The news, as reported in the British media, that Prime Minister David Cameron plans to push for a simple one-question referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future shows a stunning lack of respect for Scottish democracy.
In Cameron’s referendum the people of Scotland would be deprived of the ability to choose an option acceptable to the majority of people, namely that Scotland should have radically extended devolved powers but should remain part of the United Kingdom.
The problem with the Westminster solution is that Scotland’s choice is not about righting an historical wrong and choosing statehood or UK membership, it is about having the right tools to significantly improve Scotland in a way which the current centralised organisation of the United Kingdom does not allow. That the people of Scotland should have the power to make a nuanced decision on how they are governed and by whom is the very essence of a healthy democracy. It is highly regrettable then that the current British government is unable to understand this, and it is just this mindset which creates an appetite for self determination. By holding a referendum on the status quo no problems will be solved and an awful lot of public money will be wasted on a piece of political spin.
The wording of any referendum should go to a committee of the Scottish Parliament and not be decided by the SNP, who lest we forget gained a narrow majority of seats with a narrow minority of votes, with all parties contributing. This referendum will be an opportunity for Scotland to look at itself and ask where it is going and what kind of country we want to be. It would be foolish to let Westminster’s failed and unrepresentative politics force many supporters of self determination into one corner or another.