The Scottish Referendum and the Future of the UK
It is right that Scotland had this referendum. The result is apparently in, as a decision to stay a part of the UK. I know this is an unpopular result with many self-determination movements across the world, who saw it as a potential model for how their own nations can achieve independence.
Nonetheless, based on the principle of self-determination, this is what the Scottish people have decided, and we must respect that.
There are a number of ways forwards.
1) Press for a new referendum as soon as possible. This will not go down well. It will likely be seen both as sour grapes and as wasteful of public resources. It is also unlikely for the vote to shift far in so short a period. (For comparison, Quebec’s referendums were in 1980 and 1995, 15 years apart.)
2) Try to carry on as before. Given that a notable number of MPs have declared they want to “punish” Scotland for this vote, that might not be a good idea.
3) Press for a greater devolution of powers for Scotland. This is what Salmond originally wanted as an option on the referendum but was denied, then Westminster offered at the last minute if the voters voted “no”. While the original vote was purely about Scotland, the rest of the UK will then get left behind (e.g., the north-east: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/an-independent-northeast-the-possibility-that-scotland-will-govern-itself-has-reinvigorated-those-in-the-north-of-england-who-want-more-local-powers-9292704.html).
4) Press for a more federal UK. The other regions of the UK (not just the so-called constituent “countries”, but also regions such as the north of England) are also badly in need of proper investment. We should use the momentum to press for change not just for Scotland, but for all parts of the UK. The simple fact of the matter is that London accounts for about 40% of the entire nation’s infrastructure budget. We can’t go on like this.
Personally, I favour option 4 as he best way to get an equitable result for all people in the UK.
Infrastructure Spend Across the UK: