Alex Andreou writes: Very few political issues have made me vacillate as much as the Scotland independence referendum. I started as an instinctive no, but by the end of the campaign significant strands of my thinking had moved so completely over to yes that I woke up this morning feeling both relieved and disappointed. There are, however, reasons to be universally cheerful, even for people who campaigned for and voted yes.
1. Hope is a vote-winner
Some have concluded that the result means that “fear works”. The truth is quite the opposite. Remember, this was supposed to be a cake-walk for the Better Together campaign. Instead, the government had to cobble together a contingency-plan in a panic two weeks ago. For a message of optimism to have narrowed the gap to that from 20 points a year ago is a tremendous victory. In fact, Better Together only pushed against that momentum when they themselves made positive promises for future devolution. It is a vision for the future, not fear, that ultimately worked.
2. Wider political engagement is possible
The unprecedented turnout of 85% – but also the astonishing sophistication of the debate at every level – means that the voting public are neither congenitally apathetic nor impenetrably thick, as the ruling classes would have us believe. Apathy results from the choices on offer being indistinguishable from each other and an electoral system where individual votes do not matter. [Continue reading…]