Political scientist Michael Keating, one of the stalwarts of our Scotland Decides ’14 referendum panel, offers a fascinating view of where the constitutional pieces will land after Scotland’s No vote. He discusses what it all means for Scotland, the UK and independence movements around the world.
Michael Keating says:
The largest single number of people wanted something in between [independence and the status quo]. They wanted the question we weren’t allowed to answer, namely: “Do we want control of most domestic policy as opposed to foreign policy?” … There are two ways of getting there. One is by voting for keeping some kind of association with the United Kingdom, and the second is by negotiating through the United Kingdom to get more autonomy.
The whole society has been transformed. Scotland has been reinforced as a political community, as the point of reference for political debate, and relationships between Scotland and the UK have been changed.
We have opened up now a constitutional debate about the future of the United Kingdom, including English votes for English laws. The prospect of getting all of that tidied up by next spring I would say is approaching zero.
I have heard some Labour politicians saying: “This is just a protest vote, it will go away, [the Yes voters] will come back to us.” … Maybe they will but you should bear in mind that there are many people in poor areas in Scotland who voted for the first time or for the first time in many, many years, and… those people have turned out and voted against Labour in such critical places as Glasgow and North Lanarkshire… that must be worrying.
People didn’t really believe the promises of either side, they didn’t believe that if we became independent, taxes would not go up, and they didn’t believe that if we voted No, the money would keep flowing from England and they would pay our bills… The challenge is how do you get away from politicians making empty promises that can’t be delivered and really engage in a realistic way with what we can do with the resources that are available.
David Cameron is a hero in Catalonia. You have got all these leftist Catalans who think he’s wonderful!… The prospects of the Spanish political classes following the lead of the Edinburgh Agreement haven’t improved at all. They are still being extremely rigid about this.