• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Fresh thinking on independence

IN the great 1970s satirical film The Candidate, Robert Redford's idealistic and unworldly character is groomed by a team of political spindoctors into a slick but bland electoral dynamo.

After a surprise win, Redford utters the film's last and most famous line: "What do we do now?"

It is not a situation Scotland ought to be in after September 18, 2014. Yet the two sides in the referendum campaign are so preoccupied with winning the vote – and crushing their rival – that far too little attention is paid to what should happen afterwards.

This is not just an issue for the Yes camp, which is often hazy on specifics. The Unionist side needs to say what a post-No vote in Scotland would hold – will it be just the status quo or will there be new powers to sate the public's appetite?

With our politicians locked in the feud of a lifetime, we should not hold our breath for answers. Therefore today's intervention by the Jimmy Reid Foundation is to be welcomed.

Its Common Weal concept, in which independence unlocks a new economy and society for Scotland, offers a vision of life beyond the immediate horizon.

It starts from the position of backing a Yes vote, but it certainly does not end there. Its focus is on how to use a Yes vote.

In broad strokes, it has suggested copying the best practices of the Nordic states and ditching the UK's worst, to achieve a sounder economy and a fairer, more equal society.

Now it is asking the public to add detail by contributing to a library of policy ideas.

While the SNP's take on independence – monarchy, currency union, Nato rules and now a shared UK welfare system – appears to grow more compromised by the day, the Common Weal project is about the bounty and energy that could follow a Yes vote. It may thrive, it may fail, but it is trying to be new, and for that it deserves credit.

As was shown by this week's BBC Question Time from Edinburgh, which had an audience solely of 16- and 17-year-olds, Scotland has a bright, engaged electorate hungry for information. A constant complaint is that the mainstream parties don't provide information – a slanging match has squatted in the space where we were led to expect a debate.

The Common Weal offers an alternative source of thinking, as well as a chance to possibly create the blueprint for a future Scotland. Similar projects from a right-wing or pro-Union stance should be encouraged to add to the mix.

If our politicians won't stop the dreary "he said, she said" routine, perhaps some "we said" will finally bring this debate to life.

It's your country, dive in.

Contextual targeting label: 
Finance

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

164337