The LibDems said at some point that one should only hold a referendum on a topic that one is in favour of. And so they supported a referendum on the European Constitution (which they're in favour of), but oppose one on Scottish independence (which they are against). A bit strange that they abstained on the question of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, though, given that they were in favour of that, too. Makes you wonder whether the principle is fully set in stone.
Labour seems to be of the opposite opinion: They were against a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty (which they supoorted), but they now seem to be in favour of a refendum on Scottish independence (which they're against).
I actually tend to agree with Labour here: A party is voted into power to implement their policies. It therefore doesn't need a referendum to get a mandate to do so. However, if there is something the party doesn't want to do, but that is very popular in the wider population, it can make sense to hold a referendum to defuse the issue. It's a bit masochistic, though, and most parties would prefer to delay the issue instead.
I'm not very fond of referendums anyway. They tend to be about everything else, and they often get quite emotional. And in many cases, the major parties can only really live with one result, which tends to provoke the electorate to vote for the other option in spite.
I tend only to support referendums on topics that transcend political parties, such as Scottish independence. I am looking forward to that one, just like Bendy Wendy! 😉
There is no single health service in the UK. People speak about the NHS, but it's actually four different organisations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
I think using the same name is unhealthy. It means the English find it illogical that they aren't getting the same treatment in England as is provided by NHS Scotland.
So the four services should be renamed. They already have different logos, so surely that wouldn't be too hard.
There's an interesting article in The Scotsman today by George Kerevan.
He argues that the Bank of England, and therefore the British pound, tends to focus far too much on the needs of the City of London, rather than looking at the whole country and trying to balance the needs of all the regions.
I think he's absolutely right, but while his recommendation is for the Bank of England to change, I'd prefer Scotland (and the rest of the UK) to join the Euro, given that the ECB does look at all parts of the Eurozone when making decisions. In other words, Scotland would not suffer a loss of influence at all by replacing the pound with the euro, just the opposite.
If Scotland wins her independence one day, it will be necessary to assign a ccTLD (country-code top-level domain) instead of .uk. A ccTLD always consists of exactly two lower-case letters without any accents.
However, there are so many countries in the world that there aren't many options left.
The most natural one would be .sc, I guess, but that's the Seychelles. .sl? No, that's Sierra Leone. .so? .st? .sa? .sn? .sd? Nope, that's Somalia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Sudan, respectively.
Hmmm, so what about basing it on the Gaelic name for Scotland, Alba? Well, .al is Albania, and .as (for Alba/Scotland) is American Samoa, but .ab is actually free, so I guess that would be the most obvious ccTLD.
Fraser Nelson (conservative journalist and blogger) has a very interesting wee article in The Business.
He points out that outwith the greater London area, most people are either on benefits or working for the state, creating a situation almost like a communist country. Effectively, London is subsidising the rest of the country, rather than helping the rest of the country to grow faster. And this situation has been getting much worse under Labour.
Quite scary, and I definitely think this is another good reason to support Scottish independence!
Iain Macwhirter has a really interesting article in the Sunday Herald about how the BBC made a Scottish news bulletin pilot three years ago (but kept it quiet because it was too good), and why a Scottish news programme is needed.
As he writes, "[...] MSPs and ministers were finding their constituents complaining about the state of their local hospitals' finances even though they were doing fine. This was because they were watching the stories about bankrupt English health trusts on the Six O'Clock news."
The same newspaper also has a good article about how Alex Salmond will open up the independence conversation to include other options for more powers for Scotland in order to get support from other parties. He's really showing himself to be a very clever politician, furthering his cause by changing his immediate objectives in such a way that his opponents can't afford to disagree. He's achieved so much in just a few months – I'm deeply impressed.
Where are the flags? Why is today not a bank holiday in Great Britain? Today is the 300th anniversary of the Act of Union between England (with Wales) and Scotland. If it's such a great thing as the unionist parties proclaim, surely they should be out there celebrating it.
Instead, all is quiet. There's nothing at all in the online edition of The Scotsman, and only a small article or two in slightly less unionist The Herald. Most of the coverage is found in the English newspapers (such as this piece).
Isn't the fact that unionists think the best way to preserve the union is to keep quiet about it the best proof that the two countries are heading towards a peaceful divorce?