“Intergovernmental relations across the UK should be redefined on a stronger, formal footing and codified in a new constitutional framework which enhances arrangements for self-government and secures mechanisms for effective isles-wide collaboration.”
As the SNP leadership campaign crawls to the finish post, time for a Big Debate on the political and socio-economic future in Scotland and the UK
David Torrance looks back on the first UK constitutional referendum – the 1973 N Irish border poll. “As Prof James Mitchell has observed, the 1973 referendum ‘suggested that sovereignty rested with the people of Northern Ireland and not Parliament at Westminster’, a suggestion arguably reinforced with respect to Scotland more than 40 years later.”
“Muscular unionism didn’t work in Ireland in 1921 and there is no reason to expect it to work now. Ignoring the votes, and the people elected, in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, is not unionism. It’s imperialism.”
“The process of recovery has begun for Scottish Labour. It can now focus on winning back what Anas Sarwar describes as ‘soft SNP’ voters. This will not be plain sailing. The SNP remains a formidable campaign organisation…” Prof James Mitchell on how Labour’s revival has put the SNP on the defensive.
A conversation about a future which has already been decided from the top won’t encourage people to talk. Genuine consensus must emerge from the bottom up.
“Holyrood needs to revive its commitment to power sharing and subsidiarity. At its inception, the Scottish Parliament could legitimately claim to be bold and innovative. It can be again.”
‘Devolution was grafted onto an unreformed centre, an unreformed state. Without addressing what is literally the central problem, the prospect of constitutional stability looks remote. There are glimmers of hope. The assumption that there is no demand for reform in England ignores recent, albeit rudimentary, developments in need of leadership, elaboration and mobilisation.’
‘… a different kind of constitutional structure from a typical federal state, but a structure which discharges the same functions…For Scots, endlessly split over the unhelpfully binary independence question, change in the UK offers a different option which not just constructive unionists but thoughtful nationalists will be attracted to…’
‘…presenting a policy package combining real home rule for Scotland in its own right, and a longer term commitment to the UK becoming a partnership union, would show that Scottish Labour was prepared to contribute constructively to the debate about the future relationship of Scotland with rUK, rather than being perceived as the junior partner to the Tories in a hard-line unionist front”