Sunday, 29 November 2009

Looming Issues for Scotland and the Union

'Looming Issues for Scotland and the Union' Political Quarterly
79, 4, 560 - 568, October - December 2008.


The minor electoral gains for the Scottish National Party (SNP) in 2007, which made it the largest party but a minority Scottish Executive administration, have provoked a fundamental review of Scottish devolution. Political imperatives rather than reasoned argument seem to dominate the actions of those pushing for independence and/or greater powers for the Scottish Parliament. The renaming of the Scottish Executive by the SNP as the Scottish Government is creating confusion. The Scottish Executive's plans to move to independence are inadequate for the significance of the intended outcome. The unionist opposition parties could not agree to form a majority coalition but have launched a major review of devolution which includes the possibility of increased tax powers for the Scottish Parliament even when existing tax powers are not used. Federalism has been proposed by the Liberal Democrats and others but evidence from other states suggests that this is by no means a stable or certain solution.