Westminster and the three devolved governments should conclude a new constitutional settlement for pooling sovereignty within the UK, with fresh powers and competences given to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to control their people’s destinies. Otherwise, it will only undermine the current devolution settlement and assume even greater central powers in the name of national (UK) sovereignty’.
‘The polls do not indicate a pro-independence surge, but after the shock of 2016 only a fool would predict the outcome with confidence. Westminster could in principle refuse to allow another referendum, but emulating Madrid’s handling of Catalonia would surely not be the right course of action.’
‘ The story of betrayal is already being constructed. It is a dispiriting prophecy that foretells we will still be arguing about our relationship with Europe, and only that, in four years’ time’.
‘In the continental pre-summit debate, Brexit hardly gets a mention. The June summit is seen as the great test of President Macron’s ability to deliver some form of credible reform plan. The precise details may be less important than a sense of a clear direction of travel – the impression that the EU is willing to look beyond its familiar muddle and fudge and take charge of its own destiny.’
“With the UK taking Scotland in a direction that most of the public do not support, the alienation of Scotland from the rest of the UK should be of great concern – however it appears that London’s attention would only be secured if there was growing support for Scottish independence.”
‘It’s time to think what was supposed to be unthinkable in the Brexit negotiations over the last 12 months: that England will wave goodbye to Northern Ireland as a necessary price for Hard Brexit, giving Northern Ireland a special status within the UK and towards the EU….’
‘Identities are complex and it appears that Britishness, while slightly related to views on Brexit, was much less important in differentiating between groups than English identity was…’
‘The government should be wary of making further promises to the fishing industry which cannot be guaranteed. The terms and conditions that the UK accepts for the relationship with the EU after the transition period may represent further disappointment for the UK fishing industry’.
‘It would be unreasonable of the Scottish government to object to temporary reservation as a matter of principle…Equally, it would be unreasonable of the UK government to insist that such temporary reservations can be without limit of time, just to give themselves leverage in the negotiation of the replacement. The scope for compromise is obvious, and as a result this legislation… can be dropped.’
‘It is not true to say nationalisation or state ownership is forbidden by the EU. There are plenty of models of ownership in Europe, often involving workers sitting on boards or devolved regional governments making laws to support local economic development.’