The Yes and No camps are busy telling us that Scotland will be made better or worse off as a result of independence. What they both seem to assume is that “what is best for Scotland?” is the relevant question to ask. But why? The referendum will have an impact on people beyond Scotland’s borders. So isn’t the relevant question to ask, “what is best for everyone affected by the referendum, wherever they live?” Clearly, the outsiders who will be most affected are those living in the rest of the UK. In the event of a Yes victory, politics within the rest of the UK is set for a shake up.
A previous piece on the potential for “A Scottish Nordic Model” outlined how the Nordic states developed their particular brand of social democratic social investment states commonly lauded as “The Nordic Model”. I don’t want to repeat those arguments, but I do wish to add a little more to those ideas.
Last Monday, the centre-right and federalist Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ) won a clear majority victory and the centre-left sovereignist Parti Québécois (PQ) suffered a historical defeat. Philippe Couillard will be the new premier of Quebec.
The PQ held a minority government and had called the election in a bid to turn it into a majority, but in light of the results the head of the party Pauline Marois, who failed to win her own seat, resigned.
The Scottish independence debate may, at times, seem parochial, but its reach is global. We often seem to focus on narrow Scottish issues but the big questions travel well: what should be the size of a nation state? Should large countries have central, regional and local governments? If so, how should we share those responsibilities and coordinate policymaking between levels of government? Which policy areas should be centralized and which devolved? Should regions have taxation and spending powers?