Andy Myles: A letter to undecided voters

Dear undecided voter

As a liberal, I have always believed in the sovereignty of the people – and that power should be kept as close to the individual as possible. That’s why I spent thirty years campaigning for a Scottish Parliament. It wasn’t nationalism that motivated me. It was the desire to bring the power of decision making closer to home.

I think the Scottish Parliament we established has been a great success and a huge improvement on a democracy that was becoming far too centralised at Westminster and Whitehall. I hoped that it would provoke many more reforms of the United Kingdom’s constitution. I hoped that it might lead to a fair voting system, an elected House of Lords and – above all – that we might move towards federalism, with equal powers for each part of the “family of nations” that we have in these islands. I wanted to see what David Cameron has called “a partnership of equals”.

I have concluded, with sadness, that I was hoping for too much. There is no sign of further significant reform coming from the South. The “more powers for Scotland” promises are, quite simply, not the answer. They will leave the UK even more unbalanced – and will leave the people across these islands with even more cause for frustration and discontent.

I have, accordingly, thought deeply about how best to pursue decentralisation and federalism in this situation. I have concluded that the best way forward is to vote Yes on September 18th in the referendum.

This will mean that we become “independent” – although we are already autonomous and the border already has a meaning. It is just that that meaning will alter marginally. But it will mean, also, that we can play a part as an equal partner in the emerging federation that is the European Union. It will also mean that we can build new, fairer and more stable relationships with the other nations in our immediate British family.

As a liberal, I am suspicious and wary whenever I see concentrations of power growing. It means that power is being drawn away from ordinary people, and the further away it gets, the less open to control and scrutiny it becomes. This is the foundation of my political views, but it needs to be constantly adapted to the circumstances we find ourselves in. We need to ensure that the EU is kept firmly under control and democratised. We need a wholesale reform of our local government here in Scotland too. In particular, in my opinion, we desperately need to curtail the overwhelming power being accumulated by global businesses.

I didn’t ask for a referendum, but now we have it, this vote presents us all with the opportunity to apply our ideas and principles.

I shall be doing so by voting Yes. I hope you will too.

Yours faithfully
Andy Myles

Andy is a former Chief Executive of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and now works for a network of environmental charities.


4 thoughts on “Andy Myles: A letter to undecided voters

  1. How do you feel now? I voted yes and have only found this now. Im gutted but listening to Scottish Parliament back in Holyrood talking about the way forward.
    I ask because your take is similar to mine and why I voted yesyes, although I suspect you have a great deal more substance behind your beliefs.
    I have found the economic argument a difficult one. Those who voted No in my circles did it based on personal circumstances and possible loss of jobs, very real threats by employers to move south! We are so entrenched in the elite, corporate, capitalist system, how do we disentangle ourselves without huge economic implications?
    Hope you’re doing okay. I know a lot of Yes voters who aren’t or weren’t but are getting reengaged. There’s a danger of us becoming toxic if we don’t watch out. There are a lot of middle-class, comfortably off Scots who voted No to keep things exactly as they are, they may even be fed-up with devo-max!

  2. September 17, 2014 • 16:57

    If anybody believes that there will be extra powers then they should be getting treatment,for they should not be out alone.There will be no extra powers there is a better chance of powers being removed and Holyrood turned into a shopping mall.Each time they have said more powers they lied no ifs no buts blatant lies,I remember when 11 SNP M.P.,s went to Westminster and we got promised the MOD was moving to Glasgow,and there was even the St.Enoch hotel left standing to be used as the offices,next election(because some people believed them) SNP dropped to 4 M.P.,s,and see how the MOD is thriving in Glasgow? no neither do I,and that was 1974,everytime the SNP vote went up so did the promises,and when the vote went the promises disappeared,then 1979 “Vote no and we will give you something better than what Labour are offering you” and then,and then still nothing,and some still want to believe that is taking stupidity to a new level.If some of them think that if they don’t keep their word we will have a new referendum we wont be allowed the British state has form for lying cheating and being stupid enough to cause wars,and civil unrest,they wont keep their word because they cant keep their word,its not up to a back bench Labour M.P. who never attends and the three “leaders” of the Tories,Labour and Lib-Dems,they have to go to the country with all the promises put in their manifesto and thats when UKIP comes into being,oh please don’t believe them don’t be so trusting they are liars.Another point the man that let the banks have free reign,followed by the man that let the bankers off,and is making us pay for their gambling and £million bonus’ you cant trust them.
    Reply ↓

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  4. Andy, I am with you in terms of democracratic choices, but I think we need revolution in our way of doing things rather than evolutionary change that you appear to advocate. We end up at the same place in agreeing to vote ‘Yes’ but we need to fundamentally divest ourselves of the power structures and priveleges which are intrinsic to the British state.

    The opportunity to write a new constitution, to fundamentally change our global ‘power’ stance by getting rid of Trident and enhance the influence of our island and rural communities in the decision making process is too good a chance to miss. This truly is all or nothing.

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