Tag Archives: Devomax

Förslag om ökade maktbefogenheter för den skotska parlament, dock utan att erbjuda fullständig självständighet.


The time is 03:20 on 16 September. In two hours my youngest daughter and I will start our journey to Scotland – she for her final year at the University of Strathclyde, both of us to participate in the experience of the Independence Referendum.

Whatever happens on the 18 September will start a series of changes with momentous consequences for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. They will spread beyond those islands to affect Europe and indeed the world. Britain will cease to be “Great” but it will become a country or group of countries better adapted to supply all of its citizens with an adequate standard of living and a return to a more democratic governance.

The campaign for Yes Scotland has said No Thanks to:

a centralised government run by a clique of politicians that serve the interests of the ultra-rich, backed up by a set of mainstream media which no longer see their function as holding the powerful to account on behalf of the weak

– a government that spends billions on billions of pounds on a military establishment so that its leaders can pretend that Britain “punches above its weight” on the world stage – a capacity that was important when the Empire stretched around the globe but is now a vastly-expensive self-delusion

– a government which is opening the public services of the country to the possibilty of US-style of litigation with its risk of immense, trumped-up claims for damages

– a government that has consistently ignored the needs of the periphery for those of the southern parts of the country, particularly the needs of London, which has become a black hole that sucks resources from the rest of the country.

The Better Together campaign has offered more of the same old, discredited way to run the country.

Whatever the result of the referendum the future is now fraught with uncertainties. This could have been prevented by an orderly political discourse initiated by a Westminster attuned to the needs of the periphery, particularly Scotland, Wales, the North of England and the South-West. The (disallowed) “Yes” vote for Scottish Independence in 1979 was largely ignored by Westminster as were the possible consequences of the Scotland Act of 1998. David Cameron was completely unable to imagine what forces he was setting loose by his refusal in 2012 to allow the referendum to include a vote for “Devo Max”: if he had agreed to that, the present situation would probably never have arisen, the pound Sterling would not be facing a long period of weakness and the country itself about to be rent asunder one way or another. David Cameron and his Westminster colleagues then and now signally failed to understand the mood of Scotland. The Better Together campaign has had an impossible task because the reality is, if Westminster cannot offer anything better than Better Together to the poor and deprived people in Scotland, then Better is not Good Enough.

Against all the odds, against every-day common sense, against the torrents of advice from the rich and powerful (looking after their own interests as always) the Yes Scotland campaign has held out a vision of another way of governance. The campaign claims have been exaggerated but the idea that it could be possible to do things in a different way has caught on. When the discourse changed from the technicalities of accounting and macroeconomics to this wider and greater vision, people living in Scotland embraced the idea that they could do a better job of running their country than Westminster could. They know that way of governance has been tried and repeatedly found wanting.

The opinion polls tell us that the people of Scotland are evenly divided between Yes for Hope and No for Fear. Because we face great uncertainty whatever the outcome, I support those whose choice, in the spirit of Nelson Mandela, “will reflect their hopes and not their fears”. My daughter has the vote on the 18th. It will be a proud moment for me when she casts it. I suspect that she will join a majority of the people of Scotland and vote “Yes”.

This blog is now closed.


The most recent TNS poll confirms the YouGov poll result that “Yes” and “No” are now neck-and-neck, the 1-2% differences between the polls being statistically insignificant. Both sides are stepping up their grass-roots activities as the polls leave no room for complacency from either side.

The “Yes” camp seem to be carrying on “business as usual” while the supporters of “No” have been proposing uncoordinated last-minute counter-attacks. Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown last night made public a “plan” to get new Devomax measures passed by Westminster, starting on 19th September immediately after a “No” vote (http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/09/brown-takes-charge-cameron-backs-his-plan-scottish-home-rule). According to The Huffington Post, he said:

“On September 19 we will start bringing into law the new, stronger Scottish Parliament, and to secure the change we want we will work with the other parties. The Scottish people will expect nothing less, not only because that is the right thing to do, but because we need an agreed timetable with deadlines for delivery and a roadmap to our goal.”

 While Brown himself is emerging as the one leader who just might be able to deliver such a promise, his plan contains only proposals for a timetable but no substance on political measures. Voters will rightly ask themselves, if this is so important and such a good idea, why does he propose it with only 9 days to go to the vote? It will take more than just references to St. Andrews Day and Burns Night to convince the electorate that this is a genuine delivery of Devomax.

Right-wing MPs are now trying to drag the Royal family into the campaign. No matter what her private views may be, Royal aides and independent constitutional experts deny that the Queen would depart from her role of public political neutrality, (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scottish-independence/11083204/Scottish-independence-The-Queen-is-urged-to-intervene.html), a view also expressed by Alistair Darling.

The public announcement that the Duchess of Cambridge in England is pregnant again has also been touted as a straw to save the Union, which shows the desperation of some Better Together supporters (http://www.theweek.co.uk/uk-news/royal-baby/60317/royal-baby-the-perfect-plot-to-foil-scottish-independence). Alex Salmond’s twitter congratulations to the Dutchess of Strathearn, as Kate Middleton is known in Scotland, was scarcely better. Taking a broader view, there is no doubt that Her Majesty would be welcomed by most Scots as their Monarch but clearly her reign must be drawing to a close. The popularity of her successor could be an entirely different matter.



When Prime Minister David Cameron refused to allow a third option of “Devomax” on the ballot for IndyRef, he was sure that “No” would win. Now with even YouGov reporting the possibility of a “Yes” vote on the 18th (http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/referendum-news/yes-takes-lead-in-bombshell-indyref-poll.25254394) the media are beginning to speculate if Cameron would survive the secession of Scotland from The United Kingdom. Cameron himself has said he will not go but in critical times that decision rests with the hidden power in the Conservative party (http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/cameron-faces-calls-to-quit-if-scotland-votes-yes-30569191.html).

One sliver of hope for Cameron is that an independent Scotland would leave a post-independent Westminster with a comfortable right-wing majority, but it would also pose the threat of a UKIP surge to recruit Eurosceptic Conservatives (see earlier post).

The way the issue of currency has been tackled is also likely to be the subject of massive post-Indy criticism. The pro-Union position, both within the government and in the “Better Together” campaign, is that no currency union with an independent Scotland will be allowed. As the likelihood of a “Yes” vote increases financial markets are taking up positions that weaken the pound (http://www.cityam.com/1410155884/pound-plummets-scottish-independence-fears). This is likely to continue until a clear position on the future of the pound has been established. This could take months or it could be resolved quickly by an admission in principle that iScotland could use the pound with the Bank of England as a lender of last resort (http://www.thedrum.com/news/2014/09/08/pound-droops-will-london-parties-talk-salmond-about-currency-deal). However, as the currency issue was seen to be the strongest argument for Better Together, that card has not been dealt so far, regardless of the risks of political and economic fall-out.


Den första debatten i kampanjen för skotsk självständighet är över. Enligt “The Guardian” fann 56% av TV-tittarna att Nej-sidans Alistair Darling vann debatten över Ja-sidans Alexander Salmond. Tyvärr var länken från konferanshallen var under all kritik. Efter att helt ha missat de inledande presentationerna så kom den till sist igång, men med upprepade, långa avbrott. Att döma från tweets till “The Scotsman” så drabbades de skotska tittarna av samma problem. Man kan dock se debatten på nätet med play (http://player.stv.tv/programmes/salmond-darling).

Det som vi kunde se i Sverige handlade till stor del om valutafrågan. Darling pressade Salmond gång på gång om en plan B för den skotska valutan om inte Skottland fick använda pundet. Sal­mond påpekade att pundet var lika mycket Skottlands som Englands och att framstående finansiella experter, inklusive f.d. ministrar, har sagt att Skottland visst skulle kunna fortsätta använda pundet. Detta var debattens hjärta och här fick Darling ett övertag över Salmond, som med sina fantasilösa svar stundtals påminde svenska tittare om Bosse Ringholms ökända upprepningar i Ahlenius affä­ren.

Inför debatten kunde Salmond glädjas åt en fortsatt rörelse i opinionsundersökningarna till förmån för Ja-sidan, enligt Ipsos-Mori upp 4% till 40%. Dessa röster kom från “Vet ej” väljare medan Nej-sidan är kvar på 56% (http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3429/Yes-continues-to-make-progress-as-we-enter-the-final-stretch).

Uppenbarligen kommer inte dagens debatt att vara den kioskvältare som Ja-sidan behöver för att fortsätta ta röster. Andra positiva nyheter kommer sannolikt att drunkna i mediabruset kring debat­ten. T.ex. att fler och fler rapporter understryker närvaron av stora oljefyndigheter väster om Skottland (http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/9535-rumours-of-massive-oil-find-follow-camerons-secret-shetland-visit samt http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxZlMLmbgQ4#t=167). Samtidigt är en sedan 1977 hemligstämplad rapport om hur Skottland kunde ha blivit en annat Norge tack vare Nordsjöoljan (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL8rPmkkcAY) nu offentlig. Det var inget slump att denna för skotsk självständighet så positiv rapport hemligstämplades av Westminster innan en tidigare omröstning om självständighet.

Negativt för Ja-sidan är den ökad osäkerhet i geopolitiska frågor (http://www.scotsman.com/news/comment-foreign-policy-will-affect-referendum-1-3500217) samt ytterligare ett lamt försök från Westminsters sida att lova DevoMax till Skottland (http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/08/05/scots_offered_more_tax_powers_to_stay_with_britain). Men av debatten att döma är konstitutionen, EU, försvaret och liknande frågor så gott som osynliga för väljarna: ”It’s the economy, stupid”!

Stämningen under debatten och i tweets var det att väljarna vill nu ha konkreta svar istäl­let för “pie in the sky”. Med dubbelt så stor kampanjkassa och med stöd från de flesta massmedierna samt från Whitehall etablissemanget kan Nej-sidan känna sig nöjd. Om inte Ja-sidan börjar leverera övertygande svar om ekonomin till väljarna så är det farväl till självständighet för Skottland i min livstid. Och i så fall skulle ytterligare en möjlighet har gått oss förbi. (http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2014/08/04/scotland-a-world-leader-again/).


Det finns tydliga sociala och politiska skillnader mellanUK_2010_General_Election Skottland och England: framförallt mellan tätbefolkat, konservativa sydöstra England med London som nav och center-vänster Skottland med dess omfattande glesbygd (bilden). Många skottar anser att Skottlands behov är dåligt representerat i det brittiska parlamentet. 1999 som ett led i en delöverföring av makt (”devolution”) från Westminster i London öppnades ett skotskt parlament med begränsade befogenheter i Holyrood i Edinburgh. De som ser fram emot självständighet önskar fullständiga politiska rättigheter för Skottlands invånare. Motståndarna till självständighet är framförallt oroliga för ett försvagad Storbritannien, en ökade byråkrati och en försämrad ekonomi. De två största kampanjerna heter ”Yes Scotland” och ”Better Together”.

En sak är klar: oavsett vilken sida som vinner omröstningen kommer Skottland att få ytterligare politiska maktbefogenheter. Det beror på att Nej-sidan erbjuder en fortsatt maktöverföring från Westminster till Holyrood. Utan löftet om ”Devomax” (som det heter) skulle Nej-sidan ligga hopplöst efter. Ja-sidan ser två problem med devomax: hur mycket av det som utlovas i kampanjens hetta kommer att bli verkligt och framförallt, om man kan få nästan allt varför kan man inte få hela kakan?

Bild: mandatfördelning (vänster-höger och geografisk) i det brittiska parlamentet 2010-2014. Röd = center-vänster, blå = center-höger. Källa: Encyclopedia Britannica 2010.