'“The referendum of 2014 is about democracy. The Scottish General Election of 2016 is about policy'

By Kevin Williamson

There is widespread confusion among some politicians and media pundits regarding the independence referendum planned for Autumn 2014 and the Scottish general election scheduled for May 2016.  Many pundits are treating the two events as if they are the same thing.  They are not.

This cannot be stressed, underlined, or shouted from the rooftops loud enough.  2014 is a referendum on relocating power, relocating the tools of democratic governance, from London to Scotland.  2016 is about the people of Scotland picking up these tools and using them in any damned way we choose.  I’ll say it again:  2014 is about DEMOCRACY.  2016 is about POLICY.

timeline to 2014 was included in the Your Scotland, Your Referendum consultation document but there is also a need to spell out the four main stages of the Independence process from now until May 2016.  To summarise:


Referendum Bill presented to the Scottish parliament, debated, amended voted on and passed.  White Paper published.  The Westminster parliament will also decide its position on Scotland’s referendum.


The citizens of Scotland make a YES or NO decision on whether they agree/want Scotland to be an independent country.


If Yes wins the current SNP Scottish government has a popular mandate to negotiate a settlement with the London government, based on the terms set out in the White Paper.


After negotiations are concluded with London the people of Scotland go to the polling booths in May 2016 to elect the first ever government of an Independent Scottish state.

If Yes wins in 2014, an exciting but unprecedented factor comes into play for the first time in Scottish history.  From May 2016 onwards ALL government policy will be decided by the people of Scotland as expressed though elections – rather than deferring back to London.

This is normalisation. It is why we’re involved in the Yes campaign.

Kevin Williamson is Vice-Convenor of the Scottish Independence Convention


  • Personal accounts, sent in by Yes Scotland supporters, telling us in 100 words or less, why they are saying yes to an independent Scotland.
  • In these early days of Yes Scotland, we are giving top priority to two things: engaging with the many thousands of people who have contacted us to get involved and offer support, and putting in place the structure and the resources the campaign will need to deliver the right result for Scotland.
  • Today we are delighted to introduce the members of the Yes Scotland advisory board who will help drive the campaign towards referendum success in autumn 2014.
  • The members of our new advisory board come from a wide range of backgrounds. Over the next few weeks they will introduce themselves to you on this site, but in the meantime here's some brief descriptions of who they are and what they do...