People working in Scotland's third sector say enhanced devolution promises from Cameron and Clegg don't provide the best future for Scotland
Scotland’s third sector has rejected promises from the UK prime minister and deputy prime minister that a no vote in the referendum will mean greater devolution for Scotland.
Following Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Scotland last week, a TFN poll asked whether yes, no or enhanced devolution would be the best option for Scotland’s third sector.
It revealed overwhelming support for a yes vote.
Third Sector Yes holds to the principle that autonomy and self-determination are the building blocks of a fairer, just and equitable society which only yes will provide the starting point
Third Sector Yes, the body set up to promote the advantages of a yes vote for the third sector, has questioned Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s assertion this week that a no vote on 18 September will be followed by more powers for Holyrood.
Speaking on behalf of Third Sector Yes, Eliot Stark told TFN: “We have two fundamental problems with the vague promises of further devolution. The first is that history tells us it probably won’t be delivered.
“The second is that we don’t think it makes sense for the third sector in any case. The referendum is based only on two answers, yes and no. Enhanced devolution plays no part in the ballot and this was the choice of the Better Together coalition inclusive of the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats.
“Third Sector Yes holds to the principle that autonomy and self-determination are the building blocks of a fairer, just and equitable society which only yes will provide the starting point.”
TFN’s poll asks whether the status quo, enhanced devolution or full independence offers the best future for the third sector. As TFN went to press, it was sitting at 83% for independence, 14% for enhanced devolution and just 3% for the status quo.
Readers’ comments backed the findings: “The core question is would you rather spend money on nuclear weapons and illegal wars or on creating a socially and environmentally just society? It’s a no-brainer for those in the third sector. Voting yes is the only way to deliver that,” said Jim Bennett.
Others entering the debate on Facebook, however, argued that the best option for the third sector would be constitutional change at Westminster.
“The yes/no divide fails to address the fundamental and underlying mis/under representation in our democracy and the problems of both Scottish and Westminster government,” said Simon Jackdle.
“First past the post is no way to decide a government and we need to keep working hard to ensure our voices are heard in both Westminster and Scotland. Independence on its own won’t fix these underlying flaws, only a real change will.”
Currently, there is no body representing those in the third sector who oppose independence.
However, a Better Together spokesman responding to Third Sector Yes and TFN’s poll said: “All three Scottish parties who want Scotland to remain as part of the United Kingdom are committed to devolution and greater powers for the Scottish Parliament.
“The only way to strengthen devolution is by rejecting separation in September’s referendum.
“We can have the best of both worlds – a strong Scottish Parliament, with the guarantee of more powers for Scotland, backed up by the strength, security and stability of being part of the larger UK. Only separation puts that at risk.”