Updates and Links

It’s been a few weeks since I posted on here, not least because I have been busily writing and posting elsewhere. This post just gives a few links to recent pieces and other contributions I’ve made to the debate.

One of the critical questions in the campaign is what will happen after a No vote — what is a No vote a vote for? Each of the parties campaigning for a No vote has published proposals outlining their vision for Scotland’s constitutional future within the Union. The Lib Dems’ proposals are here and the Scottish Labour party’s are here. The Scottish Conservatives’ proposals were developed by a group called the Strathclyde Commission (chaired by Lord Strathclyde, the former leader of the House of Lords and minister in David Cameron’s cabinet). Along with Alan Trench, I was one of two independent advisers to the Strathclyde Commission. We tried to write a report that is short, readable and accessible. It was published on 2 June 2014. You can read it here. It explains why the Union is important and why we should be flexible in thinking about what our Unionism requires. It analyses the Scottish Parliament and explains just how impressively powerful a body it already is, before making some recommendations as to its reform. And it explains how we think devolution should be developed from here. The headline proposal is that we think income tax should be devolved more or less entirely, making the Scottish Parliament responsible for rates and bands of income tax in Scotland, but there are also important proposals about welfare devolution and other matters. Ruth Davidson MSP has accepted our recommendations in full; they are likewise supported by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor.

Over the course of 2014 a series of unofficial No campaigns have been launched. Among these is Vote No Borders. A while ago I agreed to write a short piece for Vote No Borders each week in the run-up to the the referendum. My first was on independence itself and what it would mean for Scotland. My second was on the SNP’s plans for “indy-lite” and why they could never work. My third was on devolution, and picked up on some of the themes of the report of the Strathclyde Commission. Future pieces on the Vote No Borders site will consider the Union and why it is good for Scotland; defence and security; EU membership; reasons why we should vote No; reasons why we should not vote Yes; and other matters. There is also a short video of me talking with Vote No Borders about devolution and why it (and not independence) is the best future for Scotland: you can watch that here.

Elsewhere, I’ve written for the Scotsman on what I think should happen in Scotland after a No vote; and in the New Statesman on why I think the Tories have better answers to that question at the moment than the Scottish Labour party does. I’ve also written a long piece for the think-tank, Demos, and for an EU think-tank. Neither is published yet but I’ll post links to them here in due course, and if you’re on twitter follow me @ProfTomkins and I’ll alert you to when and where they appear.

I will keep posting from time to time on Notes from North Britain. I’ve a long piece which I’ll put up here soon on EU membership; and there will be more in due course. Thanks for following. Happy summer. Vote No.

PS: almost forget! I’ve also written the introduction to a fascinating book on Rangers FC and the independence debate. You can buy the book here.