I haven’t read Kezia’s article, so no, I’m not going to pour scorn on it, or on the notion of federalism, with or without venom.
Kezia is talking about the need for a new Act of Union, this Federalist thing that Labour has been touting around the place all week.
Frankly, I would welcome it because every time we get more power we are a step closer to independence. The Noble Baron Robertson got it so wrong when he said that devolution would kill independence stone dead. Mind you, having chosen to be a nobleman from Port Ellen where a sizable proportion of the population speak Gaelic, and then telling folk that Scotland couldn’t be independent because it doesn’t have a separate language of culture, he’s actually pretty practised at being wrong.
But Gordon Brown promised us that two years ago, and there is evidence to suggest that his promise (made on behalf of the two potential post-2015 election prime ministers, because neither of them was popular enough to come and speak personally to Scots) swung the vote in favour of staying in the union.
Of course what we actually got were a few small powers, some useful, some not, but nothing even vaguely approaching federal government. (And before Labour supporters argue, if it had been delivered, why are they touting it again two years later?) Indeed, as the Scotland Act 2016 passed through the Westminster parliament, “Federal” Labour voted against everything that the SNP, with a 90+% Scottish representation in the chamber, proposed.
We were, it seemed, not bright enough to cope with the raft of powers that SNP members proposed.
So, Duncan, I’d ask why you, Kezia or (as I read somewhere) the Noble Baron Darling, think we would believe you’ve all changed your minds? Is it because you’ve had a Damascian conversion to the idea that we aren’t, after all, too wee, poor and stupid to decide on our own abortion law, y’know like Guernsey is, for example?
Or is it that at 14% in the polls and having lost the privilege of being the second party in Holyrood to the TORIES, you’ve taken a tumble to yourself that maybe you should listen to the voters in Scotland instead of the Home Counties?
Or could it be that you reckon, well…it worked last time, why wouldn’t it work again? I mean, you don’t actually have to deliver, do you…and how could you anyway, being the third party in Holyrood, and about as likely to form the next Westminster government as that Liberal blokey that wants to join up with the Tories…erm whatisname again?
In any case, it’s academic. From what I’ve been reading about Brexit, the British government’s constitutional departments will have their hands full for the next 10-15 years trying to salvage something from the chaos of the overwhelming(?) wishes of the English and Welsh people.
Not sure when there will be time for any of their people to consider notions like a new Act of Union.
So, hot air then?