Referendums, conferences and commissions

After convincing myself that I would post more frequently, I immediately stopped doing so.

Okay. This time.

I really wanted to document what and how I felt after the Independence Referendum, but the longer I left it, and the more I read from those far more eloquent than I, the less relevant it seemed.

For posterity: gutted.

Taking a step back from it all, if that’s possible, I would also add that this has been a hugely satisfying and exciting time to be Scottish; and to live in Scotland. I have spoken-with, listened-to, admired-from-afar, and read-words-written-by a great number of inspirational people throughout 2014. I’ve changed irrevocably. I believe for the better; I’m not sure everyone would agree.

This past weekend, I attended – along with 2999 others – a conference held by the Radical Independence Campaign. 100 yards away, 12000 SNP supporters gathered to hear a political party deliver their plans.

15000 (FIFTEEN THOUSAND!) actively-engaged politicos on the banks of the River Clyde. A bottle of Champagne’s throw away from where the Jimmy Reid‘s of this World used to build ships, and trade union relationships.

Some highlights: Saffron Dickson, Liam McLaughlan, Tariq Ali, and the Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mallark of the independence movement, Cat Boyd and Alan Bissett.

“I’ve always known a Scottish Parliament but I’ve never not known war, poverty, immigrant-bashing and killing for profit”
17-year old Saffron Dickson

It was a long and emotional day and, at the post-conference bar, it was all a bit blurry. There was poetry and dancing. Lots of dancing. My memories are hazy…

And so to the publication of the Smith Commission report.

Depending on whom you speak to, the recommendations put forward by Lord Smith amount to eitherĀ “extra devolution for Scotland” that “will make our United Kingdom stronger“; or it’s “the worst possible [solution] for everyone“.

I’m sure it’s somewhere in between. My own thoughts are that it’s closer to the latter.

What it isn’t, despite what the Commission itself suggests, is a document that provides a more “responsive, durable and stable” devolution settlement. If anything, it recommends only the undermining of what is already in place.

The report contains a number of recommendations – some good, some bad – all of which are simply that: recommendations. Before any of them get anywhere near implementation, there’s the small matter of a May 2015 General Election and English Votes on English Laws to work through.

Dig in, folks. It’s going to be a long one.