The Policy Trap

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Policies: a poisoned chalice

Wings over Scotland, in a recent analysis[Source?], posed this problem for the independence movement:

Independence supporters are keen on a number of left-of-centre policies: scrap Trident, pay higher taxes for better public services, stay in the EU, etc. But each of those policies also has a significant number of opponents, so the more policies you load on to your program, the more voters you alienate. The result is that the more full your prospectus is for the new country, the more you reduce your chances of winning to zilch with no cigar. - Our words, not Wings'.

However, there are two possible counterviews to this:

  1. Some of these policy benefits can only come with independence, so if you really want a fully functioning social-democrat economy, for example, you might need to take the risk of having to give up the monarchy.
  2. With independence, it will be Scotland that decides on these policies, not the UK. So you might tolerate a policy you disliked if it had been arrived at after proper debate by a legitimate democratic process.

This site's stance is that policies in an independent Scotland - and particularly those that seriously affect prosperity and national self-respect - need to be aired and debated, but always with the understanding that what is being offered is not a policy proposal, but an exploration of what matters and what doesn't, what's feasible in terms of public approval, and what would give the best benefit to our society. All Scottish voters will have to come terms with these questions - that is what politics is about. Please post any thoughts under this head on the Discussion page.