• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

THE CASE AGAINST DEVO MAX

I WAS saddened - though hardly surprised - by the one-sided interpretation of Bank of England governor Mark Carney's recent words in the press and broadcast media.

The Bank of England governor stressed that he was not making a case for or against Scottish independence, but presenting a balanced view ... He spoke of the benefits of currency union for both an independent Scotland and the UK, but also explained the clear risks, warning that a durable monetary union "requires some ceding of national sovereignty".

This leads us back firmly to the central constitutional issue. In a world where we are all inter-dependent, every nation must decide how and when to enter into relationships that share sovereignty, as the UK does in relation to Europe. The issue is not whether this can happen - it does all the time - but rather who makes the ultimate decisions on these relationships and limitations of sovereignty.

Carney committed the Bank of England to work with whatever plan the two governments agree. If the vote is Yes, there will clearly have to be a time of intense negotiation, in the spirit of the Edinburgh Agreement in which both sides promised to respect the result and work creatively and positively for the future.

In fact, be it Yes or No, this is vital. It may determine whether post-referendum we have a nation united, or one divided and resentful.

I remain to be convinced by either side but it does seem that, if the vote is Yes, we already know what we are getting. If the vote of No, we so far know only what we are NOT getting. It is time for the No campaign to tell us of their Plan B. If they win, what are they committed to offer Scotland?

But please, please, not more Devolution, even of the Max or Plus variety. There are two problems with devolution - a word that the Constitutional Convention which created the Scottish Parliament never used.

First, it leaves ultimate power over Scotland firmly in the hands of Westminster - "Power devolved is power retained".

Second, it leaves the UK as a whole unchanged and unreformed.

The question is this: are the creaking, dated and failing institutions of the UK capable of the kind of radical reform that could recognise and adjust to Scotland's secure autonomy (not devolution)?

That would indeed be a triumph of hope over experience - but my experience leads me to believe at least in minor miracles.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

211465