Scotland has voted No to independence. I am proud to have played my part in the local campaign to maintain our membership of the UK, although naturally disappointed that a majority of those who voted in Glasgow voted Yes.
The process of devolving further powers to Holyrood has now begun, and it is now up to Scottish politicians to explain not which powers they want to have devolved, but what they will do with those powers. The debate about what constitutes “Devo Max” or any of the other combinations of powers are utterly meaningless to most Scots. What matters is what kind of Scotland can be built now that the referendum is behind us.
During the campaign, the SNP failed to explain how their predicted transformation of Scotland would be achieved, a failure which I believe led directly to the majority rejecting their prospectus. However, new powers for the Scottish Parliament will soon become a reality. That means that MSPs from all parties must say how they will use them. Will income tax be higher or lower than the UK’s in future? What about the future of the council tax? How much will future Scottish Governments borrow, and what will that extra money be spent on?
No party will be able to evade such questions. The sooner we can seal a deal on further devolution, the sooner we can end 50 years of constitutional navel-gazing and actually, finally start delivering the changes politicians love to talk about.
The independence debate is over. Now let’s debate the policies we want to implement.