Friday, September 19, 2014
The Scottish Referendum and the Fatal Lesson of Quebec
Well it was a long night and a disappointing one. The YES side in the Scottish referendum didn't do as well as I had hoped it might.
Scotland will have to wait a little longer to become independent. And fear conquered hope.
Scotland voters have opted to continue as part of the United Kingdom after 307 years in an historic referendum vote, although most observers believe there will be a change in the relationship in the coming months. With just one centre of 32 remaining to report, 55.4 per cent of voters had voted No to independence, with 44.6 in the Yes camp.
But while that poor guy in the picture might not realize it for a while, there is still a lot to celebrate.
And the main reason is that strangely enough in the end this referendum did resemble the first Quebec referendum.
Because just like that one was largely won when six days before the vote Pierre Trudeau offered to give Quebec new powers.
This one was largely won by the vow made by the three Westminster leaders three days ago.
The leaders of the three main parties at Westminster have signed a pledge to devolve more powers to Scotland, if Scots reject independence.
The first part of the agreement promises "extensive new powers" for the Scottish Parliament "delivered by the process and to the timetable agreed" by the three parties.
Which also included a pledge to allow Scotland to protect its NHS or medicare system which the Con regime in London is cutting and privatizing.
The third "categorically states" that the final say on funding for the NHS will lie with the Scottish government "because of the continuation of the Barnett allocation for resources, and the powers of the Scottish Parliament to raise revenue".
Delivering that promise may be very difficult.
David Cameron is facing growing pressure from Tory MPs after promising more powers for Scotland if it rejects independence.
"I certainly think that people in Scotland should recognise that this is a 'pledge' ... by party leaders, but that is not a guarantee that that would be implemented in the United Kingdom Parliament."
And if just like Trudeau, Cameron doesn't keep his pledge...
And I don't think he stands a chance of doing that, because in his panicked state he promised more than he could deliver, just like Trudeau.
There will be another referendum sooner or later like there was in Quebec, and you know how close that one was.
Because the one thing just about everybody agrees upon is that after 45% of the Scots voted for independence the status quo is NOT an option.
Not when the referendum campaign has politicized the population to an incredible degree, so people on both sides will expect those promises to be kept.
And not when Scotland will never be the same...
It's a far more confident country than it was before this amazing referendum campaign. And it will not be fooled twice.
But of course for me the best news is the way the YES side was able to engage so many young Scots in the political process...
Because not only does that tell me that the independence movement has the future on its side. So the struggle will continue.
It has also shown me how we might engage more young Canadians in our political process.
And if we are even half as successful as they were in Scotland, they will help us crush the Harper Cons in the next election.
For which I will be forever grateful to those beautiful dreamers...
Because nobody has ever inspired me more than they did.
So while tonight I share their disappointment.
Tomorrow I will rise again, like progressive Scotland itself.
And fight the Cons in this country even harder.
We will build a mighty movement.
And we will say YES to Canada...
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