As a new case for Scottish independence emerges and #indyref2 looms, the latest Sceptical Scot podcast looks at the case for federalism as the best route to true community empowerment.
‘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.’
“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.”
The author hears Sir John Sawers, ex-MI6 chief, tell a Harvard audience how Scottish independence won’t happen even though the UK will be diminished by Brexit – and that includes its voice in Washington.
‘To argue for the UK to stay in the EU’s single market and customs union is to argue to stay as close to the status quo as possible while giving up vote, voice and a seat at the table. Faced with a more damaging type of Brexit, it sounds sensible – until you look at the democratic cost. Compared to being an EU member state it is surely absurd’.
‘A real-world illustration would be that of Northern Ireland or Scotland seeking to secede from the UK following Brexit. When the UK exits the EU, it will drag the two regions (which both voted to remain) out of the EU. That will greatly affect the Scottish and north Irish economies and their international relations…’
‘The political landscape has been transformed by Brexit and Corbyn. New political cleavages, more complex than the simple Yes/No binary of the Indyref, have emerged. The terrain is now more challenging for the SNP. But if they are able to tack successfully into the new political winds, these challenges can be met’.
‘Of course, it is possible to close this (budget) gap by explicitly reducing certain expenditures or by assuming higher tax revenues – either through increased rates or faster growth. Others will argue though, that in the context of independence, there may be additional costs. The debates will no doubt continue.’ And indeed they do…
‘The rest of us – Yes, No or Undecided – need to make a claim for changing Scotland regardless of its nation status. For power to reside here, rather than elsewhere. This must take the form of articulating distinct responses in Scotland to another era of crisis’.
‘At the end of the day, the UK Government and Parliament (subject, of course, to the constraints of parliamentary arithmetic) can legally have their way on what happens to repatriated power, even if any “will of the people” justification for doing so would be specious. But…’