UK Politics is dead… Long live a ‘modern federalism’…
After the 18th September, the UK as we know it is set for some radical changes in the way it conducts it’s politics… No matter what the result on 18th September, voters in Scotland have been given the right to change British politics forever.
The UK will not continue to function in the way it currently does after the results come in. Should Scotland vote to stay in the Union on polling day, there will have to be a radical reform to UK politics for us all to live peacefully in a ‘United’ Kingdom . Should Scotland choose to leave, the ripple effect will change the face of rUK politics forever. Whatever the result in Scotland, the Welsh government, and even a number of English counties, will want their slice of the independent cake.
Should they stay, Scotland’s parliament will be given ‘extra powers’, transferred to them from a central government in Westminster. Scotland and Wales already have full political control over their decisions on education, health, local government, transport, planning, culture, the environment and other areas affecting it’s people’s daily lives, but these extra powers, given to Scotland’s parliament if voters say ‘No’ to the question; “Should Scotland be an independent country?”, will include controls over the amounts of tax it keeps, as well as full power over welfare. The Scottish parliament will effectively run it’s own country, but receive the backing from a British Union, keeping the pound and the rights to keep more of it in Scotland. Most political decisions for Scotland will be made by a Scottish parliament, with minimal interference from a central government sitting in Westminster.
So where does that leave the rest of the United Kingdom?
Without any doubt, the Welsh government will soon follow in Scotland’s path, asking for more responsibility in running their part of the UK, and the county you live in could be next. If the UK government are not careful, the whole of The UK as we know it will be divided with each county wanting the same benefits as those who live across the border in Scotland. Central government could very easily land themselves with localised rioting similar to the one we saw across UK in 2011.
So what happens next?
I believe the coalition UK government missed a game changing trick by deciding not to ask two important questions to the Scottish people on 18th September. Question 1) Should Scotland be an independent country?, or question 2) Would Scotland like full fiscal autonomy – Devolution max?
Devolution max, or devo-max as the term goes, means the Scottish Parliament would receive all taxation levied in Scotland; it would be responsible for most spending in Scotland, but would make payments to the UK government to cover Scotland’s share of the cost of providing certain UK-wide services, including, at a minimum, defence and the conduct of foreign relations. Scottish fiscal autonomy, stopping short of full political independence, would in my view, secure a prosperous, risk free Scottish future and avoid it losing many of the benefits of being part of a United Kingdom.
It was once proposed that a greater percentage of those who support further moves towards Scottish independence support a move to greater fiscal autonomy, while a greater percentage of those who wish to retain the Union between Scotland and the rest of the UK would be opposed. However, as the debate unfolds a move towards fiscal autonomy could be considered as a compromise by advocates of both sides.
And this shouldn’t stop with Scotland. Wales and Northern Ireland should receive the same powers avoiding a total split of The UK after Scotland’s vote for, or against independence.
Let us not also forget England in all of this. Currently England are the only country not to have their own Parliament… The UK government reside in London, but England has no parliament of their own.
Scotland’s parliament in Holyrood, The National Assembly for Wales, The Parliament of Northern Ireland and a newly formed English Parliament, although governed by a United Kingdom umbrella government in London, would have full powers over their own countries decisions on education, health, local government, transport, planning, culture, the environment, tax and welfare, and other areas affecting it’s people’s daily lives in a similar way to Australia, Canada, Germany, Mexico, and the United States, among other countries having a modern ‘Federal government’.