Independence - University College London

Report
Political strategies and a Scottish
independence referendum
Presentation by Alan Trench for
Constitution Unit seminar,
University College London, 12 March
2012
The bulk of Scottish voters don’t want
independence: they want selfgovernment within the Union
But they may get independence
anyway!
Constitutional Preferences In Scotland, 1997-2010
60
remain part of UK with its
own elected Parliament
which has some taxation
powers
50
40
be independent, separate
from UK and EU or
separate from UK but part
of EU
30
remain part of the UK
without an elected
parliament
20
10
* 2010
* 2009
* 2007
* 2006
* 2005
* 2004
* 2003
* 2002
* 2001
* 2000
* 1999
* Sept 97
* May 97
0
remain part of the UK with
its own elected Parliament
which has no taxation
powers
A tale of two strategies
Bifurcated constitutional debates since 2007
• SNP’s strategy:
– ‘Win-win’ (independence or Devo Max)
• 2 questions
• Unionist strategy:
– Deny there’s an issue (historically)
– Now: ‘Excluded middle’
• Single question
– Plus ‘jam tomorrow’ (Devo More after a referendum
No vote – not before)
Who ought to have the most say over how Scotland is run? (%)
80
70
60
50
Scottish Parl't/Govt
UK Government
40
Local Councils
30
European Union
20
10
0
2000 2001 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2009 2010
Who has the most say over how Scotland is run? (%)
70
60
50
Scottish Parl't/Govt
40
UK Government
30
Local Councils
European Union
20
10
0
2000 2001 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2009 2010
Discrepancy between where Scots want the power
to lie, and where they perceive it to lie
80
70
60
Upper Line: The Scottish Government
Ought To have the most say
50
40
Lower Line: The Scottish Government Does
have the most say
30
20
10
0
* 2000
* 2001
* 2003
* 2004
* 2005
* 2006
* 2007
* 2009
* 2010
How the SNP might win
• Frame the overall issue as ‘how should Scotland be governed?’ (positive, issue of
principle)
• Conflate UK and England; emphasise
dyarchic Scotland-UK relationship) and
differences between Scotland and UK, and
treat UK as ‘foreign’ and ‘interfering’
– Lack of UK ‘neutrality’
• Keep issue on agenda (2nd-order questions)
• Show that independence is closer to what
Scots want than what Unionists can offer
Scottish Constitutional Positions and Perceptions
How Unionists might win
• Raise question about ‘what sort of a state
would an independent Scotland be?’
(issue of practice – emphasises doubts)
• Play the game straight when making the
rules
• Need to have an ‘offer’ that is closer to
what Scots want than independence is
• But that offer must be convincing – need
to shift the ‘status quo’ position
– Boredom/loss of trust
Scottish Constitutional Positions and Perceptions
Devo More
• Key elements:
– Substantial fiscal responsibility: 60% + of devolved
spending
– My model: all personal income tax, assignment of VAT, plus
smaller land taxes
– Corporation tax the fiscal battleground
– More policy areas: aspects of social security, broadcasting,
immigration?
• Fragmented initiatives:
– Labour, Lib Dems, ‘civic society’, Reform Scotland
• How to make it convincing?
– Must have broad, cross-party support before referendum
– Get it on the statute book before then?
Read more on the Devolution Matters
blog:
http://devolutionmatters.wordpress.com/

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