The independence disaster

another view

Last week in Slovakia I witnessed a country still experiencing the painful effects of the "velvet divorce" achieved by consent on both sides in Czechoslovakia.

Scottish separation would be much more difficult. It is unlikely to be by consent, and our institutions are far more complex and harder to disentangle.

Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, slides easily over the chaos that would inevitably ensue as the economic infrastructure of nearly three centuries is torn apart. The difficulties of separate tax and national insurance systems, and of creating a separate currency, are all glossed over.

No doubt Alex relishes the thought of being Commander-in-Chief of a Scottish armed forces, but that will not solve the problems of poverty and unemployment and of the quango state and private monopolies.

He fails to outline the process of separating Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom: would 37 Scottish Nationalist MPs at Westminster constitute a mandate, or would a referendum then be necessary? He also fails to address what would happen if the election and referendum results conflicted, or if the terms of separation were not agreed by the rest of the UK.

Independence is a recipe for disaster. It is also unnecessary, since we can have all we need in Scotland without the rupture of total separation. A Scottish Parliament within the UK would give the people of Scotland both legislative and administrative control of all domestic matters. Scottish MPs at Edinburgh would decide on the distinctive Scots law we currently enjoy but have no control over, while a parliament in Edinburgh would by its very existence create a new dynamic of Scottish life and culture.

The first of two criticisms of devolution is the West Lothian question. Tam Dalyell asks how he, at Westminster, would still have a say in education in Blackburn, Lancashire, but not Blackburn, West Lothian. This is a fair point, although it is only the mirror image of what happens at present when Westminster decides on purely Scottish matters. And it need only be a temporary anomaly if a Scottish parliament is the start of a process of decentralisation of power within the whole United Kingdom.

Legislation for England is the one remaining problem, but it is not insuperable. For example, English MPs could form an English Grand Committee for purely English legislation, with representatives from the assemblies in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the regions of England making up the new second chamber to replace the House of Lords.

Devolution for Scotland is not a step on the path to independence but a way to stem the tide of separatism by recognising the legitimate desires of the Scots people to have a say in our own affairs, thereby strengthening the United Kingdom.

George Foulkes, Labour MP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley, is a long-time supporter of devolution.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam