters of almost all political hues, classes and ethnicities lending their voice to Yes. For a few sunny days last year, we had a glimpse of how positive, hopeful and dynamic Scotland’s future could be and that’s the memory I want to take forward.

Another Scotland is possible and even if it is delayed, we can still make it a reality, but only if we maintain all the energy, self awareness, diversity and above all, positivity which made last summer so memorable.

Roundtable – “What impact can ‘RISE – Scotland’s Left Alliance’ have on Scotland’s political future?”

With the launch of RISE yesterday, we thought we’d be topical and put their potential for influencing the next election and Scotland’s political future to our contributors. Here is what they said and as usual we’d welcome your contributions, so please join the debate!

Chris Napier

I’ve got mixed feelings about RISE. On the one hand another progressive voice in a more diverse parliament would be more than welcome and I’ve been very impressed with the likes of Cat Boyd over the last few years.

On the other hand, I’m concerned that RISE might further split the vote going to the left/progressive/Yes parties contesting the regional list, potentially leading to less representation in parliament in favour of more unified votes for the Westminster parties and leaving less of a bloc to the SNP’s left. It’s telling that all of the articles promoting RISE’s launch neglected to mention that there is already an established party to the left of the SNP in the shape of the Scottish Greens and it would be a shame if RISE got in the way of their success, especially if RISE didn’t get over the line in terms of representation themselves. Of course, I’d not complain if they took votes away from Solidarity and I’ll take Cat Boyd over Tommy Sheridan in Holyrood every time.

Perhaps in future a broader progressive coalition might be a good idea… but that said, there is also a concern that far from being a true ‘Left Alliance’, RISE is in fact more of a (much needed) SSP rebrand with the media savvy and profile of the RIC/Left project types added in and are unlikely to unite the disparate elements of the left no matter how they present themselves.

On balance… I’ll have to wait and see, especially considering that RISE haven’t even decided on structure or how they’ll select their candidates yet, much less had enough time to develop policy or much aside from a promising idea and snappy name.

I’d like to see them become a genuine left wing option for Scottish voters and in time a key part of a diverse and vibrant parliament (and at other levels of government) but in the immediate future, nine months is not much time to put together a concerted campaign for a parliamentary election and it seems likely that their immediate effect can only be to damage and dilute the progressive vote.

Siobhan Tolland

I am somewhat torn on this question. RISE is a cooperation of various political groups with the sole intention of putting forward candidates for the Scottish Elections in May. The rise and solid support that the SNP has, and had received, during the UK General Elections was the appropriate course of action given recent political circumstances.

Within the Scottish election context, however, the SNP cannot and should not have a largely unopposed parliament. A parliament without an opposition is not healthy for democracy. The SNP needs a robust opposition to develop a vibrant Scottish democracy in the new independent era that will come.

My favourite scenario for the Scottish Parliament is that the SNP holds the majority but with a robust, overwhelmingly pro-independence and progressive opposition. Effectively a parliament that has a solid mandate for independence, where the two Unionist parties have a minimal role. For me, this will lay the ground for a post-independence political structure.

RISE can contribute to this in a healthy way. It can provide a strong progressive agenda articulated through a political desire for self-determination. It could hold the SNP accountable to a more left political slant and transform the political scene, making it more politically removed from the UK’s current right wing pro-austerity agenda.

In our current situation, we have a very clear parallel of our political structures. We have a Westminster structure and we have a Scottish one. These obviously interact and overlap, but what works in a Westminster political context does not necessarily work in the Scottish context.

Labour is a good case in point. A personal perspective would be that the possibility of working with the Scottish branch of the Labour Party is neither possible nor desirable in the current circumstances. However, on a Westminster level, the possibility of the SNP working with a Corbyn-led Labour party is to be supported wholeheartedly.

What creates this distinction is the notion of self-determination. In a Westminster context, we can work with other political priorities. Within a Scottish political context, however, the notion of self-determination is a political dividing line.

I think this parallel political process is something we all, especially RISE, need to be aware of. Whilst we need a healthy and diverse political structure in Scotland, what we need most of all is a coordinated and consensual approach to gaining self-determination from the UK. Treading that line is difficult. We need to keep the consensual politics of the referendum whilst negotiating difference of policies and ideas within the Scottish parliament.

My concern about RISE is the history of the Left and its insatiable drive to split, divide and in-fight. It is a history of Monty Python Judean People’s Front procedure that is so damaging to a progressive movement. We have a tendency to build up then rip down with in-fighting with ideas of ‘political purity’.

I want a vibrant political opposition in the Scottish parliament. However, I don’t want it at the expense of a broken mass movement that has developed. RISE is anti-austerity, yes, but so is the Greens. So is SNP. Is the anti-austerity agenda served by yet another party?

Whether political parties like it or not, the SNP spearheads the new popular movement. We need to work with the SNP. We need to recognise their important role. I don’t say this as an SNP member. I see my membership as a loaned membership until we get independence. I say this because they are, by far, the largest political party in this movement.

My brother said something that I am very mindful of. Colin Fox talked of the aim of RISE being to challenge the SNP. If the aims of RISE is to fight for self-determination and fight austerity, then why would its aim be to challenge the SNP? RISE absolutely cannot become a party that focuses on a critique of the SNP. And it needs to not become distracted by vying for leadership of the new mass movement.

RISE has to become a party that produces dialogue and disagreement with the SNP and other progressive forces, of course it does. But it also needs to create a consistent common ground in the struggle against austerity, neo liberalism and against the UK state intent on retaining the status quo. We need to forgo the ego in our politics and compromise. At this point in time, this has never been so important.

We need to be mindful that we are dealing with a UK political system that is so right wing it makes Thatcher look like a pussy cat. We are bordering on fascistic persecution of the poor and vulnerable. A government so heartless that it doesn’t care how many die as a result of benefit sanctions and whose solution to the crisis at Calais is to send more dogs. That is the sheer level of inhumanity we are dealing with. And this government will not give up on preserving the UK at any cost.

RISE need to be mindful of what we are actually fighting then and not transform the SNP into the political enemy. When the next referendum comes (and it will), we need to put aside our political differences and face the struggle with focus, determination and commitment. And we need to do this together: not as a divided force who has spent 5-10 years creating enemies of each other. Our worst case scenario would be a derelict and broken movement fighting the next referendum.

I wish RISE success, but I only wish them success if they become clear and consistent about our commonalities as a movement. I hope they don’t become the People’s movement for an Independent Scotland when everyone else is the Independent Scotland people’s movement. Because it will jeopardise a successful struggle for an independent Scotland, and the grip of the right wing Union will remain forever strong.

Alan Stares

First impressions are that it seems like a good idea that’s run by fannies! I could be wrong it may be the best thing ever but for now it’s a case of sit back and watch.

Louise Wilson

The left have long had to combat the very real problem of several different factions competing for the same achievable seats. The addition of RISE to the ballot paper may only further split this fractured vote. However, I’m not sure how much of an impact RISE will actually have by next May – with only a few months to go and so much uncertainty around what policy they will actually support (other than vague leftism), it would seem that the party will be relying on its core SSP/RIC vote base. This is probably not enough to gain any real traction.

One can hope that they could have an impact by adding to the number of voices to the left of the SNP. Whilst the SNP has gotten behind left politics, I am still not totally convinced that there ideology is necessarily leftist. I believe they are a populist party, and while left-wing politics in Scotland remains popular there is not problem. The danger is when right-wing policies in Scotland come back in fashion. Therefore, having more options to the left of the SNP could hold the debate to the left.

That said, I return to the original question of whether the party will have much of an impact. The party would have to appeal to more left votes – many of which already go to the SNP or Greens. Therefore, the left vote simply gets transferred between a few parties rather than dragging them from elsewhere. It is highly unlikely to party will attract enough ex-Labour or ex-Conservative supporters to make a difference. There is of course the chance to gather votes from non-voters, given the high levels of engagement in Scotland right now. However, there is a question as to how many voters will back RISE, or whether they are more likely to back more established parties.

In sum, I remain unconvinced that RISE will have any real impact because it’s appeal is to a base that already votes left.


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Roundtable – “What is an appropriate timeframe for the next Scottish Independence referendum and why?”


Every week we’ll be asking our pool of contributors a topical question and presenting their responses, with the aim of fostering debate around an issue.  For this first week our question is…

“What is an appropriate timeframe for the next Scottish Independence referendum and why?”

Of course, we’d be delighted to hear your thoughts on the issue, so please feel free to join the debate or even join our team of contributors!

Anna Crow

In a time of unprecedented political change very much ongoing in Scotland and beyond, I find this an impossible question to give a specific answer to. I voted Yes not for independence as its own cause but as an opportunity for the kind of radical changes I feel we are very unlikely to see while tied to the Westminster establishment. I still largely feel this way, especially with events of recent months including the general election result.

However to rush into another referendum too quickly without comprehensive planning or a clear majority – eg upwards of 70% supporting a Yes vote – would be a mistake. There is benefit to seeing how things will play out regarding issues such as the EU referendum and also changes within the Labour leadership while carefully considering when a next referendum should take place if circumstances are still much the same in terms of the detrimental effect in many ways, as I see it currently, of remaining part of the UK rather than being independent.

I certainly would be less opposed to being part of a UK with someone such as Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister. As with so many things, I feel it is important to remain equally open-minded and critical. Scottish independence should not be regarded as a single issue, and neither should it be focused on in an unhelpful way at the expense of considering much more immediate and pressing concerns.

Chris Napier

My answer to this has to come from two viewpoints.

From an objective point of view, a second referendum cannot be rushed, after all the first referendum took place almost three and a half years after the SNP’s majority in the 2011 election so a similar timeframe (assuming an SNP majority in next year’s election) points to a referendum in autumn 2018. This is the minimum amount of time which should be allocated to organise, legislate and campaign for a plebiscite of such magnitude.

However, such a swift revisitation of the question is problematic for a few reasons. Firstly, the Conservative government in Westminster is not amenable to another independence referendum and would block it at every opportunity, so waiting for a change in government – or at least Conservative leadership (likely in 2018 or so) may be necessary.

Secondly, the EU referendum is pencilled in for autumn 2017 and it’s implications should be made clear before Scotland is asked to decide on it’s own constitutional future again. Thereby it would be preferable to wait rather than potentially have a predictable material change in circumstances midway through the campaign.

Lastly, four years is a very quick turnaround to revisit a constitutional question of such magnitude and more time for analysis, reflection and for attitudes to change in either direction is only seemly. Of course, the ‘once in a generation’ rhetoric is unreasonable, because if there is popular demand for a vote, no administration should stop there being a vote in the name of some arbitrary 25 year moratorium on the issue.

From the point of view of a Yes voter, who took that position in the informed belief that Scotland could thrive economically and socially as an independent country and that the progressive change needed could only happen shorn of the Westminster establishment, I don’t wish to rush a second referendum when the possibility of another loss exists.

Quebec took fifteen years between their independence referenda and the second result was still a No vote. Since that second (incredibly narrow) loss, the issue has not been revisited in twenty years…

I’m also of the belief that if progressive change becomes possible within the UK, then many of the most compelling reasons for undergoing the turmoil of secession from the union fade away.

Both points of view indicate that a second independence referendum should not take place within this parliament and that it would be best for both sides to fully analyse the reasons for the first result before even considering a second ballot.

There is also a lot going on at the moment, between the EU referendum and Jeremy Corbyn’s potential to revitalise the Labour party as a progressive force and it’s worth letting these issues play out before rushing back to the polls.

As such, I’d say that a referendum in the next parliamentary cycle is perfectly reasonable, perhaps initiated by the result of the EU referendum or an SNP majority in the next Holyrood elections, making anything between 2021-2024 a plausible date for the vote.

Louise Wilson

I agree that suggesting any specific length of time on this would be arbitrary. Should another referendum on independence go ahead, it ought to be as a response to the calls of the electorate – whether that is in two years or ten years or longer doesn’t matter, that’s just how a true democracy functions.

That being said, I think there does need to be a reasonable length of time to pass before the question is posed again. At the end of the day, any referendum will somewhat detract from other issues of importance, and that must be taken into consideration. Further, and as many politicians themselves have pointed out, there needs to be some change in circumstance to mean a referendum would be required, or simply risk repeating the same outcome we saw in September without actually addressing any new issues or for there to be a reasonable suggestion that voters have changed their minds.

Having a Conservative majority at Westminster does not qualify – we were all well aware that this could happen in September, and votes were cast with this knowledge. Any referendum that would fundamentally change a composition of Scotland and the wider UK should not be called on the basis that people don’t like the government of the day – after all, this is subject to change at least every five years (under current legislation).

I also believe that a ‘landslide’ win for the SNP next year would not necessarily provide the ‘mandate’ the party has been talking about. Many who vote for the SNP may not be supporters of independence, but rather their other policies. Poll after poll has actually indicated that many No voters trust the SNP to deliver on other issues – notably devolution.

On the EU referendum, this could qualify as a shift in circumstances – with a caveat. The difference between the Scottish and rUK vote would have to be more than just marginal. It could happen that the rUK vote 51% out whilst Scotland votes 51% in – though this marks the difference between In/Out, is also means thinking is similar enough than nearly as many people rUK would feel exactly the same about a result as Scotland. However, I genuinely don’t believe the UK will opt out of the EU, so have doubts that this would be an issue anyway.

Essentially, it’s a very difficult question to answer. Of course a referendum should be held if people are calling for one – but exactly how to measure those calls and what is deemed as a shift in circumstance are very complex issues.

Pat Wylie

I am wary of a kneejerk response to the ‘no’ vote and its immediate aftermath. When I narrowly fail a test or an exam, my first reaction is usually to wish to try again straight away; but the correct reaction is to learn from why I failed – while not forgetting what I did right, how hard I worked and how close I came. I think we have a lot of reflecting and learning still to do.

We are still in the aftermath of the 2014 referendum. The aftermath will last for many years to come, as the short term destinies of Scotland, the UK, the Eurozone and the EU develop over the next ten years or so. Much of the referendum campaign, rightly or wrongly, hinged on popular predictions around what was going to happen in the global economy. Factors such as North Sea oil, the destiny of the global economy, and the ability of ‘the left’ to stage a revival among floating voters in the South of England, all need to be given time to play out. It will be time to consider Scotland’s constitutional future when these grand macroeconomic and political positions have fermented.

I also feel uncomfortable even considering a second referendum while relations between our two biggest parties, Labour and the SNP, remain tribal and, at times, hostile. I do not blame London Labour alone for this; Miliband’s stance at the recent General Election was ill-considered but the SNP government has behaved provocatively towards Labour activists and Labour-run councils in Scotland over recent years, and this will have stoked the tension between the parties.

On the left, we also have to use our parliament and our local government to back up our discourse of a more equal society with well-resourced public services. Regardless of the pathetic dilution of ‘the Vow’, we have some (not enough, but some) powers over taxation and planning. We need to use these to defend our long tradition of universal public services, while finding creative and fair ways to discourage the creeping trend for better-off Scots to use private health and education services, to show that Scotland really is different, a place that knows, deep down, that we are all equal.

Then, and only then, will we be ready to sit the exam again.

Liam Muir

As much as it pains me to say it. I do not think a Scottish Independence referendum is a sensible decision in the current political climate. It hasn’t even been a year since the last one and given the significance of the recent developments in Greece, there are quite simply more pressing issues on the horizon!

Pressing issues such as the EU referendum. It is all relative. If (and thats a big ‘If’ given the Left’s recent loss of patience with the EU) Scotland is dragged out of the EU against its wishes, then of course there would be legitimate cause for protest. Nicola Sturgeon has often spoke of a material change in circumstance and this eventuality may well be it but we will just have to be patient. I believe some in the Yes camp are making a mistake by pushing for another vote as soon as possible!

We all know how little effort the House of Commons have made to keep their promises on devolution but this is going to take a while to sink in with the general public. The bottom line is, we need to convince more people of the practical benefits independence has. Now I fully accept there was significant influence from the state media and business last time around but asking people to contemplate our nation’s sovereignty again so soon is only going to alienate the people we need to sway!

I do not have an exact year and date I think another referendum should be called, but before we start thinking about when, we need think about how. There are arguments we must win that we didn’t last time. The currency was for most people the biggest obstacle. So if we return to this debate with the same arguments as before, we can expect the same result.  Once the EU referendum, the Holyrood election and the 2020 UK General elections are out of the way, Scotland will have a much better insight in to public opinion and what lies ahead. Timing is incredibly important regarding ‘Indyref 2’ because if we lose again, it really will be ‘settled for a generation’.

That’s what our contributors think, but what do YOU think?  Next week’s question will be “Would Jeremy Corbyn winning the Labour leadership be good for Scotland?” and we’d love to hear your take on both this week and next weeks topics.


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