Things are now getting quite tense in the Referendum - first the first time a poll has put the "Yes" camp ahead (but a bit later than expected, and still within the margin for error), the debates are over and seem to have gone in favour of "Yes" on balance, the presence on the street strongly favours "Yes"... but there's also the suspicion that there may be a silent majority out there planning to vote "No" who just don't feel the need to shout about it (and fair enough). All of which means that it looks like it's there for "Yes" to win the vote, but there's still a long way to go.
But that's not really what this post is about. Rather, this post is about the day after, the 19th. The thing is, although I'm intending to vote Yes, the reality is that I won't be too unhappy if the vote comes out "No". Whatever the result, I can get on with my life and things will be, mostly, fine (despite my previous post about the nightmare scenario).
I do, however, have three hopes for the 19th, which apply whatever the result:
- Whatever the result, I really hope there's no suggestion that the process itself has been anything other than fair and impartial. Unfortunately, I have seen some suggestions that there might be some manipulation (probably of postal votes), although thus far this has been confined to the lunatic fringe. But "Yes" or "No", it's much more important that the mechanisms of democracy run correctly, so that we can get on with things in the days ahead. (It's probably needless to say, but I'm not actually worried on this point. It's vitally important, but I think everyone involved is aware that it's vitally important, so we'll be fine.)
- Whatever the result, but most especially if it's a "Yes", I really hope the result is clear enough to settle the matter. Although legally 50% of the vote +1 is enough to swing it, that's not really a good basis on which to forge ahead with independence. Ideally, I would much prefer the "Yes" camp to target a majority of the electorate (not just those who actually vote) in order to carry the country with them. If the turnout is indeed the 85% that is projected, that would mean a 59% share of the vote. (Of course, I'm sure the "Yes" campaign would both like as big a share of the vote as possible, but will also accept any win whatsoever. That's just the nature of the thing. But I'd be happier with a clear result.)
- Whatever the result, let that be the end of it. If the result is a "Yes", then I really hope this leads to Scotland and the UK proceeding to negotiate in good faith for the best for both countries in order to split as amicable, and fairly, as possible. If the result is a "No", conversely, I really hope that this will indeed take the question off the table for a generation (at least 20 years) - I really don't want to have to have referenda every few years until we give the 'right' result. "Yes" or "No", whatever the people have said by the 19th is the right result. (Of course, both sides have said that they would indeed abide by the result. But there's always a gap between saying something and actually doing it.)
Anyway, that's where I am at the moment. We'll just need to see what the next 12 days brings...