Spotted off the Starboard bow, it raises its mighty fishy head to look at us with its blinded eyes. It is indeed the fabled Red Herring, and this one has certainly grown in size and evolved since it was first spotted. It has evolved so much that it seems to be taking wings in the sight of some of our population. It may even develop more in the coming years, and become the Big Red Herring it promises to be.But do we really want to catch it, or should we cast it aside? Time will tell,but in the meantime, let us attempt to examine what we see of it more closely.
Firstly, let us choose a name for this most elusive of fishy creatures. What shall we call it? Devo Maximus or Devo Proplus?
While we are deciding on that little issue, let us look at the meaning of the specimen we currently hold, devolution.
Devolution has served us to a small degree, and it has allowed us to gain some sort of partial sustainability. Before devolution we were entirely in the hands of Westminsters Ship of State, which kept us from making even the smallest decisions for ourselves.
We had to fight hard to take possession of devolution, we had been denied our first attempt at grasping it in 1979,when the then Labour Government changed the normal rules of democratic election to such an extent, that we In Scotland would have had to agree to devolution in the region of over 70% of those who actually voted saying yes, in order to win the day. We very nearly did it too.
Instead we had to fight again to win it in 1997, almost 20 years on from our first vote.
Devolution has indeed served a purpose. Possessing devolution has meant that most aspects of daily life in Scotland are governed in Scotland. It has shown that we can make a very reasonable attempt at Government,and that we can indeed do things for ourselves, we are not helpless children.
Of course the Big Matters are still reserved for Westminster,and we must do as they tell us. Even if we don’t like it.
But, in just over ten years we have come on leaps and bounds. Confidence has been building,and Westminster constantly seems less relevant to us.Indeed, under a Nationalist Government,we are protected from some of the worst excesses in policy that the London Government inflict. But only to a degree.
With the current Scotland Act under consideration, the UK government is seeking to reclaim some of the powers devolved to us,whilst handing out others which could severely weaken us, without having access to the correct checks and balances.
There is a new game afoot now. One which we could not have entirely predicted before last May. We now have the Once in a Lifetime opportunity to vote on outright Independence. Eventually after a wait of 307 years the people of Scotland will finally get the chance to have their say on their own destination. It has been a very long wait,and we would have been still waiting without Devolution.It is the question the British State has gone to phenomenal lengths to prevent from being asked. Its very asking, scares them witless.
Even if the Scots people were blinded and manipulated into not seeing their value and true worth. The British State has never been blind to it, It knows only too well the value and Importance of Scotland. Otherwise It would never have kept us,had we been the poor beggarly bunch, existing only by its kindness and good grace. The British State and previous Empire,which we helped to shape,has never been known for its sentimentality, unless the sentimentality was for Englands Green and Pleasant Land.
If we do not grasp this once in three centuries opportunity with both hands, we will never get another chance to do so,as long as we all shall live.
Enter into the fray, what is currently being promoted as the alternative between Devolution and Independence. That Fishy fish of many names. Devo Max, Devo Plus, FFA, SFA. SFA standing for Statutory Fiscal Autonomy,but it may also be Sweet Fannie Adams!
Indeed they all may be SFA. For although popular polling suggests it is the preferred option of Scots with 60% in favour, nobody actually knows what it actually is?
Now call me daft, but I cant vote for something I dont know. How can any sensible thinking person say they prefer the unknown to the known. It makes no sense. It literally could be anything,and you expect me to prefer it? I wouldn’t even prefer it over the Status Quo, and that says something!
I think what is being suggested, is that it represents more autonomy within the current system, but falling short of complete Independence.
I think, I don’t know, and nobody does know.
What I do know, is that whatever it is, Is not within the power of the Scottish Government to grant. Even if we voted overwhelmingly for this mythical creature. Not even God or Alex Salmond could deliver it. The first may according to some also be mythical,and the latter is competent and impressive, but is not God.
The power to grant such a wish lies solely within the providence of Westminster and the British Government. I wouldn’t trust that lot to deliver my messages,never mind deliver something which parts with their over riding authority.
Such a request from the people of Scotland would simply be delayed interminably, and twisted,and turned,and cast into the bowels of that Establishment. I would be long dead before decisive action took place. Would you trust them to keep their promises? If you would, you are a hell of damn sight more trusting of them than I.
There will seemingly be efforts by Civic Scotland, currently comprising The Churches, The SCVO,Trade Unions, and Reformed Scotland, to try and thrash out what they consider Devo MaxPlus to be, and to put it on public display in an exhibition somewhere.
That is all very well, but it seems that Civic Scotland no more represent me or indeed the majority of others than the Scottish Tory party does, nor the penguins in Edinburgh Zoo. I’m fed up hearing about the Pandas.
For the reasons I have highlighted above, I believe them to be wasting their time, but it is their time to waste.
DevoPlus Max may be the ultimate Red Herring, and we should not be distracted by it.
By voting for Independence, we are the ones who decide. We don’t have to be at the beck and call of others,and we depend on nobody else to deliver it. We deliver it for ourselves.
All we need is to have confidence in ourselves, that we can make this country of ours work, and make it better for everyone.
Why should we not be confident? Are we really so feeble? Can we not make our own decisions without asking someone else to make them for us? Are we unable to feed ourselves? Are we so befuddled that we don’t know our wrong from right? Are we so beaten that we are scared to win? Are we so Dependent that we cannot be Independent.
If that is the case,then we do not deserve to be any more than a curiosity or a distraction than the Pandas in the Zoo, for we have already become extinct, and Scotland is but a memory of the people we once were, but we no longer are.