Michael Keating's blog

David Cameron’s proposed areas for renegotiation have implications for the Scottish Government, a situation that will increase once the Scotland Bill is passed.

The distinct Scottish interest in the European renegotiation and referendum can be seen under two headings. The first concerns matters reserved under the devolution settlement to the UK Government but where Scottish interests and preferences may be distinct. The second concerns devolved matters that also have a European dimension. This produces a potentially long list of questions.

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Twenty five years ago, the historian Eric Hobsbawm announced the end of nations and nationalism. Like the Owl of Minerva, they appeared in view only as they flew into the twilight. In 2015, however, nationalism looks very much alive, with restive movements even in established states like the United Kingdom, Belgium and Spain. This might seem at odds with the movement to European unity but in practice the two are linked.
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David Cameron may well find that his proposals are not enough for Eurosceptic Tories while at the same time being too much for his EU partners and many voters inclined to remain, says Michael Keating.  
 
David Cameron’s four demands outlined in the letter to the European Council will not satisfy his own Eurosceptics and may be too much for his EU partners to accept. It is not at all clear how some elements would work. 
 
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In the light of the Catalan results both Madrid and Barcelona have some options, says Michael Keating, but the current political climate is unlikely to see an immediate breakthrough.

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Since the independence referendum a year ago, unionists have been trying to find a way to define what it is and a core and purpose of 'Britishness'. If they continue in this vein, says Michael Keating, they run the risk of destroying the very thing they are trying to save. 
 
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Some time in the next two years, Scots will face another referendum, on whether the United Kingdom should remain in the European Union. This issue has become deeply entangled with the question of Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom. Last year’s referendum was about independence-in-Europe and since the 1980s the EU has provided a vital external support system for proposals for Scottish independence. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has suggested that a UK withdrawal from the EU (Brexit) should require the consent of all four home nations.
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The introduction of English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) faces a problem, says Michael Keating, in that only a minority of English voters will ever have supported the laws in question. 
 
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The new government has thrown open the European questions but, asks Michael Keating, what - if any - answers might prove satisfactory?

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Some time in the next two years, Scots will face another referendum, on whether the United Kingdom should remain in the European Union. This issue has become deeply entangled with the question of Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom. Last year’s referendum was about independence-in-Europe and sinc... Read more
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The introduction of English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) faces a problem, says Michael Keating, in that only a minority of English voters will ever have supported the laws in question.    The government has now come up with its answer to the West Lothian Question, that Scottish MPs can vote on Engl... Read more
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The new government has thrown open the European questions but, asks Michael Keating, what - if any - answers might prove satisfactory? Now that the Conservatives have a majority government, we will have a referendum on membership of the European Union. This is scheduled to happen before the end of 2... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
It is a peculiar feature of devolution in the United Kingdom that each nation is treated differently, with its own settlement geared to local political demands.   Foreign observers look with puzzlement, seeing it as British pragmatism taken to extremes.   Yet, whether by chance or design, devolution... Read more
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The Public Administration Committee’s new report on the referendum focuses on two issues: the role of the civil service in helping to produce the Scottish Government’s independence white paper; and the action of Treasury Permanent Secretary Nicholas MacPherson in making public his advice that a curr... Read more
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Michael Keating discusses how English votes for English Laws has come to occupy a huge place in the debate about further devolution. English votes for English Laws has come to occupy a huge place in the debate about further devolution. For many Conservatives, it is a matter of elementary justice tha... Read more
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The draft legislation published in response to the report of the Smith Commission makes much of the concept of 'no detriment' - that the actions of one government should not harm another. However, explains CCC Director Michael Keating, that is considerably easier said than done.  Both the Smith Comm... Read more
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This article first appeared in The Herald. For a few months in 2014, Scotland moved to the centre of international attention. Politicians and journalists, used to thinking of Scotland as a colourful region of a stable country called England, scrambled to understand what was going on. If the United... Read more
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Devolution (Further Powers) Committee, 11 December 2014 - Evidence from Professor Michael Keating, Director of the ESRC Centre on Constitutional Change The Smith Report 1) General Approach The Smith proposals should be judged according to whether they give the Scottish Parliament the powers needed t... Read more
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Is the Smith Report devo-max? Not according to Michael Keating, who says that the proposals are neither devo-max nor the 'near federalism' suggested by Gordon Brown. The Smith commission report provides the minimum amount of extra devolution required to meet the expectations raised by the famous ‘vo... Read more
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