Current Affairs Politics

A Return To London Rule Through A No Vote?

Albain - Alba (Scotland)
Albain – Alba (Scotland)

There is a general view abroad in Scotland that a “no” vote in the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence would represent a political win-win situation for the country. Even if voters were to register a ballot-box rejection of full sovereignty many believe that the British government would still be obliged to yield more authority to the Scottish government, a constitutional arrangement known as “devo-max” (the maximum devolution of powers from London to Edinburgh short of independence).

However in recent weeks several cogent observers have pointed out that in such an outcome it is far more likely that the British establishment will take the exact opposite view and having narrowly escaped the dissolution of their nation-state they will likely impose severe legislative restrictions on the autonomous powers of the Scots (and Welsh). Indeed the probable scenario would also see the clawing back of some existing areas of responsibility from the “national” authorities in Edinburgh and Cardiff and a tightening of control from London.

This has already been foreshadowed in the very public questioning of devolutionary powers in Scotland by Margaret Curran, a senior Labour Party figure in the country, and by the words of Andrew Neil, a leading Scottish-born journalist and pro-Union media presence, who has pointed out that a No vote will inevitably lead to severely reduced devolutionary powers in Scotland.

A significant number of people in Scotland may well choose to vote against independence in 2014 but they should be aware that in doing so they may be also voting for the British government to re-assume many of its previously conceded powers over their nation. A vote against full Edinburgh rule could just turn out to be a vote for a return to full London rule.

3 comments on “A Return To London Rule Through A No Vote?

  1. Have you seen the recent remarks from the Labour Welsh First Minster? Here :
    Basically only London can deliver Devo-Max and have no intention of doing so. If they had they would have pushed for a ‘second question’ which would most probably have won over a majority of cautious Scots. In the event they ruled out this possibility (which was just what the SNP wanted, or course).
    The Labour Party in Scotland, and now in Wales it seems, are having the ground cut from beneth them by London. How far can their socialist (ha!-bloody-ha!) solidarity be stretched? Will they have ever have the vision and courage to jump ship and represent their constituents rather than Imperial Central Office … probably not …


    • Thanks for the link, Marconatrix. Personally I believe that a No vote in Scotland will lead to the rolling back of some elements of devolution coupled with new legislative restrictions from London severely limiting devolved powers. Expect the London parliament to redefine and emphasis its “constitutional primacy”. Also expect restrictions on future referenda including stipulations that they must be UK-wide or UK-ratified to have effect. Scotland will no longer be able to decide its own future without approval of English (and Welsh/Cornish) voters.

      “However, the Scottish Labour leader – in what amounted to a split with her Welsh Labour colleague – signalled that the decision on whether to implement the changes would not be made by the Scottish people in a referendum, but would involve the rest of the UK.

      She added: “Of course implementing those proposals we need to talk with each other. For too long the constitutional debate has been about dividing Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom.”

      The Scottish Labour leader said she wanted a constitutional debate “across the united kingdom”.”

      If the Scots vote no to national independence they will bind themselves to Greater England forever. The writing is on the wall.


  2. totally agree – it’s independence or nowt!With a clawing back of powers from the Scottish parliament to be expected if the country doesn’t vote Yes.
    An argument might have been made for a UK wide referendum (and I am not sure how many English would have voted no) but Scotland alone it is.
    Bella Caledonia!
    May she choose wisely for her future and all best wishes to her and her people


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