3 rounds and we’re out the Union
Round 1 saw the loss of Scottish political power. That will become evident when Lord Smith produces his package based on the constitutional ramblings of Gordon ‘fag packet Brown’. Then what? Scotland cannot ‘take’ more powers, they have to be ‘given’ by Westminster to which we transferred our sovereignty on Thursday 18th. September. It is now in the hands of English MPs, to give or not to give.
In England, there had been no discussion prior to the promise made by Cameron, Milliband and Clegg. That is why now, in England, more powers to Scotland is subjected to the kind of scrutiny missing when the Scottish media punted ‘the Vow’ . The English interest is now in play, and it has political power. The ‘more powers’ leg of ‘the best of both worlds’ will soon be seen to be broken. The other leg, the claim that we can shelter inside the economically powerful UK economy, will break as well. The austerity experienced so far will soon look in hindsight as a benign deliverance. No wonder Milliband left the deficit out of his speech.
Against that reality, we have to rebuild Scotland’s political power. The Westminster election next May offers the opportunity to do so. Far from fleeing the political field, plunging Scotland into the despair that overwhelmed us for a decade after 1979, there is a political army now engaged, drawn from Yes voters, who are determined there shall be a Round 2, to advance towards Round 3, to get independence. The soaring membership of the SNP, Greens and SSP, shows that whoever believed it was over for a generation didn’t know the calibre of the Yes people who have emerged in the recent campaign.
Next May is too soon after the referendum result to go for independence. We can all regroup around Devo Max – that is all the powers in Schedule 5 of the 1998 Scotland Act, except foreign affairs and defence. If the SNP, SSP and Greens can agree an allocation of seats to enable a single ‘Devo Max Now’ candidate to run in each constituency, while Labour, Tory and Libdems split the No vote, Scottish political power can be re-established, and we could even hold the balance of power at Westminster. That would be Round 2.
The Holyrood elections of 2016, by which time many who voted No will bitterly regret it as the economic axes fall, will be Round 3. Yes will have been conclusively proved right. No referendum will be required. A majority of votes and a majority of seats on a manifesto call for a mandate for independence will suffice. Unionists who thought it was all over – you now have tiger by the tail.