Political deals that ignore what the people want

A new set of poll data has just been released in the UK on the issue of support for Scottish independence. The numbers probably had David Cameron dancing Gangnam style round 10 Downing street as it revealed that support for full independence had dropped to under 25%, leaving the independence campaign with a huge obstacle to face.

However this poll was done a few months ago before a deal was struck that decided the format of the vote - a straight yes/no ballot. At the time this was being done there was a 3rd option on the cards, so called DevoMax; Scottish government controls the vast majority of policy that would affect us - usual cut offs were military & foreign affairs but in some versions this was also devolved - while still maintaining the UK as a single nation. Unfortunately both sides seemed to prefer a straight yes/no vote (probably on the idea that voters will choose their side rather than the easier middle ground)

So support for this third option must have been pretty low for it not to be worth putting on the ballot, right? 67% chose it on the poll, a greater than 2 thirds majority in favour of it.

This really bugs me as I want to see a lot more freedom of government in Scotland but the case for full independence is shaky (for now). Now that people have to decide between a complete unknown (independence) and the status quo we'll likely see a repeat of the AV referendum from 2010 - a complete whitewash as people were scared about the result of a yes vote. While I'll be voting for independence it is worrying that people may decide that since they can't vote for their favoured option they'll just decide it's not worth it and vote no.

So anyway, back on topic, if we assume this poll was correct for the whole population that is a huge group of people that want to see a change in how government is run, while still maintaining the UK. Unfortunately they are going to be ignored by politicians who would rather have people choose between their preferred options. Yes I know that choosing between options given is kinda how democracy works but if we show that an unoffered option is what we prefer is it right to say we can't have it? Should they not allow us to show we support it?

It defies the entire point of us choosing something if we don't get at the very least a proper choice (no change, a little change, lots of change) to limit it to a yes/no question deprives people of voting for what they really want and defies the entire point of the referendum (letting Scotland vote on what they want for the future of the country)

Should government be allowed to limit our options when it comes to these kind of issues? Inside reason of course, I'm not saying we should be given every possible option from A to Z but if there are two options preferred by politicians and there is a reasonable middle ground should we not be allowed to choose that instead?

Are there any cases in your country/state/whatever where politicians have decided to limit options available for clearly political means rather than actually offering what the public want to see?

P.s I realise this is probably a 'grass is green, sky is blue, politicians screw people over' kind of topic but I think because it's something I'm invested in it bugs me a bit more than usual and rather than simply bitch it might as well be productive.

I don't see any problems with such questioning. If anything, a simple yes/no is in favour of the segregationists. Wanting the advantages but not the disadvantages is just wrong.

They could pose a question like "Do you endorse Scotland becoming independant and becoming a shitty third world country? yes.no" and it would still accurately reflect the situation.

All that stuff about breaking up the UK is rubbish, spread by people who haven't got a clue about how countries are run. Petty smallminded regionalism has never helped anyone, it won't start doing so now.

For the question in general: Is such a thing good or bad?
Eh. It's kinda hard to give a clear-cut answer. Ultimately, yes, a Democracy should represent the people. However, a Pure Democracy is going to run itself into the ground, because it's inefficient and can easily be swayed by demagoguery and charisma. So we have a Representative Democracy, where we don't always get to vote on every single issue, but the average moron that is the general public don't get to have a direct say in every issue either.
It's a toss-up, but I'm going to have to land on the side that doesn't allow for short-sighted incompetence by uneducated people that are pissed off that they have to actually sacrifice something for their social securities. Or, it only allows it once every four years.

Blablahb:
I don't see any problems with such questioning. If anything, a simple yes/no is in favour of the segregationists. Wanting the advantages but not the disadvantages is just wrong.

They could pose a question like "Do you endorse Scotland becoming independant and becoming a shitty third world country? yes.no" and it would still accurately reflect the situation.

All that stuff about breaking up the UK is rubbish, spread by people who haven't got a clue about how countries are run. Petty smallminded regionalism has never helped anyone, it won't start doing so now.

...where to start...i could take serious offence if i was thusly inclined...but then i'm not "a nationalist" per say...its probably enough to say Ireland (which both has and had less people) didn't become "a shitty third world country" in the 1922 nor did Sweden or Norway when they split from their prior union in 1905.

i don't know how you think "countries are run" but "small countries" are not inherently "worse off" than that larger countries. that is hugely overly simplistic economic thinking. the real key to understanding countries "standard of living" is wealth generated per person and the idea that "small countries" are inherently poorer per capita is a fallacy.

Scotlands in/outs are no where near as imbalanced as you may have been led to believe by the near consistently hostile English right wing press*. indeed Scotland economically out performs most of England with the only constantly glaring exception being London (which is continually subsided by the rest of the UK).

the Scottish economy is a vibrant and diversified modern post industrial service based economy (just like England), its percentages of public/private sector work and employment/unemployment are within a few percentage points of virtually any nation in modern Europe.

our infrastructure is not "third world", our education system is not "third world", our people are not "third world", thus our self created and drawn in 3rd party jobs are not "third world". we do not economically depend on English "hand outs" or exporting natural resources or the few physical products you can personally relate to as coming out of Scotland. in short the chances of us ever becoming a "a shitty third world country" are almost practically non existent.

we cannot raise the same gross amount from personal and business taxation as the UK as a whole does that is true but the thing is we don't need to spend that amount to deliver roughly the same level of government to our "small" population either.

"wealth", "standard of living" and population numbers do not line up as being straight line equivalences. a country is not a simplistically a magical pot of money from which everyone withdraws a share. people both create money via their labour and represent a market in which there is money to be made by others.

simply compare these two lists:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita
and it starts to fall apart.

the worst the UK treasury could suggest after just recently examining the figures under the governing coalitions direction was to suggest that Scots would be personally 1 pound worse off a year if the country left the union....a single solitary pound...

and Scotland IS NOT "a region" (as in "smallminded regionalism") any more than your country is.

as for "regionalism has never helped anyone, it won't start doing so now." tis funny that because i read stories every day now about how public services in England and Wales are being ripped apart buy the torys ideologically driven privatisation and cuts agenda and then...well and then i often relax...because i'm a Scot and our institutionalised "petty regionalism" means that we decided not to institute those particular ideologically driven policies and guess what ? we're actually doing just fine doing other things to deal with the problems at hand that we find more politically agreeable to ourselves instead (*and this is one of the reasons the English right wing press so consistently hostile towards Scotland. they cannot stand the plurality in implemented policy because its very existence invites comparison.).

now you can call that "regionalism" or "local democracy" or even "state rights" under libertarianism but i find the underlying suggestion that politics is "one size fits all" the world over (which is what you're suggesting if taken to its ultimate extension) deeply troubling.

at the end of the day if the USs Constitution is still a valid document around which political debate should take place in 2013 then so to is the Act of Union (a document with far less inspiring history and "democratic" legitimacy).

for the record "Devo Max" is a "Unionist" policy and its simplistically about the majority of taxation being raised in Scotland staying in and directly funding Scotland and the Scottish Parliament gaining control over said taxation and its spending rather than the current and oft misunderstood Barnett system where Scotland pays its all "wages" to the UK treasury in the form of all our tax revenue and then we are handed back what they decide our "pocket money" should be in the form of a block grant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_fiscal_autonomy_for_Scotland http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnett_formula

one thing is certain: the UKs current constitutional set up with 4 "parliaments" of varying powers (one of whom has total control over the all the others) and an upper house of "lords" as it currently exists is not going to settle down comfortably into the status quo any time soon because it is a fundamentally broken mess of half-assedness and undemocratic gerrymandering and what's more ALL the political parties acknowledge this fact...when they are in opposition.

imho if the UK cannot grab the problem by the balls and institute a system akin to federalism (which to me seems the blindingly obvious way to reincorporate the Union on a modern, democratic and "fair" footing) Scotland will eventually break away.

the oft suggested idea that if the individual personification of Alex Salmond is defeated in this particular referendum cycle "Scottish Independence" with somehow be wiped from the political landscape in Scotland is completely laughable.

indeed i could quite easily see another vote, dependant on circumstance, returning an overwhelming "yes" vote in less than 5 years.

the vast majority of Scots when polled are actually in favour of independence IF they are sufficiently satisfied they would not be affected in the negative. you can call that a few things but underlying political support for the concept of "the Union" is not one of them.

Unlike Wales, Scotland has the capacity to be independent. Seeing the current British Government which is deliberately sabotaging the future, it might be in Scotland's best interests to separate.

The British Government has mainly used intimation and underhanded tactics so far when dealing with Scotland. It should shape up soon.

Welcome to the stupid world of trying to have referendums in a broken political system. That said, I really don't understand why the nationalists aren't advocating Devomax as an option. It's a logical transition state towards independence which might actually be achievable at this point in time.

That said, Scotland is notoriously difficult to accurately poll, and it's generally expected that support for independence on the day will be higher than polls suggest, so maybe that's what everyone is gambling on.

Broadly speaking.. I support devolution. I'm not entirely sure about breaking up the union, but I think the union needs to reform away from its historical role as an English dominated hegemony and towards a genuinely equal partnership of home-ruled states if it's going to survive at all. The current system is ridiculous.

Governments don't care about the people. They always ignore what the people want. Only when "doing what the people want" is the same as "filling their own pocket with lots and lots of money" or "preventing lots and lots of money from disappearing from their pockets" is when "what the people want" happens.

evilthecat:
Welcome to the stupid world of trying to have referendums in a broken political system. That said, I really don't understand why the nationalists aren't advocating Devomax as an option. It's a logical transition state towards independence which might actually be achievable at this point in time.

That said, Scotland is notoriously difficult to accurately poll, and it's generally expected that support for independence on the day will be higher than polls suggest, so maybe that's what everyone is gambling on.

Broadly speaking.. I support devolution. I'm not entirely sure about breaking up the union, but I think the union needs to reform away from its historical role as an English dominated hegemony and towards a genuinely equal partnership of home-ruled states if it's going to survive at all. The current system is ridiculous.

Pretty much this. Were the option available, I would have voted for Devo-Max, since it might have led to the federalised UK you discuss, and I rather like that idea; I have no issues at all being part of the same nation-state as English people, or anyone else for that matter, I just don't consider it fair and democratic that the Scottish people are subjected to the political mores of the South of England, more particularly The City and their political cronies, when we are so evidently and consistently different in our views.

As it stands, I will likely vote for independence, because the balance of evidence seems to support the idea that we could adopt a roughly Scandinavian model successfully, and because it offers the prospect of eventually being part of a more closely integrated Europe. Whichever way the vote goes, I suspect English Unionists are in for quite a nasty shock, as it's evident that they are expecting that reducing the vote to a binary choice will absolutely demolish the prospect of a Yes result, and I rather suspect we'll see the opposite.

Sleekit:

Scotlands in/outs are no where near as imbalanced as you may have been led to believe by the near consistently hostile English right wing press*. indeed Scotland economically out performs most of England with the only constantly glaring exception being London (which is continually subsided by the rest of the UK).

It is flat wrong that London is subsidised by the rest of the UK.

Exactly the opposite is and must be true: the enormous amount of GDP produced in London and the amount of tax revenues the extremely high earners there pay mean London (and surrounding counties) as a region is subsidising everyone else.

evilthecat:
Welcome to the stupid world of trying to have referendums in a broken political system. That said, I really don't understand why the nationalists aren't advocating Devomax as an option. It's a logical transition state towards independence which might actually be achievable at this point in time.

If memory serves me correctly, Salmond wanted the devo-max question asked on the referendum in addition to the question of full independence. In negotiations between Cameron and Salmond, they agreed that Salmond can choose when to call the referendum but he's only allowed to ask if Scotland wants full independence. Personally i think Cameron got the better deal in that agreement, because he knows that the Scot's are more likely to vote devo-max than risk full independence.

Karma168:
Are there any cases in your country/state/whatever where politicians have decided to limit options available for clearly political means rather than actually offering what the public want to see?

During the last decade of the 20th century, there was talk of Australia becoming a Republic. There was a referendum, but because the current PM was a monarchist, he made sure it wasn't a yes/no question.

Agema:

Sleekit:

Scotlands in/outs are no where near as imbalanced as you may have been led to believe by the near consistently hostile English right wing press*. indeed Scotland economically out performs most of England with the only constantly glaring exception being London (which is continually subsided by the rest of the UK).

It is flat wrong that London is subsidised by the rest of the UK.

Exactly the opposite is and must be true: the enormous amount of GDP produced in London and the amount of tax revenues the extremely high earners there pay mean London (and surrounding counties) as a region is subsidising everyone else.

how much did the dome cost ? how much did the Olympics cost ? how much did the jubilee cost ? how much does the the new tube extension cost ? how much will the new airport cost ? you think London alone pays for these massive construction projects it gets because its the massively centralized capital of the UK ? virtually all of Englands central government jobs are in London and the country as a whole pays their wages. as for "the city" its a virtual tax haven and i really wouldn't put that much faith in your "extremely high earners" paying all that much tax. the sultan of brunei supposedly payed a grand total of 35 last year.

anyway i'm prepared to concede the point if you don't see it like that.

Sleekit:
how much did the dome cost ? how much did the Olympics cost ? how much did the jubilee cost ? how much does the the new tube extension cost ? how much will the new airport cost ? you think London alone pays for these massive construction projects it gets because its the centralized capital of the UK ? virtually all of Englands central government jobs are in London and the country as a whole pays their wages. as for "the city" its a virtual tax haven and i really wouldn't put that much faith in your "high earners" paying all that much tax. the sultan of brunei payed a grand total of 35 last year.

anyway you can see the per capta public spending here : http://www.isitfair.co.uk/reports/public/oe%20ukpublicfinance.pdf

London gets almost double what most of the rest of the UK gets.

if its so affluent why is that ? (same goes for the south east to a lesser extent)

You need but scan the first page of the source you provided to end this debate. Paragraph 3:

"As in previous years, the analysis shows that it is only the wider South East (Greater London, the South
East and the Eastern Region) that made a positive net contribution to the UK public finances in 2006-07"

* * *

London does require a lot of public spending: it has higher infrastructure requirements. Such is the nature of large cities. Many big construction projects go on there because they will be most successful there. London, for instance, is a by a vast margin the UK's tourist hub. A Millennium Dome in Manchester would be visited significantly less, and one in Grimsby, Aberystwyth or Braemar far less. It's also important to remember that London is a city with enormous number in deprivation as well as the highest concentration of wealthy.

It is true that the top brass civil servants tend to be in London. However, vast amounts of the grunts and bureaucracy are not: they've been packed off to places like Cardiff, Liverpool and Newcastle. Phone up HMRC or the DVLA, you won't be speaking to someone in London. In fact, most regions have the public sector as a higher %age of their economy than London, although this is also a reflection on London's comparatively vast private sector income.

It is true lots of high earners have extravagant wealth avoidance schemes. Not that the Sultan of Brunei is a good example - as a foreign national/resident he only (barely) pays property taxes. And VAT I guess, but let's not get bogged down in digression. The bottom line is that even with their dodging schemes, high income individuals still pay a vast chunk of the UK's tax income. And they are massively concentrated in London and the south-east.

tiswas a silly link, lettuce never speak of it again ;)

ps just on the subject of tax in general you (all maybe) might be interested in these two snippets i noticed while browsing:

In 2011 ActionAid reported that 25% of the FTSE 100 companies avoided taxation by locating their subsidiaries in tax havens. This increased to 98% when using the stricter US congress definition of tax haven and bank secrecy jurisdictions.

Furthermore, a Government Accountability Office study found that, from 1998 to 2005, 55 percent of United States companies paid no federal income taxes during at least one year in a seven-year period it studied. A review in 2011 by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy of companies in the Fortune 500 profitable every year from 2008 through 2010 stated these companies paid an average tax rate of 18.5% and that 30 of these companies actually had a negative income tax due

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_avoidance

 

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