After a Scottish independence referendum Yes vote

There has been remarkably little public discussion of what would happen if there were a Yes vote in the Scottish independence referendum.  The widespread assumption seems to be that negotiations would be swift and straightforward, and Scotland would readily become an independent state.  The Scottish Government’s position (previously set out in the February 2013 paper Scotland’s Future: from the Referendum to Independence and a Written Constitution, but repeated in the independence white paper) remains that May 2016 would be when Scotland would become independent.  That is a very simplistic approach; negotiations would be complex, possibly protracted, and gravely complicated by the May 2015 UK general election.  Considerations about timing, and the impact of the referendum vote would affect the strength of the various negotiating positions, as well.

Nick Barber of Oxford University has now written an exceptionally good post about the implications of Yes vote.  I don’t wholly agree with it, but it should be read by anyone thinking seriously about these issues.  It can be found on the UK Constitutional Law Association’s blog, here.

In a separate but related development, the Lords Constitution Committee at Westminster has announced an inquiry into the implications of a Yes vote.  There’s news coverage from the BBC here, and details of the inquiry and its call for evidence here.  The closing date for submissions is 28 February 2014.

UPDATE, 27 January: There’s also a Lords debate on Thursday about ‘The implications for the UK of the forthcoming Scottish independence referendum’.  Details are here.



Filed under Implications of Scottish independence, Referendums, Scotland, Scottish independence, SNP, UK elections, Westminster, Whitehall

3 responses to “After a Scottish independence referendum Yes vote

  1. Muscleguy

    What has it got to do with the Lords? They will simply lose their Scottish members but carry on much like they did when the unelected hereditariness left. Scotland is small enough to do just fine with a unicameral legislature and we can always invent an elected senate if we feel like it.

    As for whether the negotiations are protracted that depends on the attitude of the negotiators and there are various things Scotland can do to hold the English feet to the fire that include using the media. Also if negotiations drag on unreasonably, with the principle conceded and the referendum won there will be nothing to stop Scotland simply walking away and declaring UDI. The economic reality is that rUK/EWNI/South Britain needs Scotland more than we need them.

  2. Muscleguy

    Also the negotiations with Westminster will not be the only ones going on. In parallel Scotland and the EU will be negotiating our continued membership. How will it look internationally if the EU negotiations are concluded in time for May 2016 and the Westminster ones are still ongoing? In that situation Scotland can surely bring court cases in the ECHR and complaints to the Commission that rUK/EWNI/South Britain are unreasonably frustrating our right to self determination.

  3. Dave

    Following a YES vote, the general election of 2015 will be moot. In effect the UK will be in limbo at that time. That is an issue which needs to be addressed now or at least prior to the referendum. Negotiations between iScotland and rUK will be well under way by 2015, so it is incumbent on the Westminster government prepare for and inform the electorate throughout the UK of what the electoral arrangements will be for that election, and who will represent the rUK in the negotiations prior to the election. That information is necessary for Scots to utilise in their decision next September. Westminster, typically, has it’s head in the sand on this, as it’s had on so many other vital issues which have been taken much too late.

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