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Political strategies and a Scottish independence referendum

Political strategies and a Scottish independence referendum

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Political strategies and a Scottish independence referendum

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  1. Political strategies and a Scottish independence referendum Presentation by Alan Trench for Constitution Unit seminar, University College London, 12 March 2012

  2. The bulk of Scottish voters don’t want independence: they want self-government within the Union But they may get independence anyway!

  3. Constitutional Preferences In Scotland, 1997-2010

  4. 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)

  5. Who ought to have the most say over how Scotland is run? (%)

  6. Who has the most say over how Scotland is run? (%)

  7. Discrepancy between where Scots want the power to lie, and where they perceive it to lie

  8. How the SNP might win • Frame the overall issue as ‘how should Scot-land 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

  9. Scottish Constitutional Positions and Perceptions What Scots probably want Status Quo Calman Commission ‘Devo Max’ Independence 0% 15% 65% 85% 100%

  10. 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

  11. Scottish Constitutional Positions and Perceptions What Scots probably want Status Quo Calman Commission ‘Devo Max’ Independence 0% 15% 65% 85% 100%

  12. 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?

  13. Read more on the Devolution Matters blog: http://devolutionmatters.wordpress.com/