IT HAS been interesting to observe over the last few weeks how Ruth Davidson has succeeded in making a second independence referendum a central topic of debate in the lead up to the Scottish Parliamentary election. Certainly this objective is consistent with the promotional material of the Conservative Party arriving through our letterboxes, but the pivotal question is whether this strategy will win the Tories more seats in Holyrood than the Labour Party.
For those whose main objective in voting in this election is to attempt to thwart any further move towards Scotland’s independence, voting for Ruth and the Conservatives may indeed appear logical, but there is a danger that if the Tories were to become the main opposition that future debate in Holyrood could be more polarised around independence, especially if Cameron and Osborne continue to show scant regard for the wishes of the Scottish electorate.
Furthermore, except for those vehemently opposed to Scotland’s independence regardless of evolving social and economic arguments, the reliance on expressed opinions of an independence referendum being limited to a “once in a generation” event is a poor counter to arguments for a second referendum if it were to become clear that the majority of the electorate would favour Scotland’s independence.
While it remains debatable whether the “vows” made by those advocating a No vote were kept (particularly as Scotland still appears far from winning the “home rule” or “quasi-federalism” promoted by Gordon Brown), it is undisputable that the Edinburgh Agreement did not specify any term before which another independence referendum could be held. The majority of the Scottish electorate already understands this, irrespective of who leads the opposition in the next Holyrood parliament and no matter how colourful Ms Davidson becomes in voicing her anti-independence perspective.
Longniddry, East Lothian