Author Archives: Barry Turner

Scotland – time for Project Facts

As Liberal Democrats, we do not support independence and we don’t want a second referendum; we have better ideas about the constitution. However, we must live up to our title as democrats and must recognise that there is now a clear majority at Holyrood for such a referendum. It would be foolish and self-defeating to oppose it. We must not repeat the mistake we made at the 2019 General Election when we were proposing to ignore the outcome of the EU referendum by not going back to the electorate for a second vote. That surely damages our reputation and cost us votes.

But we can take a constructive, different and positive view about how a second independence vote should be organised, learning lessons from the disastrous EU referendum process involving four years of discord and wrangling, and resulting in an outcome that few seem to be happy with. The simple yes/no, in/out binary approach to referenda with little in the way of facts, just opinions, guesswork and hope, and a promise on negotiations later, is not the way forward this time. It will give no guarantee that the outcome, if in support of separation, will meet the expectations of all those voting for change. The reason for this is the massive imbalance between the population of Scotland and the rest of the UK with whom Scotland will be negotiating and who will be very much affected by separation. Their representatives will bring a different set of requirements to the table that will potentially have a huge influence on the outcome. Another White Paper, as promised by the SNP, given this scenario will serve no real purpose other than again being a wish list and merely a basis for negotiations from one side only.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 31 Comments

Why federalism over independence?

Lib Dems support the union because we believe there is strength in unity.

We support the principle that decisions should be made at the most appropriate local level giving power to the people. We aspire to achieving mutuality and respect between the home nations and between the regions. We see fundamental flaws in the current constitutional arrangements whereby there is little or no real devolution in England and different approaches to devolution where it does exist. There is no common approach or equality in the way that power is administered across …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 20 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • David Raw
    Sorry, Mr Macfie, but the blue wall seats are not the same as the seats lost in 2015 for quite different reasons....
  • David Raw
    @ Alex Macfie " it’ll be much harder to attack him over it after he’s given his evidence". That's what you hope will happen. My opinion - after si...
  • Marco
    I would be concerned that whilst the Tory vote is imploding in "red wall" areas (up to 25% fall) it is is reducing by more modest amounts in "blue wall" areas (...
  • Alex Macfie
    @David Raw: Nearly all our seats "returned to type" in 2015, whether that was Tory or Labour. We all know the reason why. Obviously we have to play our cards mu...
  • Alex Macfie
    All current and former PO ministers will be giving evidence to the inquiry in the next phase, Ed included. This will actually help Ed, because (i) he won't be b...