Wales politics

Result will have 'colossal impact' on Wales and UK

Union and Scottish flags Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Whatever the referendum's outcome, the status quo will not continue, says Kirsty Williams

There is no doubt that the vote over Scottish independence next week is one of the most important votes our country has ever faced.

Although only 8% of British citizens will be heading to the polls, the result will have a colossal impact on the entire United Kingdom.

Whatever the result, one thing is for certain: the status quo will not continue.

The referendum offers us a chance to promote a new Union, rather than stubbornly defend the old.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats offer people a more positive future: Not one of isolation, but one in which all corners of the United Kingdom are indeed stronger and better together.

I firmly believe that Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom.

We all benefit from a stronger economy, greater national security and a powerful international voice that would be hard to match as separate states.

However, Scotland must have more powers to determine its future.

To simply do nothing in the event of a No vote cannot be an option.

It's clear that the constitutional make-up of the entire UK will have to change even if the No side wins.

Liberals have been advocating greater home rule for Wales and Scotland for over a century, and the Liberal Democrats have championed a federal solution for decades.

We want to bring a wider range of decisions closer to the people they affect, enabling local solutions to be found that take into account local circumstances.

For many years my party has called for creation of a constitutional convention.

This is why in 2010, the Liberal Democrat Manifesto called for a citizen's convention to draft a new constitution for the people of Britain.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Kirsty Williams argues all parts of the UK benefit economically from being in a "family of nations"

While Wales and the rest of the UK must gain stronger powers, I have never understood the logic used by the SNP and Plaid Cymru to argue for independence.

Both parties rightly recognise the vast benefits that come from being part of the family of nations that is the European Union - the economic prosperity, the millions of jobs, the cultural experiences.

Yet both parties fail to apply this same reasoning to the United Kingdom - itself a family of nations that musters its economic and cultural strength from all four corners of these isles.

The Liberal Democrats in government have already delivered significant powers for Wales.

This momentum must continue.

The rest of the UK has to gain greater devolved powers after September, and I will not allow Wales to be left behind in any such discussions.

We must be given the tools we need to build a stronger Welsh economy, create a fairer society and provide the opportunity for everyone to get on in life.

Caerphilly Labour councillor Ray Davies explains why he is proud to back Scottish independence here.

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