Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Extent of the Threat of Scottish Independence

The reverberations (if not first indications of volcanic upheavals) from a vote on Scottish independence are being felt in Ireland.  Calls for a referendum in 2016 [no need to explain the significance of that date, Ed.] on the uniting of the six counties of Ulster with the rest of Ireland are being resisted by the UK government.

Under the Good Friday accords such a referendum will be called by the secretary of state for northern Ireland if there is clear evidence of a majority of the people in northern Ireland supporting Irish unity.

Owen Paterson ['Owen'? Is he Welsh? Ed.] has stated that recent polls show no such inclinations.  They might after a successful referendum in Scotland though, and with four years of campaigning.  No wonder the Westminster government wants any Scottish referendum sooner rather than later; and is even more keen on yes/no rather than a devomax evolution that is implicit in the devolution models used by parliamentary draftsmen when Labour so unwisely tried to divide-up the UK into Conservative-proof chunks. 

The people of the north-east of England voted 5 to 1 against a regional 'parliament' there. But even that cry is being taken up again by the 'the North has no voice under the wicked English Tories' sections of the Labour party.

If Scotland chooses independence the fragility of the rest of the federal United Kingdom will be wholly exposed.  


Nick Drew said...

if Scotland achieves independence (in some meaningful and self-evidently viable manner, resolving all the knotty issues), then doesn't almost every distinct region in Europe clamour to go the same way ?

which brings us back to an earlier point of yours ...

hatfield girl said...

Most of those European regions are devo-maxed aren't they though,ND? And they are in the eurozone, so now far removed from the UK federation's components' statuses. The UK is such an oddity in the EU it couldn't really be held up as an exemplar any longer.

Labour intended to fully integrate the UK into the EU and set its party-self and the UK up on that basis. We've now got the wreckage of those plans strewn across the whole country with wholly unexpected effects - like the boost to Scottish independence - as well as expensive dead-ends - like the regional government structures now being abolished.

Labour itself is still dancing to European centre-left tunes and policies (Miliband didn't formulate and initiate the anti-banker political targetting, that's an established German SPD policy) which is why it feels so irrelevant and remote from UK politics on the ground.

Whether Scotland applies to join the EU should it vote for full independence from the UK will be theirs to choose; which raises the further difficulty for the rest of the UK that Scotland may get the opportunity much of the country has been refused: a vote on continued membership of the EU. As the residual power the UK would stay in and really they don't want to.

Then there is, as you so succinctly put it ...' some meaningful and self-evidently viable manner, resolving all the knotty issues', to be not just resolved but even clearly identified, yet.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"Labour so unwisely tried to divide-up the UK into Conservative-proof chunks."

Whereas what they may well get, will be to lose Scotland for ever to the SNP, leaving as a residue, a Labour-proof and strongly anti-EU England.

Way to go, Mr. Blair! But then I suspect he probably hates the Labour party anyway.