Informed Decision Making

For CCThis post is by Nancy Jardine

The blog title phrase is used to cover many situations in daily life, including writerly ones and political ones. Many readers of this blog will know that, as a contributing author for around 2 years, I’ve written a number of posts that have something to do with my Scottish homeland. I’ve written things about Scotland which make me proud to stand up and say I’m Scottish. I’ve written a number of posts which have something to do with history, a subject I’m passionate about. In those respects, I am decidedly a YES person.

I don’t normally write about anything political but, today, my post is a wee bit political, and a lot constitutionally historical, since the situation my country is facing just now is not a usual one.

Thursday 18th September, 2014, is a day when the citizens of Scotland go to the polling booths to make a choice in a referendum. They will be voting either YES or NO to the question-

Should Scotland be an Independent Country?
Those who live in Scotland, over the age of 16 and who are registered to place a vote, will choose:
a) YES– Scotland becomes independent of the United Kingdom (UK). They would no longer need to accept whatever the Parliament in Westminster, London, decides for them and would become a separate country in all aspects of governance for the people of Scotland.
b) NO – Scotland remains as a constituent part of the UK and is ruled by the UK Parliament at Westminster in all major decisions.

James VI of Scotland

James VI of Scotland

The Union of the Crowns – 1603
Since 1603, Scotland and the other countries of the UK (England, Wales and *Ireland) have shared the monarch. Prior to 1603, Wales and *Ireland were already governed by England (Differing amounts of the island of Ireland have been governed, at different periods, by the Westminster Parliament). By 1603, the line of succession in England was gone because Queen Elizabeth I (1st) had no children to succeed her. The nearest in line to take over the throne was the Scottish King James VI (son of the ‘famous’ Mary Queen of Scots). He became King James I of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (consisting of Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland).

Between the years 1603 and 1707, although the ‘Crowns’ and monarch were shared, Scotland still had its own Parliament which conducted all decision making affecting daily life in Scotland.

The Union of the Parliaments – 1707
In 1707, the Union of the Parliaments took place and since then all major government decisions for the whole of the UK have been taken in the House of Commons and the House of Lords in Westminster, London.

Some may find it strange that although there was a parliamentary union between Scotland and the rest of the UK in 1707, for all the years afterwards Scotland still made its own local decisions on matters like Education; and Scotland has always had its own Judicial and Legal System. However, the money to fund them has come from block grants which have been allocated via the Westminster UK Parliament. This has meant the ‘purse strings’ have been in London since 1707 and the decisions Scotland can make within Education and Law have still had to be according to the funding allocated to them, and have come with limitations. There are many other aspects which are totally controlled from London like defence and taxation.

New Parliament building , Holyrood, Edinburgh

New Parliament building , Holyrood, Edinburgh

In 1999, Scotland regained a limited Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, Edinburgh. This gave Scotland more control over decisions affecting only Scotland, but it has had limited powers depending on the finance awarded from Westminster. Independence would give Scotland FULL powers over all informed decision making; FULL powers to collect our own taxes (personal and corporate) and spend them in a way that will benefit the Scottish people. Many on the YES camp believe a better, fairer and prosperous Scotland will emerge after independence from the UK. This is why this referendum ballot is so crucial. On the NO side, many feel to separate from England and the rest of the UK is too risky a step to make.

I believe most writers tend to make informed decisions on what we will do with our precious manuscripts. We decide whether to take all of our own decisions and self- publish, or we go with a publishing contract and have the situation where the publisher creates your books and then takes a ‘cut’ from sales. I haven’t yet self-published. I really admire and love my Edinburgh publisher but I can also see the value of taking all decisions with regard to my novels. I don’t think any choices that authors are likely to make these days will be uninformed ones.

During the last weeks I’ve been reading up the information provided by both the YES and the NO camps. When I place my vote next Thursday it will be as a result of an informed decision…just as it will be when I take my next publishing step with my time-travel novel for early teens.

Would you take a leap in the dark when voting for something momentous? Do you try to spend the time to glean as much information as possible to inform you before major decions are made? Do you sift through the facts available and decide that new horizons are very enticing?

I’ll leave you to decide what my vote might be.

Have a nice weekend!

Nancy Jardine writes historical and contemporary novels.

Amazon US author page

Also available from: B &N, Smashwords, Kobo, Waterstones,  Crooked Cat Bookstore

new crannog pic

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16 Responses to Informed Decision Making

  1. Doris says:

    A very ‘informative’ and thoughtful post. Major decisions are never as easy as right and wrong, black or white, there are so many questions and shades of gray. Whatever you decide will be right for you. Smiles! Doris

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  2. katewyland says:

    Good post. I’ve been wondering why this had come up now.
    Question: Is Scotland’s economy large enough to be self-supporting? Does it get extra support currently?

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    • Wranglers says:

      Those are thoughtful questions, Kate. Many, including eminent economists, say that Scotland is already self- financing and could be a successful, prosperous country. As a member state of the EU (European Union) the UK gets a form of support from the EU fund, but it also pays very highly into the fund. As a part of the EU, Scotland gets some of what comes back in grants to the UK for various things-for farming, fishing etc. Figures quoted just now say that the amount Scotland sends per head to Westminster in taxes is greater than what we get back.

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  3. Very interesting, Nancy. Since this is such a huge step for Scotland I would hope all voters would seriously take into consideration the ramifications of what could happen either way the vote goes. Being totally informed about what you are committing to is so important. I enjoyed the political history lesson of Scotland, and I know that whatever your vote is, it’s the one you feel is best. Thank you for a great post!

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  4. Thank you for an interesting look at your government. I try to make informed choices when it comes to my writing, but it’s not easy at times.

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    • Wranglers says:

      Abbie – I agree about the decisions regarding writing. They are so important to us and like the political one facing me this week it’s definitely not an easy decdision. Thank you for replying.

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  5. Nancy Jardine says:

    All those replies above were from me- I forgot to sign out, and sign in as me. You can tell I’m a bit distracted with family and country just now. 😉

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  6. sstamm625 says:

    Really interesting post, Nancy. Thanks for sharing the history behind the current referendum. Some decisions I make with my gut, but for something like this, I would want to gather all the information I could. I hope all the voters make thoughtful, informed decisions. I know you will. 🙂 I will be very interested in learning the outcome of the vote.

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    • Nancy Jardine says:

      Thank you, Stephanie. It’s nailbiting just now with the estimates being something like 51% NO and 49% YES. With only a few days to go it’s uncertain what the result will be.

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  7. Wranglers says:

    Nancy, I hope all the people in Scotland are as informed as you are. Please let us know the outcome. I did a lot of research when I decided it was time to publish. It took me a few years to decide. Thanks for your interesting post. There was a show on for awhile that was called Reign and it was about Mary, Queen of Scots. I don’t know how true it was to the actual Queen. Thanks for the interesting blog and photos. Cher’ley

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    • Nancy Jardine says:

      I can certainly let you know the outcome, Cher’ley. I’m not familiar with the ‘Reign’ series, but usually there’s a grain of truth and a lot more artistic licence for entertainment in them.

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  8. Mike Staton says:

    Reminds me of Puerto Rico. Every so often a vote is held to see if they want independence, retain commonwealth status or become a state. So far, they prefer commonwealth status. Scotland’s vote should be interesting. If the vote is for full independence, I wonder if you’ll need to establish a military force for defense or become like Switzerland?

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    • Nancy Jardine says:

      There would be many decisions that would need to be made after the event should Scotland choose Independence, Mike- defence being one of them. We’re not landlocked like Switzerland, so I can imagine that some form of defence would transpire.

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  9. Kathy Waller says:

    Very interesting post, Nancy. I was interested in James McEvoy’s statement that if the referendum passes, there’s no going back. There really is a lot to think about. I contend that if my ancestors had stayed at home, I’d be living in Scotland now and not having to deal with this Texas heat (and several other things I don’t admire). But if the Scots had stayed home, there’d have been no one to defend the Alamo, and Texas might not be here at all, at least as part of the US.

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