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Put 'Devo Max' on the voting caird.

See when you hear two folk giving you polar opposite sides of a story? Life’s taught me that it’s usually somewhere in the middle.

Like when the handbags come oot wae yer pal and each of you is wholeheartedly convinced the other’s entirely in the wrong. Granted, yous were both 8 pints and a few whiskey chasers deep. You’d been drinking since 2 in the afternoon, with the argument happening at 10 at night. The argument was born out of a disagreement on whether Che Adams and Lyndon Dykes can both play up front together for Scotland, only for it to get personal when yer mate slags the nick of yer barnet. Perhaps you go one more, planting the auld ‘see you next Tuesday’ after the criticism centred around the jeans he was wearing, reminiscent of a pair his maw was wearing the weekend prior. The argument continues, exaggerates, escalates… and it ends wae the both of yous walking away fae each other, arms clean in the air like yer about to clap to ‘Radio Ga Ga’ by Queen, now reducing the whole presence of said friend to the mere status of the football team they support.

And you wake up in the morning on the couch of a chosen ally. Splittin heidache, almost burstin at the seems fae the unaddressed rage you passed out wae. You say to your mate ‘what about that dingal last night eh? F*ckin pr*ck.’

Only for the chosen ally to go: ‘naw mate… you’re a dingal.’

FM Nicola Sturgeon recently produced the 3rd out of a series of papers outlining what an independent Scotland would look like should the Scottish people vote for it.

It talked about how Scotland would move towards a new currency, the ‘Scottish Pound.’ News that’ll make a lot of you scream at yer phones reading that the now, thinking back to all those times you got pied wae your Scottish notes south of the border. Nothing changes there.

It, obviously, has a lot mare depth than that. Scotland would need to set up their aen Central Bank so hings like yer pension are guaranteed. There would be a period of transition, perhaps for more than a decade, where we’d continue to use the dosh we have now. During which, interest rates, aw the hings that affect yer mortgage n that, will still be set by the Bank of England down south.

One of the big hings the paper talks about is rejoining the European Union. It’s unclear how long that would actually take… could be 5 years, could be 10 years til we’re at the races. But this is something the Scottish Government will be committed to doing given how Scotland voted back in 2017. You’d get yer European passport back, labour shortages wouldn’t be a thing here… a lot of the problems we’re seeing across the UK the now (besides in Northern Ireland who is effectively in the EU because of the lack of borders wae Ireland) would begin to sort themsels out again in the long term.

That doesny come without its aen issues but. We’d have to put a big border between us and England to ensure goods n that can be checked. This will cost a fair bit of money. FM Nicola Sturgeon is hopeful that the UK Government would agree about Scots being able to travel freely without a Passport to England… but the ball isny in our court there.

FM insists these are “teething problems” that can be overcome with “proper negotiation”… but sceptics will claim this language is all too familiar wae the Brexit carry on we’ve hud.

It’s not up to our FM whether she thinks the problems are insurmountable… the Scottish people will have their say on this toss-up. Would a border between Scotland and England bother you? Or even if it would, could a European passport persuade you to be alright with it if, all the while, the border between us and the rest of Europe was lifted?

Unionists will argue this discussion of borders is ridiculous… Independence supporters argue that the enforced exit from the European Union has forced this conversation, with a border between us and Europe already put up against our will. Coupled wae that, we’ve not heard a Unionist party yet say it is on their agenda to rejoin the EU, at least any time soon.

Perhaps this is why Scotland’s opinion is split down the middle on independence.

If you want a proper gauge of something, I always say look at what the cream cookies are sayin. End of the day, they’ve amassed all the information, opinion polls all the rest ae it. Doing so wae a team of experts, who have concluded how we can make money off punters… and they’re no taking a bet.

Paddy Power, for example, has ‘Stay’ in the UK @ 5/6. ‘Leave’ the UK is sitting at… you guessed it… 5/6. William Hill has gone for the same gee or take.

Probably cos it is such a huge trade-off to have so soon after the never-ending cycle of madness in Covid, Brexit and the Cost of Living. It’s another monumental change in our lives after so many that have happened so recently.

If I’ve learned anything in politics is that public opinion follows a hassle-free, comfortable life for the electorate and their party. I think it’s the same reason older generations didn’t fancy independence back in 2014. (Albeit, speculating) I think it’s the same reason Conservatives have done so well against Labour in recent elections, whose previous cohort of leaders oversaw the 2008 financial crash. It’s the same reason why Brexit and its upset to the British economy and workforce that the independence question is back in full swing. It’s the same reason the Westminster circus from party boy Boris to Trussenomics, that Labour is a shoe-in for the next General Election.

Folk want stability. People aren’t radical in this country… not anymore anyway. The most radical hing people do now is button bash sout controversial on their Twitter.

Look at the Scottish independence marches… they’re usually about 10 thousand people which, all considered, is a pretty council number. You’d think out of a country of 5 million people, a lot of which are patriotic as anyhin, more than 10 thousand would show up to a rally and raise support for their country’s freedom. Maybe they’ve killed the vibe wae how often they do them but even still. Folk canny be jeered.

SNP was a stick on at the last Scottish General Election to manoeuvre us through the pandemic because FM Nicola Sturgeon had been round the houses, got the T-shirt and some. Last thing we wanted was a wildcard in there at the helm.

Labour, a party miles off it as recently as a cuttla years ago wae that heavy Conservative majority, winning seats previously unthinkable in the red wall, is now a stick on at the next British General Election.

Coincidence? Naw. Like the SNP in 2021, Labour is now heavily odds on with bookies.

So if we’re a country split down the middle on the question ‘which option will be less likely to cause chaos similar to what we’re seeing just now,’ which, let’s be honest, is what everyone’s actually thinking… surely there’s another way to compromise this?

I asked Josh Scanlan, a Youth Officer for the SNP, on the Untribal Podcast what his thoughts were on ‘Devo Max’… short for ‘Devolution Maximum.’ Pretty much what it says on the tin. Maximum powers to Scotland without fully breaking away from the United Kingdom. A lot of folk imagine this as staying within the United Kingdom as a union of countries, sharing a currency without borders etc… but Scotland takes entire control of political and economic affairs. It would mean the Scottish Government takes full control of the collecting tax and how we spend it.

Scanlan, interestingly, pointed out that much of this was promised by the Better Together campaign in 2014 and that all we’ve done since then is going the other way. He felt this isn’t a realistic option to have on the table because the UK Government would not abide by it… and their track record so far adheres to that.

I disagree.

Not only was Devo Max absent on the voting card last time around, making anything else pure empty promises and speculation, but we’re also entering a new dawn of politics in Britain. Labour, a shoe-in to form the next UK Government, have had a history of devolution promises. Perhaps with some reasonable compromise and promises being put in writing this may actually happen. The Lib Dems, a shoe-in to form the next Opposition, have hands down said more localised decision-making is the way to go… but full independence is too rash with all the borders carry on. Heck, listen to Willie Rennie’s episode on the Untribal Podcast ‘Save it for a Rennie Day.’

It’s a very attractive offer to a lot of Scots.

Cos at the end of the day, it isn’t about patriotism. Scotland went down to Wembley and brought us back that famous 0-0 victory. We’re in the league above England in the Nations League. We’ve had our dunt of patriotism.

It’s time to put a sensible option on the table which I, personally, think would win by a landslide.

Isn’t that democracy?


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