Scottish devolution and nationalism, Kenneth Keller


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Ken Keller's 2013 NCGE presentation on political geography in the APHG strand

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Scottish devolution and nationalism, Kenneth Keller

  1. 1. Scottish Devolution and Nationalism The 2014 Referendum Keller NCGE 2013 Denver, CO
  2. 2. APHG Course Outline Centripetal and Centrifugal Forces Nationalism, Devolution Centripetal – Forces that unite Centrifugal – Forces that break apart Nationalism - Ideology based on the premise that the individual’s loyalty and devotion to the nation-state surpass other individual or group interests. How do the impacts of this potential devolution reflect the above forces? Use 2006 FRQ as a sample of this type of APHG exam question Use 2005 FRQ as a sample of this type of APHG exam question
  3. 3. An Introduction The Acts of Union of 1707 united the parliaments of Scotland and England and resulted in the formation of a single parliament of Great Britain and a single, unified United Kingdom (UK) state. Although smaller in population and geography than England, Scotland has played a large role in the development of the multi-nation UK, from the contributions its citizens have made to establishing democracy and the rule of law, to the development of modern industrial and financial systems, to philosophy, culture, sport and the arts. The 2014 referendum's question: Should Scotland be an Independent Country? Essential Question for students: What impact will the devolution of Scotland have?
  4. 4. So How do Scots see themselves? Compared to hose who live in England, three times as many Scots define themselves as Scottish rather than British.
  5. 5. Impacts of referendum? In the independence referendum on September 18, 2014, Scotland will be faced with a choice between two futures. •A Yes vote will mean endorsing the view that people who live here - equipped with the powers that other countries take for granted - will do a better job of running Scotland than politicians in London. If a majority vote Yes, Scotland’s future will be in Scotland’s hands. •A No vote will mean Westminster/UK retaining control over key decisions that affect life in Scotland.
  6. 6. What does independence mean? • being separate from the rest of the UK • “separate from England” • “separate from England, Wales and Northern Ireland” • “running their own affairs” • Scotland “managing on its own”
  7. 7. Unanswered questions after the vote? •Will the result of the referendum be decisive? (Or will it just be “taken into account” with the final decision being made by government?) • In the event of a ‘Yes’ vote, could the government still decide not to go ahead? • Would a particular threshold of ‘Yes’ votes need to be reached? • What would happen if the next government was not in favor of independence? Could they overturn the result? • Who would be Prime Minister (or equivalent) the day after the referendum? • Would there be an election for the Scottish Parliament immediately after the referendum?
  8. 8. Devolution of Scotland - The Basics • Since 1999, the way the United Kingdom is run has been transformed by devolution - a process designed to decentralize government and give more powers to the three nations which, together with England, make up the UK. • Devolution essentially means the transfer of powers from the UK parliament in London to assemblies in Cardiff and Belfast, and the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.
  9. 9. The Origins of Scottish Devolution • Public votes were held in 1997 in Scotland and Wales, and a year later in both parts of Ireland. • This resulted in the creation of the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly. • Devolution applied in different ways in each nation due to historical and administrative differences.
  10. 10. Article courtesy of D. Ziegler’s never ending files 
  11. 11. MAJOR DEVOLVED POWERS SCOTLAND WALES N. IRELAND Agriculture, forestry & fishing Agriculture, forestry & fishing Agriculture Education Education Education Environment Environment Environment Health Health & social welfare Health Housing Housing Enterprise, trade & investment Justice, policing & courts* Local government Social services Local government Fire & rescue services Justice & policing Fire service Highways & transport Economic development Economic development Some transport *Scotland has always had its own legal system Centripetal or Centrifugal? Students need to identify/discuss
  12. 12. What Powers Are Not Devolved? • The UK government is responsible for national policy on all powers which have not been devolved. • These are known usually as "reserved powers" and include foreign affairs, defense, international relations and economic policy.
  13. 13. MAJOR NON-DEVOLVED POWERS SCOTLAND WALES N. IRELAND Constitution Defense & national security Defense & national security Defense & national security Economic policy Foreign policy Foreign policy Foreign policy Nationality Energy Energy Energy** Immigration & nationality Immigration & nationality Trade & industry [see footnote +] Some transport Social security ** - specified as "nuclear energy & installations" + - Non-devolved powers in Wales are by implication all those not set out in the 2006 Government of Wales Act Centripetal or Centrifugal? Students need to identify/discuss
  14. 14. Current Devolution in Scotland • Scotland has a "parliament" as opposed to an "assembly" - the crucial difference being that Holyrood (Edinburgh) is a legislation-making body, passing bills in various areas of its many devolved responsibilities. • The Scottish parliament also has the power to raise or lower the basic rate of income tax by 3p in the pound - although this so-called "Tartan Tax" has never been used. • In addition to the main devolved powers shown in the table, the parliament can legislate on tourism, economic development, planning, natural and built heritage, sport and the arts, as well as statistics, public registers and records. • The primary powers retained by Westminster include foreign policy, defense and trade and industry.
  15. 15. Problems With Devolution? • Devolution has caused some tensions, particularly over public spending. • The new powers of the Scottish Parliament have allowed it to abolish university tuition fees and prescription charges. These services are not free in England. • However Scotland's public services are still paid for by all UK taxpayers under the which allocates funding around different parts of the country. • Some in England are increasingly unhappy, seeing this as English taxpayers subsidizing free services in Scotland. • A 2010 survey of 980 people by the liberal leaning think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research suggested 40% of those questioned believe this situation unfair, compared with 22% in 2003.
  16. 16. Implications of devolution •In the event of independence, there would be a new state in the international community called Scotland. The question is then: what happens to the state known as the UK? The UK could carry on legally as before, but without Scotland. •Alternatively, the UK could cease to exist and two new states could come into being – Scotland, and one comprising England, Wales and Northern Ireland that has not previously existed.
  17. 17. Implications of devolution •There is no prospect that an independent Scottish state would automatically become a new member of the EU upon independence because there is no explicit provision for this process in the EU’s own membership rules. •Unpicking the UK’s institutional and governmental framework would be an enormous task. As an indication of the scale and complexity involved, in order to perform the same functions that are currently provided by the UK, the government of an independent Scottish state may need to create up to four times as many Scottish public organizations as currently exist. •Likewise, membership in the UN, NATO, G7, G8, G20 and the IMF would also have to be discussed at length.
  18. 18. Implications of devolution •The UK is a highly integrated and well-established multi-nation state. Under devolution, responsibility for governing Scotland is shared between the UK Government and the Scottish Government. All of the powers and responsibilities of the UK in Scotland would therefore become the responsibility of a new independent Scottish state in the event of independence. •That would include: security, defense and intelligence; tax administration and welfare expenditure; foreign policy; key parts of energy and transport policy; and a range of other areas including, crucially, macroeconomic policy and monetary policy. •Proposals for a formal currency union or for an independent Scottish state to have recourse to the Bank of England’s functions could form part of independence negotiations should representatives of an independent Scottish state want to table them, but they would require the agreement of the continuing UK and would be on the condition that they satisfied the economic interests of both parties.
  19. 19. Implications of devolution •An independent Scottish state would be responsible for deciding on the best arrangements to put in place for the control and protection of its borders. It would need to take decisions on how to manage the flow of both people and goods across those borders, and then implement those decisions.
  20. 20. England’s Resentment over Scotland’s devolution? 52% of the good people of England believe Scotland gets “more than its fair share” of UK public spending, with only 19% thinking the distribution of cash was “pretty much fair”. Almost as many (49%) think Scotland benefits the most financially from the Union, compared to just 23% who say both nations do equally well and therefore, at most, 28% who think England gets the best deal.
  21. 21. Never interrupt the enemy when they are making a mistake--Napoleon. DAVID CAMERON'S Government believes it has already won the battle over Scottish independence 14 months before the referendum. "We have won the argument on independence," declared a Government minister. "Ordinary people on the doorsteps have made their mind up about this issue. But they may vote Yes next September for other reasons. We are now fighting to ensure we've got a big enough majority to determine what happens after the referendum."
  22. 22. Where they stand on the EU? Attitudes to the EU are almost exactly opposite in England and Scotland, a groundbreaking study by the IPPR, University of Edinburgh and University of Cardiff has found. Fully 50% of English voters would vote to leave the EU, with 33% voting to remain, with the figure in Scotland almost exactly inverted with 53 per cent of Scots would vote in a referendum to stay in the EU and 34 per cent to leave. The study focuses on the growth of English identity, and some evidence of an increasing discontent with the way the UK is governed amongst English voters.
  23. 23. Polling on Scotland's Referendum 2014 Referendum date set in steel: • Scottish Ministers support independence, believing a sovereign nation can prosper by choosing its own policies for social and economic growth and having its own distinctive voice in Europe and the wider world. • The Scottish Parliament has been granted the powers to organize the referendum and both UK and Scottish Governments have agreed they will respect the result. • The main Scottish Independence Referendum Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 21 March 2013. It sets out arrangements for the conduct of the referendum, including the date of the vote and campaign spending limits.
  24. 24. Recent Poll
  25. 25. What issues are most Important to Scots?
  26. 26. The Trident Issue Despite recent promises that the anti- independence campaign would present a positive message, the UK Government is now threatening that if Scotland votes for independence Westminster could annex the Faslane and Coulport bases on the Clyde. Although officially the Minister of Defense claims that it is not making contingency plans for Scottish independence, it has been reported that Westminster is considering "sovereign base" status for the Trident bases, similar to that of the UK bases in Cyprus. The SNP have condemned the plan as an "extraordinary attempt to bully Scotland" into voting against independence.
  27. 27. Scottish Government Promotes Independence • Use of the Internet: Blogs • Social Media Facebook (Referendum 2014) Twitter
  28. 28. Alex Salmond: 'independence and expectations' "We have a social union which is about much, much more than Westminster. It's about family and emotional ties. We will not become a foreign country, that's simply ridiculous. Does anyone think Ireland is a foreign country? And as for the currency – well, Scotland has as much of a claim on the Bank of England as anyone else; it was a Scot who founded it, after all." "Independence will come to Scotland on a tide of rising expectations, not out of desperation," he says. "People are entitled to have rising expectations and not simply for themselves. They can have expectations for decency, and the reasonably secure belief that the country will be all right economically. This, coupled with a belief that we will be better socially, is an irresistible combination. We can be in a position not simply to do better for ourselves but for each other."
  29. 29. Dividing Issues – Centrifugal Forces? OIL The SNP claims that Scotland produces two-thirds of Europe's oil, and has more than 40 years of reserves, and it says that oil tax revenue could fund a third of current government spending. SOCIAL JUSTICE The bedroom tax – a cut to housing benefit for working-age council or housing-association tenants with "spare" bedrooms – encapsulates what nationalists believe separates Scotland from England: a commitment to social justice in all its forms. TRIDENT A non-nuclear Scotland is one of the SNP's flagship and non-negotiable policies. Last week it emerged that the government is examining plans to designate the Scottish military base that houses the Trident nuclear deterrent as sovereign UK territory if Scotland votes for independence. EUROPE The Scottish First Minister has ruled out a referendum on this issue post-independence. As far as he is concerned, Scotland will remain in Europe even if England opts to leave.
  30. 30. Tennis anyone? Centripetal Forces
  31. 31. Waving the Saltire
  32. 32. Impact on Gender Equality Gender politics is an area that is often neglected by the media in terms of the independence debate, and one that remains relatively untouched by either side. But the Yes campaign has much to gain by addressing gender inequality head on: an independent Scotland could offer a new approach to the issue of female representation. It is clear that women across the UK are faced with deep inequalities in many walks of life – from their treatment in the media to employment and everyday sexism. But sexism is particularly palpable in British politics. The percentage of women MPs and government ministers, a mere 22.5% and 17.5% respectively, is the best indicator with which to observe women’s participation in political life.
  33. 33. Scottish Independence: Key questions answered
  34. 34. Scottish Independence: Key questions answered What would happen to the oil? In 2011/12 alone, about 94% of the UK’s North Sea revenues - about £10.6 billion – were generated in Scottish Waters. It is widely expected that Scotland would take a geographical share based on a “median line” split curving eastwards from Berwick if it leaves the UK.
  35. 35. Scottish Independence: Key questions answered What currency would an independent Scotland have? Scotland could create its own currency, enter the euro, adopt Sterling or keep the pound.
  36. 36. Scottish Independence: Key questions answered Would Scotland be allowed in the EU? Scotland would become a member of the EU; the question is over the timing and the terms.
  37. 37. Scottish Independence: Key questions answered What would happen to the Trident nuclear deterrent? The SNP has said it would not tolerate Britain’s nuclear weapons in an independent Scotland. However defense analysts have pointed out that to transfer the subs, warheads and the huge infrastructure out of the country could take up to 30 years.
  38. 38. Scottish Independence: Key questions answered Would Scotland have its own constitution? A new constitutional convention would be set up after the first elections of an independent Scotland in 2016 to draft the document, which alongside the Scottish Government would include contributions from politicians, civic society, organizations, business interests, trade unions and others.
  39. 39. Scottish Independence: Key questions answered What would happen to a Scots’ British passport? It is possible that a Yes vote in Scotland will be interpreted as an anti-English vote which will mean that options like keeping a British passport will be withdrawn from Scots.
  40. 40. Scottish Independence: Key questions answered What would happen to the Union Jack/Union flag? A state can have whatever flag it likes and it is up to its government so therefore if the rest of the UK government wishes to keep the flag there is nothing Scotland can do about it.
  41. 41. Scottish Independence: Key questions answered What would happen to the monarchy? The SNP has developed an official policy that would see an independent Scotland retain Queen Elizabeth as head of state and the country remaining within the Commonwealth.
  42. 42. Scottish Independence: Key questions answered Would higher education remain free? The SNP insists that it would continue to fund free tuition for Scottish students under independence, if the party remains in power. There is no guarantee that free tuition would remain in place if the Labour Party was to take power at Holyrood under independence.
  43. 43. Lighter Side of the Debate  Comedians give their views on the Scottish independence referendum and through in a few jokes along the way. • Comedian Pete Cain’s take on Scottish independence “If you’re a Scot and unsure which way to vote why not hold a séance in your kitchen and summon-up your ancestors to get their take on it. I’m pretty certain that long before you’ve finished explaining your concerns about economic stability they’ll have smashed all the crockery and blown-up the toaster. Probably best not to mention that all you have to do to regain independence is put a cross on a piece of paper rather than invade England and kill the monarch.” • Comic Keith Farnan’s take on Scottish independence “Having never studied Geography, it seems the SNP are under the illusion that fossil fuels are made by the magical infinite pixies and such revenues will last forever. The plan smacks of a country in mid- life crisis where they’ve won the lotto and, instead of buying a house for the wife and family who they’ve been attached to for centuries, they get a fake tan, fix their teeth and leave to take up with a young hussy called self-determination.”
  44. 44. Essential question for students: Which aspects of Scottish independence elicit centripetal or centrifugal forces?
  45. 45. Works Cited 1. ime_voter/8589835.stm 2. 3. uk-identity 4. news/coalition-claims-it-has-won-battle-for-no-vote-in- referendum.21607716 5. scottish-independence 6. 5f
  46. 46. Works Cited 7. ish-news/7714- westminster-threatens-annexation-of-clyde-nuclear-bases 8. salmond-every-2039211#.UdvO_le9eic.twitter 9. n_the_eu 10. chance-for-womens-representation/ 11. independence-key-questions-answered-1-2980422