What is the best future for the third sector?

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As the debate heats up, we're asking whether or not Scottish charities would be better off in an independent Scotland

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16th May 2014 by Alex Turnbull 19 Comments

Which is the best future for the third sector?

Poll results (total votes: 1054)

Which is the best future for the third sector?
Scottish independence
Enhanced devolution
The status quo

Two recent TFN blogs have highlighted some of the arguments for and against Scottish independence.

Gavin Corbett from Third Sector Yes argued that backing independence will result in a better society, while Melanie Ward who works for an international development organisation believes the third sector is better off within the UK

With Prime Minister David Cameron visting Scotland this week to promise enhanced devolution for a post-referendum no-voting Scotland, the time has come for many of us to make up our minds.

Don't be shy, please leave a comment to let us know what you think and help get the debate going across Scotland's third sector.

16th May 2014 by Ally

A core value of our sector is self determination. For me Independence is not about the big political parties, it's about the right to be able to ensure decisions about Scotland's future are made by the people who live & work here. I also think the debate so far has sent a clear message that Scotland as a community wants a bigger stake in it's own future rather than sitting back and waiting for others to do it for us. Big political parties will need to be very different post indy and I'm looking forward to this. A more inclusive and participative society where we all come first! Let's get on and make this happen!

16th May 2014 by Mary O' the Colonies

A country with a written constitution based on principles of social justice, collective responsibility and appreciation of diversity will reinvigorate the Third sector. It will provide a platform for creative and aspirational endeavour, and rekindle a national characteristic that has been eroding in politically stagnant Britain - national pride.

16th May 2014 by Kirsten Maclean

Increased devolution or Devo Max is not on the ballot paper!

16th May 2014 by Jim Hart

Westminster idea was to have private sector supporting the Third. So far the Lottery contributes, in a single week, a similar amount as the entire private sector since the idea inception. Scotland has a community culture with a fair and sharing ethic. An independent Scotland will be attentive to the "fair and share" practice and service offered by the Third Sector. This is counter to the market based principle offered by Westminster where supply/demand and competitive practices favour only the biggest and strongest.

16th May 2014 by Jim Bennett

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 3rd Sector. Voting YES is the only way to deliver that.

16th May 2014 by Chris

Independence would offer us - Scotland's Third Sector - an incredible opportunity to help build a better place those with whom we work. I don't consider myself a 'nationalist' any more than someone who votes No - both Yes and No result in us being part of a nation state. The question is which will enable us to achieve more. We've tried to influence Westminter for decades now - can we honestly say we think they take any notice? It's not perfect at Holyrood but it's a heck of a lot better.Independence is simply the normal state of affairs for any country. So why not?

16th May 2014 by JM

Hi there, Unfortunately, the poll is easily compromised to sway results so you are unlikely to get the accurate reflection of the industry opinion that you wish. A simple clearing of cookies allows you to vote as many times as you wish.With reference to the debate, the key thing to keep in mind is whenever either side presents a particular argument, make sure it passes the 'politics or power' test: if that outcome relies on a particular party being in power in either Holyrood or Westminster then it is white noise. If it demonstrates a route to better political structures, where we can more easily identify and influence those that weild the power for the benefit of our sector, then it is relevant.I haven't seen this from either side yet.

16th May 2014 by Fred Shedden

It's really a binary choice - stay in the UK or become independent. Enhanced devolution is not on the table. The various Unionist parties talk about it but in the event of a no vote does anyone seriously believe that Westminster would devolve more powers to Holyrood?

16th May 2014 by Iain McAlpine

And of course, we believe Mr Cameron, as he (or any other previous "London" government) has EVER lied or hidden the truth from Scottish people & voters!! YES ALL THE WAY!!

16th May 2014 by Malcolm May

Enhanced devolution and/or a federal UK set up is not on offer.

16th May 2014 by John Cunningham

Enhanced devolution is not an option, the Westminster tories of all 3 colours blocked that option a long time ago.

16th May 2014 by Jules Mac

If it was on the ballot paper, 6 months ago I would probably have gone for Devo Max (it just seemed to me like 'one step at a time'). But since it's not on offer, I agree with Jim Bennett - it's a no-brainer for the Third Sector to vote Yes. Can anyone who works in the Third Sector in Scotland say they think Westminster is serving us well?? Labour are hardly any better, and they look like losing the general election (again) anyway, no matter how we vote. Yes means a government that we choose. I know that sounds like a novelty, but it's the norm in every other country! It's been a bit of a journey, but I'm a firm Yes now.

16th May 2014 by Mary O' the Colonies

JM - the political structures you crave are only likely to happen in an independent Scotland and if you get involved to make them happen.

22nd May 2014 by Ocean

I agree with Ally below, I have come to the decision that it is not about pensions, wealth or nuclear arms, for me it is about growing up, making decisions in tune with our own needs and being responsible for the results. I am in favour of independence for Scotland and I am an English woman living here for 25 years. There is a great deal of moral back bone here that has been lost in Westminster. We can create governance that we can trust and have faith in.

23rd May 2014 by Jules

Ha! The votes were coming in steadily over the past week from those who read TFN, always in broadly the same 80/15/5 proportions. Then all of a sudden someone in the No campaign gets all his or her pals to vote - and a big wadge of No votes come all in one afternoon. Very funny! Did they think no one would notice?

23rd May 2014 by JM

Excellent! That only goes to demonstrate the ridiculousness of such a poll. I have to say, I'm very far from the 'bettertogether' camp but yet to be convinced by what's offered by full independence, but I'm steadily put off by the endless spin on either side. If something is measurable, it had to be watertight, otherwise it's rubbish. Surely we, in the sector dominated by outcomes and impacts, know that?!

24th May 2014 by Jules

JM it was always more of a test the water type poll, and i don't think it was being spun by anyone until all these 'enhanced devo' votes started turning up en masse in the same day. The comments underneath were from folk in our sector. It's a shame it's been hijacked now, as I thought the poll, and more especially the comments and discussion, were interesting.

24th May 2014 by JM

The comments are still interesting. I have found third sector colleagues, trustees and volunteers to be fairly evenly split - much like the wider population. And I have found the discussions to be really interesting and thought-provoking, ranging from how either independence or continuing union ultimately impacts the most vulnerable, what it means for management of charitable bodies, what it means for funding and fundraising, how communities and individuals are given a better voice. Every single one of these discussions have had really good points on both sides and are worthwhile and productive to the 'debate'.

24th May 2014 by Andrew

I think creating a better society does not depend on whether we are governed from Westminster or Holyrood: an independent Scotland's administration would face the same constraints as the UK's does. I think constant pressure for more federalisation on a model similar to Germany or the U.S. is the prudent course. Achieving independence this September would be uplifting but carry an unacceptable degree of short and long term economic and political risk.