Scottish independence is not a constitutional crisis

Scottish independence: Britain is facing its greatest constitutional crisis in 300 years

Sigh.

A crisis is when everyone’s running around screaming that they’ve no idea what to do. What’s actually happening today is that 5 million people are being allowed a democratic vote on what they would like to do. This is no more a constitutional crisis than the Americans voting on whether to amend the constitution is one. Because that’s what’s actually happening: people are voting on whether they’d like to change the constitution.

This may be a good idea or a bad one (the vote itself is, to my mind, a thoroughly good one, yes, this is what democracy is meant to mean, the people get to decide how and by whom they will be ruled. I also hope the answer is Yes but that’s not democracy, that’s just personal prejudice) but it simply isn’t a crisis.

26 comments on “Scottish independence is not a constitutional crisis

  1. If you were in “Cast iron” Cameron’s or Calamity Clegg or Millipratts shoes, it would definitely be a crisis.

  2. The irony is that any “constitutional crisis” now arises if the Scots vote “No” … or rather vote “Devo Max” as “No” has been taken off the ballot paper with a week to go.

    The UK would be unsustainable with federalism for 10% of the population and centralism for the rest … and with the federalists still being part of that centralism for the 90%. Now that is a constitutional outrage and should precipitate a crisis. I’m dusting down my pitchfork!

  3. Bloke in Oxford has it. The party that offers the English a fair deal wins the election. Frankly I doubt Cameron will see it until it’s too late. That’s how dull, slow, arrogant, complacent public schoolboys’ minds work.

  4. Pitchforks aplenty in Wiltshire too. I have no problem with Scottish Independence, I’m all for it. But I’m buggered if I’m going to stand idly by while they reject it in favour of remaining an unequal member of a union, we have enough of that nonsense from the socialists across the channel.

  5. Your argument is a little pedantic. There may not be a “constitutional” crisis but independence will lead to 10 years of protracted & heated disputes about the carving up of the UK, changing tens of thousands of contracts and splitting 200 offices of the state (from BBC to HMRC to Met Office).

    That fits my description of a crisis.

  6. Is it public school that makes interesting, quick, approachable and responsive people dull, slow, arrogant and complacent?

  7. @Shinsei1967, exactly. Tim isn’t at his best on Scottish independence I think because of what it implies about the Kippers (of which Tim is one). In addition to your list: if Scotland votes ‘yes’ to independence, what exactly happens in 2015 when the UK is due an election. However vehement you want to be, there is no obvious answer.

  8. Glad to see you being pedantic about “crisis”: I hope you’ll similarly object to “impact” (noun and verb) being misused.

  9. If the Scots have to set up their own DVLA, HMRC, Met Office etc that’s their problem, isn’t it? For us, it just means at point X Dept Y’s writ no longer applies up there.

    These people are meant to be the geniuses of organisation. If they soil themselves at the thought of no longer having responsibility for a small minority of the population then do we really need them?

  10. My dictionary, which lists its definitions in historical order, starts its entry for ‘crisis’ with “a crucial or decisive moment”

    It’s fitting for the Telegraph to be conservative in its use of language.

  11. Rob,

    If you were in “Cast iron” Cameron’s or Calamity Clegg or Millipratts shoes, it would definitely be a crisis.

    I don’t understand why it’s a crisis for Cameron, except for the fact that he’s lost something he fought for, which makes him look a bit hopeless.

    The Conservatives will lose 1 MP. It will have no bearing on their influence in the Scottish parliament. Despite all the talk of how much his supporters would be upset, I’ve yet to meet anyone of a conservative/likely Conservative bent that isn’t of the view of “the sooner they’re gone the better”.

    I’m not even sure that this support for the union isn’t part of the game. Cam’s just the sort of posh Englishman that Scots hate. If he told them that he was fine with them leaving they’d probably vote to stay in.

  12. Rob
    “If the Scots have to set up their own DVLA, HMRC, Met Office etc that’s their problem, isn’t it?”

    Yes, but also rUK’s problem too as it has some of its assets in Scotland which it needs to either repatriate or build from scratch in England.

    Plus the inevitably bureaucratic difficulties dealing with English people & companies & institutions who have assets north or the border.

    As an extreme example finding somewhere in England for Trident.

  13. Rob,

    “If the Scots have to set up their own DVLA, HMRC, Met Office etc that’s their problem, isn’t it? For us, it just means at point X Dept Y’s writ no longer applies up there.”

    and that’s why the English aren’t too bothered. The fixed costs of all that stuff will now be spread across 90+% of the people who picked up the costs before. The Scots will go from paying 10% of the costs of a new DVLA system to 100% of the new system.

    And I know they think they can just piggy back on our investment, but that ain’t going to last. You’ll have a serious nationalist campaign if the UK government agrees to that.

    Plus, they are going to want different laws, which means you can’t have one operation. They’re already talking about having different immigration rules as they want more technical skills into the country, and that’s going to mean that you’re going to have to have a border and have to have a separate immigration function.

  14. I would assume that the DVLA is very much self-funded and, absent any wild changes in how they do things in Scotland, would happily continue to ‘sell’ services to the Scots at whatever price is appropriate.

    Other departments of state could also choose to service Scotland for a price. Even HMRC.

    Admittedly, the people in charge of these departments won’t have much experience of setting out sensible commercial arrangements, but there are enough blood-suckers from Capita/Serco/Deloitte/Etc hanging around to help out.

    Existing UK functions based in Scotland can carry on being based there. If Virgin media can have a call centre in Bangalore, then HMRC can have one in Glasgow.

    Over the longer term we’ll probably want to transition our services down here, and the Scots will want to build some of their own rather than outsource to the Bastard Brits.. but whilst it probably *would* be a giant clusterfuck, there’s no reason why it *should* be.

  15. “but whilst it probably *would* be a giant clusterfuck, there’s no reason why it *should* be.”

    On “would” and “should”, one has to live in the real world of public procurement fvck ups here. Scottish Parliament costs, Edinburgh tram costs. There are questions on the truthfulness of cost savings recently and conveniently announced by the Scottish Gvmt on the new Forth Bridge

  16. On “would” and “should”, one has to live in the real world of public procurement fvck ups here.

    Coupled with the insane Braveheart, woad and shit-on-the-English nationalism that fuels most of the pro-indy voters (even if some of their leaders try quite hard to hide them away in the Brigadoon equivalent of Bedlam), it would be silly to bet against any and every Scottish department set-up would be eff-ed up beyond the exemplar levels of even NPfIT.

    And ISIS (Scots Govt IT) loath, and are loathed by, all of the existing agencies …

  17. Please Scots, vote yes.
    I honestly think that after the dust settles, England will be better off for it, there may even be a revival of English nationalism, something that seems to have been lost in the ‘UK’.

  18. Surely it is Paul B’s crucial or decisive moment
    Not because the Scots bugger off: that saves rUK the constant subsidy and defenestrates 50 labour MPs while losing us just 8% of GNP, a few years growth. The crisis is that the leader of the Tory party is (tearfully) trying to stop this.

  19. GlenDorran

    Classic stuff – I am reminded of the Late Lady Thatcher’s response to Sillars at the ‘I’m enjoying this’ last appearance in Prime Ministers question:

    ‘I think that the hon. Gentleman knows that I have the same contempt for his socialist policies as the people of east Europe, who have experienced them, have for theirs. I think that I must have hit the right nail on the head when I pointed out that the logic of those policies is that they would rather the poor were poorer. Once they start to talk about the gap, they would rather that the gap were that—down here, not this——but—this So long as the gap is smaller, they would rather have the poor poorer. One does not create wealth and opportunity that way. One does not create a property-owning democracy that way.’

    Seems apposite given Murphy’s views on the SNP’s possible victory as well…..

  20. SE

    “Coupled with the insane Braveheart”

    Hey, steady on, I hold down a responsible intellectual job you know………………….

  21. Just read those Sillars comments: Venezuela-on-the-Clyde stuff there. The man may be a loon but his timing could be perfect.

  22. Hugh – “Just read those Sillars comments: Venezuela-on-the-Clyde stuff there. The man may be a loon but his timing could be perfect.”

    If Scottish voters were the sort of people who were opposed to this sort of stuff, it wouldn’t be the sh!thole it is today.

    He may just get an SNP win over the line with comments like that.

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