Scottish Referendum – English & Scottish Students Influence Outcome But Get Come-Uppance

I previously highlighted a large number of students had emigrated to Scotland for at least a 3 month period before the referendum all with the intention of campaigning for Better Together. I expect all of the foregoing registered in Scotland thereby gaining a right to vote.

The English Labour Students Vice-Chair Events & Communications wrote in his blog. This summer I SPENT ALMOST TWELVE WEEKS in Scotland with the Better Together campaign. Over those weeks campaigning to keep Scotland a part of the UK I had some great experiences and met some wonderful voters, being asked in for tea and a blether on countless occasions.

A LOT OF PEOPLE LIKE ME, from other clubs in England, came with me to Scotland to volunteer in what is the most historic vote of our generation. The reason I chose to spend my summer campaigning in Scotland is simple. It’s central to my values as a member of the Labour Party that we achieve more together than we achieve alone, that stands true for the nations of the UK as much as for ordinary people.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) and the National Union of Students Scotland (NUS Scotland) all fully supported the Better Together campaign, to the hilt. Then expecting their views would be given credence and their voices would be heard before and to the exclusion of any political parties that supported Better Together they wrote a nice letter to Mr Carmichael asking that they, as campaigners be afforded access to him so that they would be able to plan strategy post the No vote. They were sorely disappointed when their requests were totally ignored. Politicians alone would be in charge of any and all measures to be put to Westminster. The letter stated;

Dear Mr Carmichael – A New Politics, a New Democracy and a New Scotland

Congratulations to yourself and the Better Together team on the result of the Referendum campaign. The debate over the two and a half years has been exciting and has engaged people in unprecedented numbers. It has also offered a vision of how a more just and equal society might be created provided the Scottish people can work together to achieve those ends.

The result will hopefully act as the catalyst we need for people, communities, and organisations across all sectors – third, public and private – to work together in a new way to create real change in a new Scotland.

SCVO, STUC and NUS Scotland strongly believe that to deliver fundamental change in Scotland we need to significantly change the way we do things.

We want to see a citizen-led process that works to form Scotland’s new constitutional settlement – a new way of doing democracy and making decisions in Scotland, that puts the people first. This must go beyond the existing model where government consults with communities and involve genuine ownership of the process by the people.

Such a process should, of course, include civil society organisations such as our own which represent those in workplaces, communities and students. But it also requires a commitment to new ways of engaging citizens and small communities of interest more directly.

As well as shaping Scotland’s new constitutional arrangement, this process must consider other aspects of accountability and community empowerment. It would also provide the foundation for the building of a successful social partnership model, similar to those which exist in many successful small countries in Europe.

Our organisations, and the millions of people in Scotland that we represent, need to know and trust that the people will not be locked out of what happens following this referendum.

We are therefore writing to you to ask you to endorse a citizen-led process to ensure the people decide the next steps for Scotland.

This citizen-led process, rather than one led by politicians alone, would have two elements – firstly, consideration of more powers for the parliament and, secondly, consideration of how we empower our people over the decisions that affect their lives:

1.The citizen-led process looking at powers would potentially keep to the timeline proposed by Gordon Brown, but crucially, it would take the powers offered by the three main unionist parties in the campaign as a starting point and have a mandate to look beyond them.

2.The second element of the citizen-led process would look beyond constitutional powers, to how we can empower communities and citizens in the decisions that affect their lives. This would likely have a longer timetable, perhaps in time for the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016.

The benefits of a citizen-led approach is that we will show that we wish to start as we wish to go on, genuinely changing how we make decisions in Scotland, empowering the people of Scotland over the decisions that affect their lives.

The SCVO, STUC and NUS Scotland hope that you will agree to an initial meeting with us, to agree the basis for the citizen-led process we describe and as the start of a process involving a wider range of civil society organisations.

We all recognise that as well as opportunities, Scotland faces significant challenges in the months and years ahead. Those challenges will be easier to face if citizens feel genuinely empowered to make a difference.

We hope you will agree and we offer you the support of our organisations and our members to make this happen.

Best Regards.

Martin Sime: Chief Executive, SCVO

Grahame Smith: General Secretary, STUC

Gordon Maloney: President, NUS Scotland


Lord Smith of Kelvin

Johann Lamont MSP, Leader Scottish Labour Party

Willie Rennie MSP, Leader Scottish Liberal-Democrats

Ruth Davidson MSP, Leader Scottish Conservative Party​
They didn’t need to wait long for an answer – events of 1 October 2014

The three Unionist parties were last night at each other’s throats over constitutional reform, as a row over “English votes for English laws” threatened to derail the timetable for more devolution that was promised after a No vote.