Monday, 21 July 2014

New take on the referendum

In the interests of evenhandedness, and to show that I can be influenced by intelligent, articulately expressed common sense, I share parts of a comment written by Richard Holloway, from a selection of contributions on Independence in the Review in Saturday's Guardian, .

"The referendum debate reminds me of those arguments for and against the existence of God that were such a feature of our cultural scene about 10 years ago. The cases offered in support of either side were rationalisations of convictions reached on other, usually subconscious grounds, which is why they tended to fortify beliefs already held rather than make new converts; and they left agnostics undecided. The same thing seems to be going on here, with the agnostics the group likely to swing the vote, depending on which side they find less satisfactory on the day."
"Economics strikes me as no more conclusive a science than theology, which is why I have been more irritated than enlightened by the use each side has made of the dismal science in the debate; but while the arguments of the yes side may not have persuaded me, the arguments of the no side have propelled me in the opposite direction. Rather than making a positive case for the union, the Better Together campaign has wasted its energy on attacking the idea that Scotland could go it alone, a tactic guaranteed to anger those of us for whom the question was never whether we could, but whether we should."
"And there has been little recognition on the unionist side that the British political system is broken...... Overcentralised Britain concentrates power in ways that are hard to challenge. I support the Catholic principle of subsidiarity: power should be decentralised to the maximum degree; and that's what the soft form of independence on offer will help us achieve."

I can't help but agree with Richard on the force of the arguments so far. Whether or not I've been pushed as far as "yes" I'm not saying. But I do think that more and more people are beginning to agree that the argument isn't really about economics. Maybe it's just about politics.

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