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Thread: United Kingdom survives ...

  1. #1
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    Default United Kingdom survives ...

    Results are out on the Scottish independence referendum - 45 per cent in favour, 55 per cent against, on a whopping 85 per cent poll based on an incredible 90 per cent registered electorate. Thanks to the complacency (or perhaps excessive caution - or both) of UK national politicians in their conduct of the "no" campaign, the Union only took a near-miss this time. The end of the matter ? Perhaps not.

    Thursday's referendum arose out of an agreement between the Scottish devolved government and the Westminster parties which arose, in turn, from a commitment to holding a referendum on the matter in the manifesto of the Scottish National Party in a previous successful election. Within the last week, the British government and the main opposition Labour Party, panicked by the sudden prospect that their anticipation of an easy victory over the separatists might prove misplaced, entered into a number of commitments to further devolution of powers to the Scottish Assembly without, however, being terribly specific. A degree of devolution of fiscal powers. This will be no simple matter, since it renders more crucial than ever the long-standing "West Lothian Problem" - how the powers of Scottish Westminster Members of Parliament might be limited in their power to vote on "English" affairs of a nature decided for Scotland in Scotland, over which English MPs have no say. Then there is the little matter of the Northern Irish and Welsh Assemblies, which will also look for similar concessions. All this plays into the ongoing political crisis facing Prime Minister Cameron in his own Conservative Party, in which the decades-long war between pro-and-anti European Union factions continues. An in-or-out referendum on UK EU membership has been "promised" by Cameron for the next Parliament (that is, should he still be a serving Prime Minister in that Parliament). The unease among Conservative MPs is by no means calmed by the presence, to their Right, of the EUrophobe United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) which threatens Conservative marginal seats, and which will light upon any sign of Tory "weakness" on matters European to promote their own electoral appeal.

    Already, Cameron has shown signs, if not of rowing back on last week's commitments, at least of temporizing. The enhanced devolution will now be delivered "in the next Parliament", following preliminary measures to be taken in this. Perhaps more worrying for Edinburgh is the suggestion that enhanced devolution for Scotland "must" be solved in the general context of UK devolution (N.I., Wales) and, most worryingly, with the solution of the "West Lothian Problem" that has evaded solution for decades. Should Westminster fail to deliver on these commitments to a sufficient extent by the end of this Parliament, the Scottish Nationalists would undoubtedly claim that the referendum had been won on the basis of bad faith - in which case it is quite possible that another SNP electoral manifesto commitment will have the Scots headed towards another referendum well before another generation has passed. Interesting times, North of the Border ... Yours from Arbroath, Declaring, JR.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: United Kingdom survives ...

    Mr Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, has announced his intention to step down as leader of the Scottish National Party. This is not really surprising. Salmond was firmly identified with the pro-independence campaign to date, and was scarcely helped by his failure to deliver a "yes" majority in his own electoral district of Aberdeen. Incautious references about how the issue of independence is now closed "for a generation ... perhaps for a lifetime" probably labeled him as a defeatist, and conveyed him even more quickly to the haggis-heap of History.

    On person who has made no such declaration is Salmond's most able deputy, Nicola Sturgeon (no - not kidding), a Scottish Parliament member for Glasgow. She is overwhelmingly likely to succeed Salmond as party leader when he steps down following their forthcoming Party Conference at Perth. Already, the mood in Scotland appears to have changed, at least among advocates of independence. Little has been heard today from unionists; on the other hand, an increasingly strident and bitter line of comment is arising from the losers along the lines that their country has been conned by London, which will now work to bury most of the promises made by them in the last week to secure their victory. Sturgeon will be well-placed to exploit this anger and bitterness if - as looks very likely - the UK government fails to deliver what it promised, and in good time. If it does not, and the Scots Nats include a referendum pledge in its next electoral manifesto, the drive towards a fresh referendum in surprisingly short time may be on the cards.

    A bit like the end of "Braveheart", really - but without the sex and gore. Yours from Bannockburn, hiding in the Pits, JR.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    "Here we come again !!!" (NB - not a photo of Nicola Sturgeon MSP)
    Last edited by JR*; 09-19-2014 at 11:00 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: United Kingdom survives ...

    Quote Originally Posted by JR* View Post
    hiding in the Pits, JR.
    Or Picts?
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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