I WAS interested to read Iain Paterson's comments on devolution-max (Letters, January 23).
He hit the nail on the head with his question on how it might fit with the governance of England and the UK as a whole.
This is the nub of the matter and has, for now at least, to be one of the reasons that it cannot appear as an option on the referendum ballot paper. It may be that over the next year or so someone will put the meat on its bones but as none of the major political parties in Scotland is backing it that has to be unlikely to happen. The devo-maxers' case is not lost, however. If the Yes vote loses in the ballot it is unlikely to do so by much and that, coupled with what I expect would be very pro devolution-max opinion polls, would compel the Westminster and devolved governments to seriously look at the future structure of the UK. In other words, a form of devo-max will happen by default in the event of an independence "no".
How might that future UK be governed under devolution-max? It would have to be a form of federal state as there would be no workable alternative which gave the constituent countries an equitable voice at the top level of government.
I suggest that the House of Commons at Westminster would have to become the English Parliament with the same range of devolution-max powers enjoyed by Holyrood. What Wales and Northern Ireland do I'm not sure.
It would be up to them but they could also go for devolution-max if they wished or could stay as they are with limited powers devolved from the English Parliament. We would need to establish a new federal parliament with responsibility primarily for defence and foreign affairs. We would also require a much smaller Cabinet.
If that federal governance was given to a smaller (that is, less expensive) and wholly elected House of Lords then we also solve that festering problem at the same time.
19 Kirkfield Way, Livingston.
I NOTE with interest Roth Niven's views on the voting "rights" of expats in the forthcoming independence referendum (Letters, January 23).
A relative has lived in Germany with her Austrian husband for the past 23 years. While she retains her UK citizenship and will always consider herself Scottish, she has no plans ever again to live in Scotland. If she and her husband do leave Germany, it's much more likely they will move to Austria.
Even leaving aside the cost issue, why should someone like her have the right to vote on a matter which is never going to affect her beyond, perhaps, having to exchange her UK passport for a Scottish one at some future date?
I do not wish to see the future of Scotland decided by the votes of people who are never going to have to live with the consequences.
Dr David B Griffiths,
41 Haston Crescent, Perth.
WHEN I worked in England, in two spells totalling 17 years out of a 45-year career, I voted there and took part in their civic affairs. I had no direct say, despite being Scottish, in Scottish politics, and rightly so. Roth Niven is contributing to Canada's economic development – one of the many Scots who have done so in that wonderful nation – and no doubt takes part in the election processes of Canada.
He has, however, no say in what happens in Scotland, and he has no part currently in its economic and social development. Where do we draw the line – Scottish grandparents, or more distant relatives? Those of Scottish, English, Irish and whatever ethnic origin who live, work and vote in Scotland are the only people with a direct right to a say in the constitutional decision.
Stefan G Kay,
7 King's Cramond,
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