O, Scotland


Photograph by Rick Harrison

From London Review of Books:

Many ‘No’ voters wanted what a plurality of Scots have wanted for nearly forty years: to govern themselves as other small nations do but, if possible, within the United Kingdom. They were cheated too. Devo-max, whose minimum version means full fiscal autonomy, would have suited them. But Cameron kept it off the ballot paper, and the ‘more powers’ supposedly on offer are nothing like as strong.

The sense of onrush, of irresistible change, has survived the ‘No’ vote. For a party in defeat to double its membership in five days – that sort of thing just doesn’t happen in Britain. Maybe the SNP will oust Labour from Scotland in the 2015 general election and seize the balance of power at Westminster – as the Irish Parliamentary Party did a century ago. Or maybe the next collision will come with the EU referendum. No English region save London now wants to stay in Europe. But 59 per cent of Scots do, up from 40 per cent only two years ago. What if the Scottish Parliament refused to take part in the referendum, or defied its verdict? Nothing’s impossible in Scotland now – except a return to the status quo.

“After the Referendum”, London Review of Books