The professor recognises that change in governance is desirable and puts forward devo-max as his preference, something that many would support.
The snag is that this solution is not on offer – and deliberately so. The unionist parties insisted there should be no such option, with Johann Lamont of Scottish Labour vehemently declaring that “there must be no consolation prize for Alex Salmond”.
The referendum is designed to kill off “the Nationalist threat” and confirm the absolute power of Westminster.
Let me venture an analogy to illustrate what I think is at issue in the referendum. Our landlords, Westminster Properties, have, for their own reasons, offered us the title deeds to our dwelling place.
Do we say: “Oh! That would mean having to see to repairs ourselves – too much for us to cope with, so no thanks,” or: “Yes, it would mean a burden of responsibility, there would be many difficult details to work out and, no doubt, legal fees, but it would mean we could press on with outstanding repairs, even consider some alterations – and could paint the front door whatever colour we chose.”
How one decides probably depends as much on temperament as on logic.
Professor Trewavas wants us to play safe by voting No.
The world is not a safe place. And continuing in the UK may be very dangerous, particularly to the NHS, which many of us value highly and which is in increasing difficulty in England due to UK government policies.
If we stay in the UK, our NHS is unlikely to escape the same fate. When Professor Trewavas says that “we deserve better than independence offers” he reminds me of a verse attributed to James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, 1612-1650:
“He either fears his fate
Or his deserts are small,
Who will not put it to the touch
To win or lose it all.”
(Dr) David Stevenson