In his third critique of the Referendum Campaign, Gordon Wilson, Director of Options for Scotland and former SNP Leader and campaign strategist concentrates on what the Yes campaign should do to win the referendum on independence. There is no point in analysing the respective campaigns at this stage. That will come after September 19, when in any event attention will be focused on the aftermath, whatever the outcome.
So let’s start from an agreed position. 100 days out, the No campaign leads with the Yes campaign within reach with doubtfuls converting to Yes on a 2 to 1 ratio. A no score draw would suit the No campaign. Yes needs to regain the initiative.
What can Yes do?
- It should try to re-enforce the emotional issue of Scottish national identity. Yes has not realised that the alternative default position to Scottish identity is British identity. It is late but there is still time. A vision of the Scottish independent future is desperately needed. It should also attack the corruption of the British establishment with its 850 strong non-elected parasitic House of Lords, continuing Westminster expenses scandals and refusal to publish a complete uncensored report on the illegal Iraq war
- Yes should give up trading empty statistics with the Treasury as both sides have lost the attention of the public. It should be sharper and more brutal in its attacks.
Concentrate on What Will happen if Scotland Votes No
The North/South Divide
Most people are hostile to the greed and growing economic and political power of London and the south of England. It should be hammered home that voting No will leave Scotland completely at the mercy of the North/South divide.
Emigration: Staunch the Outward Flow
If that economic gap is not closed, Scotland will continue haemorrhaging its most qualified young people. British economic policy will still concentrate on its southern powerhouse base. No amount of increased devolution will give Scotland the opportunity to staunch the outward flow. Only independence will do so.
The Scottish people should be reminded bluntly that Westminster economic policy led to the loss of 2,000,000 Scots during the 20th century. For a country of 5,000,000 that was a tremendously damaging loss. Our young people must face the ongoing reality – if you vote No, be prepared to emigrate. And for the remaining tax payers in Scotland, don’t expect a transfer fee payable by the London Government to cover their education costs!
The Public Expenditure Cuts Road Roller
Most Scots are oblivious to the huge UK public expenditure cuts of £25billion menacing Scotland’s devolved parliament after the UK General Election in 2015. Scotland’s share will around £2,1billion. On top of that, there is the abolition of the Barnett formula when Scotland’s expenditure will be constrained into a tight English mould – case of double jeopardy.
At risk from these British cuts will be the Scottish NHS as it has to adopt the English cost-cutting privatisation programme, free care for the elderly, freedom from student fees, prescriptions and travel passes. There will be a massive jump in Council Tax to prop up reduced local government funding. Other budgets will crumple under stress.
If Scotland votes No, the English public will demand equality on the basis that we are all British and equal. And Scotland will have no political defence.
Now that Labour is throwing its weight into the campaign, Yes must drive home that it’s not just the nasty Tories who are forcing through these savage cuts. Labour in London agree with the Tories and will carry them out in the increasingly unlikely prospect of forming the UK Government.
The Tories are now in prime position to beat Labour in the General Election, with or without the help of UKIP MPs. If Labour voters vote No, they will have another southern English dominated Tory government. It’s crude but for Labour voters swithering on voting No, it will be effective!
Additional Devolved Powers
There is a simple scornful response. Even if the promises are kept, Scotland with 5 million people would have fraction of the powers of the Isle of Man with around 75,000 people.
Author; Gordon Wilson is Director of Options for Scotland which has published articles and Papers on Aviation, Banking, Currency, Defence, Electricity Generation, Emigration and Immigration Policies, Europe, Location of New Ministries and a National Plan for Scotland’s Oil & Gas Industries. These are to be found on the website: OptionsForScotland.com. He is currently completing a history of the SNP from 1990 to the referendum, due to be published in October/November 2014.
10 June 2014