So the Scottish referendum is over, and Scotland remains part of the UK. It might have been interesting to watch it become an independent country, but it wasn’t to be.
I haven’t commented on it earlier since it seemed crass when non-Scots commented on the subject, even though the rest of the country would’ve been affected. Now that its done, and the repercussions appear to affect all parts of the country, it’s fair game.
I don’t know how much detail was available to the Scottish, but from what I gathered on the news there didn’t appear to be much of an actual plan outlined for what’d happen if they gained independence. Most of the news seemed to be getting opinions from Scots on the street, to the point where it became repetitive.
From those opinions it looks like there wasn’t much more information available to them, or it wasn’t being communicated. The Yes campaign seemed based around telling London where to go, while the No campaign focussed on everything that could go wrong. There was little in the way of detail, which it was on the Yes campaign to provide, to show they could govern a country.
Here in Wales we’ll never have a referendum like this. We don’t have the natural resources Scotland does to make it a viable option (most of ours having been seized when we were driven out of the lands now known as England). I don’t even know what Wales’ largest export is. Dr. Who?
In the wake of the results, partly due to the last minute bribes the party leaders offered Scotland to stay, there’s talk of further devolution for more than just Scotland. The details are understandably sketchy, since it’ll still need discussion and agreement, but I have to admit I really don’t see the point. Devolving decisions on tax and spending on suchlike allows London to shift the blame for unpopular taxes they may have necessitated onto the regional bodies, so I can see what they’d get out of it, but does it really give much useful control to regions?
It doesn’t appear popular with international markets. The pound had dropped due to concerns over the referendum, began rising as soon as it was over, and faltered again as soon as regional taxation control was mentioned. Will instituting it cause further weakness to the pound?
And wouldn’t it all just mean more bureaucracy, and more needing to be spent to oversee the regions? When the economy is still in recovery it seems like a wasteful expenditure. By all means, do it in Scotland as promised, but wait to see how that works out before spreading it to the rest of the country.
If it seems like I’m against devolution, it’s probably because broadly speaking I am. Not that I don’t think the public should have more of a say in things, but that devolution is being implemented within the framework of a representative democracy. Which just gives us more politicians, but not enough that any of them have a hope of knowing all the people they represent.
This is my main problem with representative democracies: once they reach a certain size it’s impossible for a representative to be sure they really know how the majority of his constituents would want them to vote (assuming they actually care).
The whole thing is reduced to a popularity contest, and we’re unlikely to get a politician with any actual skills useful for running a country.
A larger state is good in many ways – and I’m pro-EU to a certain degree – in that pooling resources allows for larger projects which in the long term allow the collective to do more, and cheaper, than could be achieved by smaller entities. At certain sizes they also develop bureaucracies that can slow the rate of efficiency, but they’re an unavoidable requirement to run such an entity, albeit one that needs monitoring.
The governance of the larger state is where I take issue, and I’d sooner we transitioned to a direct democracy, doing away with politicians. It wouldn’t necessarily be perfect (see Expressions of Freedom), and it’d require more involvement of the public, but it’d be more representative than representatives.
I doubt I’ll ever see a proper, large-scale, direct democracy. Too many interests would prefer the current system where it’s easier to influence power in a limited number of hands. And those are the hands which would need raising to see something like this implemented.
And I definitely don’t want to see a referendum for Welsh independence, but should it ever come to pass we’re definitely calling dibs on Dr. Who.