tobyaw: (Balgove)
posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 05:10pm on 18/06/2016 under , , ,
Before the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, I spent a lot of time thinking about the kind of country I wanted to live in, and how it should relate to the wider world. I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t possible to make a decision based on facts, well-argued analysis, and expert predictions. Rather, I identified the issues that were most relevant to the way I thought about our governance, and made my decision based on how I felt about those issues. And I was happy to vote for independence.

Looking at the key issues that drove my decision:

  • I believe in localism (in a positive way). We ought to have smaller political units that are more closely connected to the people who live in them. A smaller country is a better country. And that power should be devolved down to the smallest practical political unit.

  • The Westminster government is distant from Scotland, and from Scottish priorities. (This is not to say that it is undemocratic, but rather that Scottish priorities are not well represented).

  • National institutions inevitably have an English focus, and Scotland is often regarded as “them” rather than “us”.

  • Immigration is seen as a major problem in much of England. It isn’t regarded in the same way in Scotland, and as a nation we would welcome more immigrants.

  • The emphasis of our tax system needs to be different. Scotland has a much smaller percentage of top-rate tax payers, and needs to be more active in adapting our tax system to encourage inward investment (perhaps by offering a different model of corporation tax).

  • Scottish industries — oil, whisky, ship building, fishing, finance, technology — need specific and active support from the government.

Thinking about those, and similar, issues in relation to Britain in Europe, I’m convinced that voting to leave Europe is the right decision on Thursday. This is not an anti-European or anti-foreigner stance, but a genuine belief that we are not served well by further European integration. A belief that Britain can prosper, and indeed push ahead of Europe with economic performance and with social issues. An escape from the pervasive belief that a larger institution always knows best. And an escape from the bureacracy, cronyism, corruption, and lack of democracy in many of the European institutions.

I can understand arguments from both sides of the referendum, and can see many different points of view on each side (and many distinct reasons why people would vote to leave or vote to remain). But I hope that everyone votes for a positive reason — because they believe in the direction they are voting for, rather than because they are afraid of the alternative.
tobyaw: (Frogmarch 2002 - Whitby)
posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 10:15pm on 23/01/2013 under
So… in 2014 we get to vote in a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom. In 2017 we get to vote in a referendum on independence from the European Union.

I assume that if we, as a country, vote yes for the first, then we won’t get the chance to vote for the second.

What do we do if we fancy both?
location: St Andrews, Scotland
tobyaw: (Frogmarch 2002 - Whitby)
posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 09:49pm on 20/01/2011 under , ,
There are many competing demands for spending on transport. Duallling the A9 is being debated at Holyrood again, the Edinburgh tram project has had well-known difficulties, and there have been suggestions that should the Leuchars airbase close, it could be reborn as a commercial airport. But what should the government spend our money on?

[Poll #1670132]
location: St Andrews, Scotland
tobyaw: (Frogmarch 2002 - Whitby)
posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 09:49pm on 20/01/2011 under , ,
There are many competing demands for spending on transport. Duallling the A9 is being debated at Holyrood again, the Edinburgh tram project has had well-known difficulties, and there have been suggestions that should the Leuchars airbase close, it could be reborn as a commercial airport. But what should the government spend our money on?

[Poll #1670132]
location: St Andrews, Scotland
tobyaw: (Frogmarch 2002 - Whitby)
posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 10:26pm on 13/05/2010 under , , ,
Through the post today I received a voting pack for the election of members to Fife Health Board. There was an instruction sheet, a ballot paper with a freepost envelope for return, and a booklet of statements from the candidates who are standing for election. As far as I can see, there is no explanation of what the Fife Health Board does, or why its members are elected.

There are sixty-one names on the ballot paper, of whom I can select as many as I like, marking them in my order of preference. Twelve of them will be elected. The candidate statement booklet runs to twenty-three pages of anodyne personal histories. I have no idea how one is supposed to make any kind of informed choice.

I suspect the lot of it will go straight in the paper-recycling bin. I wonder how much it cost NHS Fife to run this exercise in pointless democracy.
location: St Andrews, Scotland
tobyaw: (Frogmarch 2002 - Whitby)
posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 10:26pm on 13/05/2010 under , , ,
Through the post today I received a voting pack for the election of members to Fife Health Board. There was an instruction sheet, a ballot paper with a freepost envelope for return, and a booklet of statements from the candidates who are standing for election. As far as I can see, there is no explanation of what the Fife Health Board does, or why its members are elected.

There are sixty-one names on the ballot paper, of whom I can select as many as I like, marking them in my order of preference. Twelve of them will be elected. The candidate statement booklet runs to twenty-three pages of anodyne personal histories. I have no idea how one is supposed to make any kind of informed choice.

I suspect the lot of it will go straight in the paper-recycling bin. I wonder how much it cost NHS Fife to run this exercise in pointless democracy.
location: St Andrews, Scotland
tobyaw: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 08:44pm on 12/05/2010 under ,
There are fifty nine Westminster seats contested in Scotland. The Liberal Democrats hold eleven seats with 18.9% of the vote; the Conservatives hold a single seat with 16.7% of the vote. Together the coalition government gained 35.6% of the Scottish vote.

In 2005 Labour formed a government with 35.3% of the vote across the UK.
location: St Andrews, Scotland
tobyaw: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 08:44pm on 12/05/2010 under ,
There are fifty nine Westminster seats contested in Scotland. The Liberal Democrats hold eleven seats with 18.9% of the vote; the Conservatives hold a single seat with 16.7% of the vote. Together the coalition government gained 35.6% of the Scottish vote.

In 2005 Labour formed a government with 35.3% of the vote across the UK.
location: St Andrews, Scotland

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