Friday, September 19, 2014

Scotland: the silent majority was silent no more

The winners of the Scottish referendum are a federal Britain and a federal Europe, which have now become a credible proposition. Gordon Brown made a speech the day before the referendum that seems to have been decisive in the clear victory of the NO vote. It is a great federalist speech (which starts with “The silent majority is silent no more…”) without using explicitly the F word. But others have been much more explicit.
Chris Bertram said: “So I hope there’s a “no”; “yes” could turn things very nasty, both in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK. But DevoMax brings its own problems. If Scotland gets so much devolved power, then why should similar local control not be vested in other parts of the UK? In short, what we need is a federal structure with Scotland, Wales and a selection of English regions being the constituent Länder. Eine Bundesrepublik Britannien, in fact. If Ed Miliband and Labour are smart, then they will make the call for a UK-wide constitutional convention part of their campaign for 2015.”
And Will Hutton said: “The only offer that can now persuade Scotland not to secede is to trump that half-cock quasi-federalism with a proper version. Westminster's party leaders must offer to create a federal Britain and irrevocably commit to a constitutional convention to discuss its implementation if Scotland votes no. This is not "devo max", or further incremental powers to control social security or taxation. This has to be the real deal – a wholesale recasting of the British state so that Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and all Britain's great cities and towns have the autonomy they need to create the societies and culture they want but within the protective umbrella of Great Britain. This really would be the best of both worlds, and not just for Scotland.”

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