Friday, 12 September 2014

Tim Gordon writes: The Scottish Independence Referendum

Whenever I think about the United Kingdom splitting up something inside me breaks. I do not live in Scotland and so I have no vote in the referendum. But I am British and so have every right to a say.

On a national level I can think of nothing worse than for Government to spend the next few years engaged in a messy divorce battle. Leaving aside the economic risks that have been highlighted there is something deeply tragic about throwing away the single most successful political union in world history. Together we built the modern welfare state, liberated Europe and – to some extent – created the modern world. In a world where so many problems are increasingly global I can think of few issues where a smaller Britain makes the world a better place.

On a Party level I believe that the end of the union would be terrible for liberal politics in the UK. If the next decade is dominated by a nationalistic backlash which may increase the risk of us leaving the European Union then we and our country will be ill-served. And that’s before we lose a wing of the Party that has delivered more than its fair share of our political talent and leaders: Grimond, Steel, Maclennan, Kennedy, Campbell and ministers like Alexander, Moore, Carmichael and Swinson. I also believe that a “no” vote will create an urgent need to engage in a serious and much-needed debate about devolution of political power within the rest of the country.

On a personal level – as my name suggests my family hails from Scotland. In the terrible war whose centenary we are currently marking my grandfather served with the London Scottish. I do not want to be forced to choose to be anything other than British.

With the polls now neck and neck, the outcome of the Scottish Referendum is very much on a knife edge. This referendum really will be decided over the final week. Our colleagues in Scotland are fighting hard to keep Scotland in the Union, and over the next seven days we want to do all we can to support them – from wherever we are in the United Kingdom.

Our job is to make helping as easy as possible. Can you please do any of the following (and remember that we want all voices heard, no matter what the accent):
• Go to Scotland: volunteer here - http://www.scotlibdems.org.uk/volunteer_with_us
• Make phonecalls: our CONNECT virtual phone bank is now easier to use. Get started here -http://www.libdems.org.uk/make_phone_calls
• Donate money: Use our simple online form -https://libdems.nationbuilder.com/scottish_referendum