With de­vo­lu­tion we get the best of both worlds

Rutherglen Reformer - - Reformer View - Com­mons Com­ment

With just over three weeks left of what has been a very long campaign, it is clear that many peo­ple through­out Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang are tak­ing their de­ci­sion on whether to vote to leave the UK very se­ri­ously.

A fair num­ber of vot­ers knew where they stood long be­fore the ref­er­en­dum date was an­nounced – na­tion­al­ism is hardly a new fea­ture of Scot­tish pol­i­tics.

Oth­ers tell me and other cam­paign­ers on the doorstep that they have, over the last few weeks, made up their minds that they want Scot­land to re­main part of the UK.

But for some, their minds are yet to be made up.

It is not a sur­prise that folk are think­ing long and hard about this – it is likely to be the big­gest po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sion any of us will make in our life­times. Un­like an elec­tion, this de­ci­sion will have con­se­quences far be­yond the life­time of a par­lia­men­tary term, and for gen­er­a­tions to come.

What stay­ing or leav­ing means for them, their families, their jobs and their pensions are not the self­ish con­sid­er­a­tions they are some­times por­trayed as by those who are cer­tain in their own views. Rather, they are the very real con­cerns and con­sid­er­a­tions that will in­form fi­nal de­ci­sions. That is why those vot­ers who are still to de­cide have ques­tions they want an­swers to – and so far have lit­tle in the way of co­her­ent or con­vinc­ing re­sponses from the SNP.

Bom­bas­tic rhetoric is the stock in trade for Alex Sal­mond, a style im­i­tated by other SNP cam­paign­ers.

No amount of in­dig­nant shout­ing on cur­rency, pensions, en­ergy or any­thing else can de­liver what the SNP are promis­ing. That is be­cause on all of those con­cerns, and many oth­ers, the Na­tion­al­ist case is that ev­ery­thing (or all the things that peo­ple like about the UK) will stay just the same.

Ex­cept for those things to con­tinue, then there would need to be a demon­stra­ble mu­tual ben­e­fit both to the UK we had just left as well as to us in Scot­land – a newly sep­a­rate state of Scot­land can’t de­liver some­thing which re­lies on the rest of the UK to be part of it.

The only way to guar­an­tee a cur­rency union is to vote to stay part of the UK. The only way to be sure that there will con­tinue to be a sin­gle en­ergy mar­ket – with the sub­si­dies paid for green en­ergy in Scot­land be­ing spread across all UK house­holds – is to con­tinue to be in the UK.

And the only way to guar­an­tee that the pool­ing and sharing on pensions, is to vote to pool and share with the rest of the UK.

That is why the real choice isn’t about Scot­land v Lon­don, as the Na­tion­al­ist campaign present it.

It is a choice about two vi­sions for Scot­land. We can chose to go it alone, or be part of a big­ger and bet­ter idea. Pool­ing and sharing risk and re­sources to get the best pos­si­ble ben­e­fit for all of the cit­i­zens of the UK, with de­volved pow­ers not just in Scot­land but else­where in the UK to take the de­ci­sions we chose.

Dif­fer­ent par­ties may chal­lenge poli­cies, and change pri­or­i­ties if they are elected – but with de­vo­lu­tion within the UK we get the best of both worlds. Sus­tain­ing what we know works well across the UK, not risk­ing it all on the back of untested rhetoric.

Amongst the cam­paign­ing, the last few days has seen a wel­come re­lief with a flurry of clips of peo­ple be­ing cov­ered in ice cold wa­ter. I thought I had got away with­out be­ing nom­i­nated for the ice bucket chal­lenge com­pleted by James McAvoy, Alis­tair Dar­ling, Ni­cola Stur­geon and thou­sands of oth­ers – un­til Ruther­glen coun­cil­lor Ger­ard Killen nom­i­nated me on Mon­day night.

So yes­ter­day morn­ing I had the un­wel­come cold shower – nom­i­nat­ing Ful­ham man­ager Felix Ma­gath, who will have plenty of fans vol­un­teer­ing to help him meet the chal­lenge af­ter the ap­palling start to the sea­son – for the good cause of help­ing raise aware­ness and fund sup­port for Mo­tor Neu­rone Dis­ease.

You can do­nate by tex­ting ICE145 to 70070, or bet­ter still – take part your­self.

Wet, wet, wet Tom Greatrex MP is soaked dur­ing the ice bucket chal­lenge

Chilled out Tom Greatrex MP nom­i­nated Ful­ham FC boss Felix Ma­gath af­ter his ice bucket chal­lenge

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