I CANNOT agree with your editorial (“We all need a Plan B”, 29 December) that the vote in September will be a choice between “Indy Lite” and “Devo Max”. We need to strip all this back to the essentials and remind ourselves of what a constitutional referendum actually is.
A constitutional referendum is where a government asks the permission of the people to move from where they are at the moment (the “status quo”) to some other constitutional position which they have to define.
A Yes vote allows the country to move forwards with some confidence to that new defined position.
The question in September will ask if we should be independent. We all understand what that means. If some other position is defined, which is not that described on the tin, then we have a recipe for confusion.
“Indy Lite” is just a lazy, journalistic catchphrase. It does not exist. We cannot ask people to vote for independence on the basis that they will get something less than that in return.
On the other side of the equation, while there are a large number of people in Scotland who would like to see enhanced powers, and I count myself as one of those, there is no agreed consensus on what that should be yet.
There is a spectrum of opinion and possibilities from Devo Plus to Devo Max and all sorts of positions in between, and they can only be debated and analysed properly once the noise of this current debate has died down. The decks need to be cleared to have those discussions properly. Your assertion that “by far the majority” of people favour Devo Max cannot be substantiated in any meaningful way until we do that.
The debate this year must be about independence and what it would mean for us. The nuances of the debate might be politically interesting, and the temptation will be to try and explore the grey areas in between, but ultimately we do have to respect both the electorate and the government with the mandate and discuss the actual proposition in front of us.
Independence must be debated on its own merits. All other considerations are secondary while that is going on.
Victor Clements, Aberfeldy