Thursday, January 14, 2016

A new Act of Union?

I saw in the Herald today an article about a proposed new Act of Union which a cross-party group is putting forward. The plan is to replace the existing devolution settlement with a new federal structure, with the hope that this will end talk of Scottish independence.

It's actually a somewhat interesting idea. I'd vote for it, and indeed I'd take that settlement over actual independence. (Though I do think we need some other reforms as well - including a total replacement of the House of Lords. Note that that's 'replacement', not 'reform' - it's now past the point of no return.)

However, it's rather a moot point - it won't ever happen.

The article suggests that any such revised structure would need to be agreed by all four component nations, and further suggests that Holyrood might reject it on behalf of Scotland. But that's actually not the issue. This proposal wouldn't even get that far - it's doomed to be rejected by Westminster on behalf of the UK long before then. This may be a nice idea, but sucessive governments in Westminster have shown they have no interest in making sweeping Constitutional changes to the UK - every step towards greater devolution, and indeed devolution itself, has been as a result of outside pressure, and has been an exercise in giving away the minimum power they think they can get away with.

Which leads me to wonder why this has popped up now, and why the Herald thinks the incomplete thoughts of someone who isn't a member of the government should be front-page news. I'm sure it's nothing whatsoever with us having some important elections coming up...

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