So on Saturday, Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats made a speech in Glasgow talking about the need to develop a new blueprint for a new constitutional settlement for a stronger Scotland within the United Kingdom.
Willie is right that a new constitutional settlement is needed but he is wrong as to who needs that new settlement.
It is the UK that needs a new constitutional settlement.
It is the UK that needs a Claim of Right.
A Claim of Right that says the British people are sovereign.
Historically, it has been the Scottish people who have been sovereign not the English. Westminster has always been sovereign rather than the people Westminster sought to represent.
But that is the best thing about being in a union.
Scotland can take the best ideas from England & the rest of the UK and make them our own and the rest of the UK can do the same.
Scotland needs to lead in the UK for a new constitutional settlement not just for Scottish interests but for all of Britain’s interests as well.
The UK needs a Constitutional Convention that brings together wide-ranging views from across civic society and from all political parties.
It will be no doubt incredibly difficult to give balance to all sides of the debate and indeed all nations and regions of the UK, but that is my point.
A union that does not know or does not seek to know or understand how to best balance the interests of all is a union that is doomed to failure.
A union whose political leaders will do anything to appease one section or nation within it, whilst neglecting the needs of others is a union that is doomed to failure.
Our political leaders are at the moment throwing everything trying to keep the union together by trying to achieve a No vote in next year’s referendum.
Instead of proposing a bold, radical idea for a new political and constitutional settlement that will bring our systems of governance into the 21st century, our leaders prefer to tinker at the edges of a broken system.
Dear Joan McAlpine
As a constituent of the South of Scotland region, your constituency in the Scottish Parliament, I was disheartened to see your blog on the Daily Record’s website comparing the union to domestic abuse.
For the record, I hate the marriage metaphor when describing the union. What’s next for the “unionists” in that argument? “Stay together for the kids!” i.e. Wales & NI.
If anything the relationship is more like 4 kids in a playground. England being the biggest therefore thinking it has more rights than the other 3 kids or maybe England just thinks its being protective of the 3 littler kids in the big bad playground when it isn’t.
That being said there are some things I agree with in the article. I don’t think Scotland or any community within the UK should be dependent on Westminster.
I believe whether your an individual or community (however big or small) you should have the power to shape your own destiny.
Yet, I don’t believe in Scottish independence. Why?
First, as I’ve blogged before, independence will lead to parliamentary ping pong like we haven’t seen in over 300 years. My only question to you and Alex Salmond is whose up to bat first?
My bet is on Salmond, his ego is far too big.
Having that parliamentary ping pong will not be good for Scotland or the rest of the UK but then again the last time that happened, it resulted in the Act of Union, so maybe that is your secret plan. To go independent just to renegotiate back in on better terms.
The second reason and this is far more philosophical than the first and one the SNP still fail to answer.
What is a “nation”?
Define for me, what definition of a “nation” are you using?
Is it because once, long ago, Scotland used to be a Kingdom and therefore a nation? If that’s true, then is Strathclyde a “nation”? After all, Strathclyde used to be a Kingdom before Scotland. Or what about the Kingdom of Fife?
For me, my “nation” isn’t Scotland. My “nation” is and I hope always will be the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. (N.B. no mention of Scotland in that title)
I hate the fact, that after 305 years of the Kingdom of Great Britain and 211 years of the United Kingdom, we still use in our every day talk, language that says we are not united, that we are not one nation. We still refer to the midlands which are in the south of Britain, not middle.
Maybe I should be proud that even after all these years, there are still distinct identities. Yes, but the same is true of Strathclyde and the Highlands, they are culturally distinct but we still don’t use divisive language in Scotland that clearly states that the people north of antonine’s wall whether it’s to the north west of antonine’s wall in the Highlands or north east as if they are something other.
The answer to dependency in the UK is not independence, its a federal UK, where everyone in the UK has the freedom to control their own destinies.
The problem with the Act of Union and its subsequent amendments and the devolution since, is that it exists. The problem with it, is that it is simply bad.
We need a new agreement from everyone in the UK. It needs to state why the UK exists, what its for and it needs to outline a new type of democracy, a style of democracy that is fit for the 21st century and one that is capable of adapting.
This post was going to be something quite different. It was going to be a “What Everyone Has Been Saying About the Independence Referendum” after all there has been a lot of news coverage over the weekend. Cameron stepped in to say that he will put a clause into the Scotland bill going through parliament at the moment that will give the Scottish parliament powers to hold a legally binding referendum on Scottish Independence if he holds the referendum in the next 18months.
According to Andrew Sparrow’s live blog apparently George Osborne has been chairing the ministerial committee on Scotland and led the discussions in cabinet. Apparently George is not the “union’s biggest fan” and sees the referendum as a win/win for the Tories given that if Scotland leaves, it takes 59 seats with it which only 1 is Tory.
The coalition has been divided over how to tackle the referendum after LibDems opposed the mandatory 18month limit on the SNP holding the referendum. Quite rightly i might add.
While Nick was in Scotland on Saturday, he said that Independence was an extreme option.
Today, we had Moore in the Commons posing legality questions over the SNP holding the referendum and giving Holyrood the power to legally hold the referendum.
Then of course we had the SNP at the same time announcing the date or rather season of the referendum to be in Autumn 2014. Thats 2 and a half years away. There has been a whirlwind of activity on this, hopefully, i’ve caught everything thats been going on.
Will Cameron and Osborne try to bring the referendum closer who knows.