As we approach the Independence Referendum vote, on terms and a day agreed by the Government, several issues are emerging that shine a light on the way in which our Political organisations work and what motivates many of us in our thinking. Last night Tom Devine speaking on Newsnight made clear his view that the Yes campaign did not represent a group of people and voters who are anti-British, but rather who are opposed to Westminster Governance and prefer a Holyrood Governance. Whilst this is not a surprise, perhaps it is worth considering how many of us would vote for a rejection of Westminster and our Parliamentary System. The rest of us do not have an alternative to choose from, but it would be a salutatory test if we did have a plan B for our Political structures. The sight of Gordon Brown offering a whole range of inducements and resources even in the light of a No vote, along with todays announcement that all three Westminster parties have agreed how they will give away our political silver shows just how much change is possible even with a semi-devolved form of the Union. What a shame these same parties were not more open with these options years and even decades ago. There is a lesson here for the people of the North East of England whose residents participated in a referendum almost 10 years ago on 4th November 2004. They voted against formalising the regional governance, but it was widely argued that had more powers been on the table, the vote may well have gone a different way. If Scotland does say Yes, or even if they say No, some in the North East may wish they could re-run their own referendum!
Finally there has been speculation about the future of David Cameron and even Ed Miliband in the event of a Yes vote. My own view is that Cameron and his deputy should resign before the vote, not because of the possible outcome of the vote, but because there has been no formal contingency planning for the outcome of the referendum. Of course there has been some last minute party political horse-trading as evidenced by Gordon Browns garage sale of our possessions, but Jeremy Heywood being quizzed yesterday in Parliament made it clear that the Civil Service have been instructed not to carry out any form of planning. It is clear that whatever the outcome of the vote that substantial change will be felt both sides of the Scottish/English border. How depressing that our Government has prevented their paid officers from preparing scenarios and options for the Government itself. Even Bernard Jenkin could not believe what he was being told yesterday, and he is a member of the Conservative Party. This surely is a dereliction of duty by the two Party leaders to make so many deals behind closed doors with neither our consent, nor the civil service planning.