Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Referendums are rare events in Scotland - not as rare as Halley's Comet which visits our solar system every 75 to 76 years - but they don't take very often that's for sure.
Which us why I don't trust the politicians who say:
'Let's keep this referendum business as simple as possible - let's just have one question - a straight Yes or No to independence for Scotland - then we can all return to the powers of the Scottish Parliament at a later date.'
Because the last referendum Scotland voted on - was the one that set up the Scottish Parliament in 1999 - fifteen years ago by the time we get to the next one in 2014.
And the one before that was in 1979 - when some Labour MPs introduced a wrecking amendment that scuppered the chances of home rule for another twenty years.
So the reality is that lots of us might die waiting for the politicians to let us have a direct say - and while I don't think you can govern a country by referendums - I do think it's reasonable to argue that the people's voice should be heard more often.
History tells us that the politicians will keep the debate to themselves - if they can.
Now if Scotland main opposition parties - i.e. Labour, Tories and Lib Dems - are so keen on a referendum the obvious question is why didn't they call for and organise one - long before now.
The Labour party and Lib Dems ran a majority coalition government between 1999 and 2007 - yet the didn't do so.
Labour, Tories and the Lib Dems could have outvoted the minority SNP government between 2007 and 2011 - but they chose not to put the issue in front of the Scottish people.
Likewise a Labour government was in power at Westminster for 13 years between 1999 and 2010 - without any moves to have a referendum.
So I say don't trust the politicians or the parties that would restrict people choices - and limit the debate.
Because you can't trust them to deliver - and we might wait for Halley's Comet to come around again - before the people of Scotland get another chance.