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Entries for March 2014

Paul Cairney: What is the Future of Scotland's Political System?

Referendums on constitutional change in Scotland produce ‘windows of opportunity’ to discuss the future of Scottish politics and policymaking. For example, the Scottish Constitutional Convention – an organization comprising political parties, interest groups, civic and religious leaders – formed in 1989 to promote the principle, and operation, of devolved government. It set much of the agenda during the devolution debates in the 1990s, promoting ‘new politics’, or widespread reform based on a rejection of political practices in ‘old Westminster’.



Aileen McHarg: Further Devolution and the Unionists' Credibility Gap

At the time the Edinburgh Agreement was signed, I argued that its most problematic aspect was the exclusion of a second question on further devolution; amongst other reasons, I thought that the question of what alternative constitutional futures for Scotland might be on offer would inevitably form part of the independence debate.  So it has come to pass.



Nick Barber: After the Vote - Regulating Future Independence Referendums

In a few months time Scotland will vote on independence.  In my last post on the topic I discussed some of the consequences of a yes vote: the problems that would be raised around the currency, Scotland’s membership of the EU, and, more generally, the difficulties presented by the tight time-fame set by the Scottish Government for negotiation.  That post should have given wavering ‘yes’ voters pause for thought; the path to independence is harder and riskier than the Scottish Government’s optimistic White Paper claims.   In this post I will discuss one of the consequences of a no vote: its implications for subsequent independence referendums.



Mike Gordon: Do We Need a Constitutional Convention for the UK?

What happens if Scotland votes ‘no’ in September 2014?  Would a re-examination of the constitutional structure of the UK be an important part of the reaction to the result of the independence referendum?  And how would the future direction of any reform of the UK constitution be established?  In thinking about such questions, the matter of how constitutional reform is undertaken in the UK (and indeed, to the UK) would fall to be considered.  One mechanism for the evaluation of constitutional change which could feature prominently in such discussions is the constitutional convention.



Kevin Dunion: Freedom of Information - What Difference Might Scottish Constitutional Change Make?

As we know only too well, the Scottish Government’s current view, as set out in Scotland's Future, is that “The right time for a written constitution to be drafted is… after independence not before”. This has given rise to a concern that, in the event of a Yes vote in September “Good constitutional design, so essential to the health of a country, is likely to be forgotten in the rush” to address immediate practical needs, such as to organising the Armed Forces or issuing postage stamps. So what prospect is there for promoting desirable but less pressing elements of the constitutional architecture, such as a right to information?