Devo-max and the West Lothian QuestionI read something interesting the other day regarding devo-max and a solution to the West Lothian Question:
The crucial point in this proposal is that under devo-max, Scotland would handle pretty much all of its own affairs excepting things like defence and foreign affairs. On the flip side, Scotland would no-longer return MPs to Westminster. Rather, Scotland would send a delegation of MSPs to Westminster when necessary to vote on reserved matters such as defence. The Scots would have much more control in Scotland, in return for giving up its influence in the rest of the UK. It's the nearest thing to independence without some of the major drawbacks.
We're on a course at the moment that makes something along these lines almost inevitable. If we don't vote for independence, which we probably won't, then we'll end up with increased autonomy within the United Kingdom. And we'd probably never again see a Scottish Prime Minister of the UK -- unless the English ever happen to promote a Scotsman to leader of one of their parties. A line will be drawn in the sand, whatever happens.
I imagine that'll evoke mixed feelings in many people.
My initial thoughts are that it solves the West Lothian Question and the constitutional mess without full Scottish independence, and that's important. It also seems logical that this should be achieved by cutting Scottish constituencies from the Westminster electorate. But we'd have very limited opportunity for defeating the UK government's policy on foreign affairs should we disagree. Then again, perhaps that wouldn't be so different from now. As long it would be possible in theory for an MSP to end up as the Defence Secretary for example, then I perhaps would endorse this potential solution.