By Steven A T Williams, Councillor for Barton Ward
One of the constants of our great nation is its continual ability to change and evolve, so often leading the world’s continued development and improvement through technology, human rights, social liberty and democracy. We can see this through the change of national religion by Henry VIII, the parliamentary democracy, abolition of slavery, the industrial revolution,and the abolition of child labour. Perhaps history will show the impact of the Scottish Referendum in a similar light.
The process itself was exemplary, and the fact that the only real dissatisfaction from voters was the lack of clarity of information they received speaks volumes. Much of this particular problem stemmed from the fact that neither side could know what independence would mean for the currency, defence, Europe, and NATO membership as there was no precedent for this referendum and thus no certainty - only forecasts for possible powers.
Many across the world and particularly in Europe, where several countries are an amalgamation of different peoples with long and sometimes difficult histories, could only dream of being given the democratic right of self determination. The United Kingdom however, has done this twice in the last 18 months (Falkland Islands in 2013) and has always maintained that if the people of a territory wish to sever ties with the UK through a fair referendum, that the government would respect the decision of the people. Interesting then, that both the Falkland Islands and Scotland both decided to vote against such action.
The Scottish Referendum is a once in a lifetime opportunity, not just for Scotland but for everyone in the UK,as it has triggered the possibility for people to have more say on their own affairs.Some are concerned that the United Kingdom, a bastion of democracy and liberty will be changed forever. However our country, the home of the most successful political and economic union the world has known, now has the chance to evolve, once again being one of the leaders in identifying and implementing an effective form of government for four countries. The idea of devolving more powers to the home nations will make us a better nation, because whilst individually we are different, together we are stronger, much like a family.
David Cameron wants to devolve more powers to England and is right to do so, indeed the same should be proposed for Wales and Northern Ireland. Westminster will still drive the big debates but through more regional representation, that allows politics to be closer to the people. The United Kingdom will be greater for it.