IN response to Andrew Tickell’s article about Westminster being a dead space, in which he specifically highlights the difference between the “winning” Leave campaign and the “losing” 2014 referendum; he identifies the comparison between complex messages and simple ones (Last year taught us that Westminster is a dead space for Scottish politics, The National, January 5).

I have to agree – and moreover, I’d say that any new independence vote had better have three questions or it will alienate many of the audience.

I’d suggest formatting those simultaneous questions somewhere as follows:

  1. A restoration of full sovereignty and powers to the Scots people, therefore parliament.
  2. A vote to seek continuance of Scotland’s current EU membership.
  3. A vote on a widely disseminated Scots constitution.

For the first, I’d widely avoid the word “independence”. It scares folk, and it’s really not required. Using the word restoration or resumption reminds folk that what they have now, it wasn’t always that way. An alternative would just be to ask for dissolution of the 1707 Treaty of Union, under international law.

For the second, it decouples the aspect of the two votes. Those who might vote for/against because it could conflict with the other would have independent means of expression.

In the third, perhaps that draft constitution should limit itself to around ten items, mainly as that seems (even from biblical times) to be a manageable sum for most folk to hold in memory.

It all hearkens back to the fact that folk need something to believe in, something relatively simple, and several hundred pages just isn’t that.

The only aspect that’s vague here is what’s to be in that constitution: wiser heads than mine will need to address that, however I’d suggest some fundamentals to address normal voter concerns and causes of angst, as well as those standard platitudes, such as every Scot will be treated equally under the law.

The constitution could address everything from social rents through pensions to minimum wage and land reform as well as politicians’ wages, all while making it illegal for Holyrood politicians to hold second jobs and removing their ability to self-issue pay raises, while even fixing tax bands. We can become that shining beacon of a nation!

How? It’s actually easily achieved, if folk put their nation before themselves. Tie everything to the national median wage, from unemployment benefits to pensions, from rental rates on one-, two -and three-bedroom homes to income-tax bands and threshold allowances. The politicians work well, the nation prospers, everyone benefits (in the end, although initially a few among the outrageously wealthy might suffer).

Defence spending could even be set to be above two per cent of GDP, and be a constitutional threshold, likewise for health care.

After it’s voted on, allowing passage, confidence would be needed that it would not be dispensed with: hurdles would need to be set to prevent it being tinkered with while allowing room for future growth, say perhaps a 75 per cent majority at Holyrood followed by a referendum incorporated into the next election, requiring a 60 per cent approval?

With barely 10 per cent of the MPs in Westminster, our nations’ voice will always blow in the English wind. With the need the City of London has for our resources – human, natural and economic – that will not change voluntarily in London, so I must agree, now is the time to plan, because next year we just might be finding ourselves required to implement it.

A MacGregor
East Kilbride