Tuesday, 23 September 2014

In the cold light of a post referendum day

When it comes to matters of self determination I am what I would call an economic realist. You may well ask what do I mean by that? Well let me explain.

My degree is in economics so I know to look at the bigger picture for the nation, how that affects individuals and how the ability of a nation to look after its individual is best served. Therefore it does not make be either a nationalist nor a unionist when such matters are discussed.

Therefore in the 80s, 90s and early in the 2000s if there had of been a border poll in Northern Ireland I would likely have voted for a united Ireland. Especially during the 80s and 90s Northern Ireland seemed to be overlooked by Westminster and the economies of scale that being one quarter of a booming Ireland as opposed to one fiftieth or so of the United Kingdom meant that we probably would have had a better deal.

The situation with the Scottish Referendum is that I as an internationalist who studied European Economics for two years as a part of my degree did not only believe that the question were not being answered, but that the Yes side didn't fully understand the questions. Yes there was currency, there was Scotland's place in Europe, there was financial institutions that cross borders. I know how these things work in Ireland, but they are compartmentalised. There were too many grey areas and to be honest there wasn't honesty on the part of Alex Salmond a fellow economist in how to deal with many, many such questions.

However, to be called a fool who has been taken in is something I find insulting. Just because I did not come to the same conclusion as someone else does not make me a fool, that would lead to a very insulting image of our political system where there are so many parties not any of which I agree with 100% of the time. I am a member of the party that most closely reflects what I believe. As decisions within that party are mostly decided by as democratic vote I will be able to back those to the hilt, where some decisions are made that ignores the will of conference then I will continue to speak up and speak out. Indeed up until March of this year I was still on the register to vote in Scotland (due to 6 month residency requirement to transfer back unto the Northern Ireland register of electors)

The constant complaints about a fixed ballot when I have seen tweets from Yes groups, and blog posts from them and people who were there either as count agents of staff is beyond disrespectful to fellow Scots (and yes as I have spent more than 10 years there in the white paper I'd qualify for a passport). I have been to many, many counts across Scotland, I know that the election staff both in polling stations and at the count are second to none. That those of us who on a regular basis spend a long day getting out the vote following by long hours at the count are always impressed by how they handle themselves and we know that if there is something that we think has not been done right it will be investigated when we raise that.

The fact that on my 45th birthday many people started to put the 45 image on their profile pics is a cause for concern. That 45 is diverse, that 45 comes from all the main political parties and on many issues that 45 disagree. They are not homogenous. The same applies to the other 55% we are not all the same.

I'm proud that many people wanted to get involved in politics many for the first time, I know that many of them have joined one of the parties of the Yes side, that is loud and clear as they are all shouting about it. I also know that Scottish people have over the past two years joined the parties on the side of No as well. Is it good that they want to carry on the political conversation it is just that they need to know that the conversation in politics often moves on. Yes there are times that all of us in politics miss out on getting something and have to regroup,but they we have to make the best of what we can do.

That is where we are now. I've seen some say that the No side of the debate were triumphant. If I were an alien looking in I would be hard pressed to see that. Most of my friends who had No banners on their pages had taken them down within  24 hours of the result, the same is not true of my friends from Yes and yes they are still friends.

We need political leaders on both sides to speak sanely and calmly, change always takes time. It cannot be achieved in a weekend, a week, or even a month it will take time to make a change and make it correctly. There was a timetable laid out for presenting the additional powers, just as the SNP has laid out a timetable for delivering the referendum.

We know that the SNP took 7 years from first entering Government to bring about the referendum they had promised all their political lives, so a few extra months and a shorter timescale to make further changes isn't too great a time to wait, but everyone needs to take ownership of the process, get behind it and now that not all your dreams will come true, but you can make it the best package that you can.

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