“The way is now open for the UK Government to say that there is no time or way for Scotland to exercise its acknowledged right of self-determination, for no other reason that it has the power to do so. As others have noted, this turns from one of consent to a union of (narrowly interpreted) law.” Michael Keating on Scottish self-determination and UK sovereignty in the light of the Supreme Court ruling.
As epitaphs are written for the Union of 1707, prematurely or not, the author argues that unionists misunderstand it: it’s a process under constant negotiation.
‘It is not clear how well this visible unionism will work in Scotland….As the debate over independence resumes, however, we will see more competition between the UK and Scottish governments for ownership of spending initiative and over visibility.’
‘Surveys have shown that almost half of English voters are content to leave the matter to the Scots, with many of the rest having no opinion. There appears to be little appetite for coercing Scotland, should Scotland really want to leave.’
‘Westminster is also extending its reach to some detailed local policies that are clearly devolved and local. It is not clear, for example, why UK ministers should have a say in the decision about a new concert hall in Edinburgh…’
A Scottish Citizens Assembly could breathe fresh air into the political debate. But it poses risks for all the parties, argues Michael Keating.
‘There is both and economic and a social case for expanded health care. As the Commission notes, inequalities of wealth and income are massive. Independent or not, Scotland will have to have a serious debate about taxation.’
‘EU member states are still divided on the recognition of Kosovo. The time may have come for some better European international principles about who has the right to self-determination and how’.
It is likely, therefore, that the UK Government will retain the key powers indefinitely and devolve only cautiously. It seems unlikely that the UK Government will transfer them all back or that the Welsh proposal for joint policymaking will be adopted.
“Scots are only slightly more egalitarian than people in England, while support for redistribution has declined across the UK. People will pay for specific services, notably health, but are not keen on redistribution. They want more powers for Scotland but are less keen on different policies or taxes.”