Scottish Tory goes for independence

A former Scottish Conservative candidate and Unionist historian, Michael Fry, has announced his support for the Scottish independence. However, the reason for his conversion is that devolution has failed to deliver:

“Devolution has proved to be completely hopeless, if anything making Scotland a worse country rather than a better country.”

Are the cheerleaders of devolution here over-hyping what it can deliver? What are the lessons that can be learned from the Scottish parliament for pro-devolutionists here?

  • willis

    Actually the article contains other juicy quotes

    “Fry emphasised that his conversion to independence was in line with his Conservative philosophical outlook, and he pointed to Estonia and Ireland as two thriving sovereign states Scotland could emulate.”

    He is not the first Tory to accept that separating from Britain was the best move (almost all of) Ireland ever made.

  • Greenflag

    Michael Fry may be right . Probably even more so as regards Northern Ireland than Scotland . It may be too early to write off Scottish devolution yet however it’s clear that it has not turned Scotland into the ‘vibrant ‘ economy that was hoped from ‘self governemnt’ .

    Devolution in Northern Ireland will be a vain attempt to hype up the benefits of local self rule while at the same time through so called ‘power sharing ‘ cement in the sectarian divide in NI into an increasingly green South and West of NI and an Orange east with Belfast reduced to the only place in NI which could go one way or the other depending on how and who decides the city’s local political boundary .

    There is no easy way to get from a position of political and economic dependency to having a vibrant economy . Independence itself is not sufficient as we have seen from the Irish example . Neither was the ‘half -independence’ which Northern Ireland ‘enjoyed’ between 1920 to 1972 .

    One could conclude from Fry’s article if devolution for Scotland does’nt work or at least deliver what was expected why would it deliver in NI.

    Scotland may have a better future as an independent country within the EU but probably only as Fry suggests if they say goodbye to the ‘statist’ mentality .

    Could NI go the independent route ? Not as a 6 county unit would be my feeling . Also the economic challenge would be greater than for Scotland given that NI is almost 70% dependent on the public sector for GDP expenditure wheras Scotland is around 50% .

    Food for thought for those who still cling on to the ‘naive’ belief in my view that the NI Assembly is the way for NI to become a) a modern stable political democracy or b) an economy that rivals it’s neigbour ROI in either job creation , economic growth rate or entrepreunership.

  • dodrade

    Am I the only one to notice the irony of some Irish nationalists on this site wishing Ireland to be united but Great Britain to be partitioned?

  • willis

    So far it looks that way.

  • Brian Boru

    I think it shows that the Union is doomed when even Scottish Tories are calling for its dissolution. Like Ireland before it, the Scottish people are becoming increasingly frustrated at the limitations of devolution, in spite of the fact that their politicians now control most aspects of their lives. The remaining areas they do not control – i.e. corporation-tax, immigration, and limitations on their control of income tax, getting a grant from Westminster rather than raising their own taxes – conspire to give England an advantage over them in terms of attracting multinational investment. I think the end will be nigh eventually. But does the Scottish parliament have the power to call referenda? How would a Cameron govt deal with an SNP executive in Edinburgh? I firmly believe that if the Scots want a divorce Westminster should accept it.

  • Greenflag

    Dodrade,

    The only irony is in your imagination .Here are some clues . Ireland is not Great Britain . Great Britain is not a political unit . That would be the UK. As an Irish ‘nationalist ‘ I have no objection to a post repartition NI State being whatever it wants to be either independent or continue it’s present dependency.

    Whatever Scots decide is their business . If they chose independence Fry points out the economic truths which they will need to face down that particular road . The same would apply to an independent NI whether it be an unlikely 6 county State or 2 county sized post repartition predominantly Unionist state .

  • Greenflag

    ‘He is not the first Tory to accept that separating from Britain was the best move (almost all of) Ireland ever made. ‘

    Former Tory leadership contender and favourite David Davis (where is he now ?) made a similar point by implication rather than a direct remark a year or so ago IIRC

  • Or maybe, just maybe, they’re trying to score points with the electorate by blaming all the country’s ills on central government. Local politicians throughout the UK are quite good at that. It’s not like we have to look too far…

  • John East Belfast

    “Instead, devolved Scotland has gone in the opposite direction. It is not liberal but illiberal. Its government is not limited but rampant. Its economics are not capitalist but statist — and not bringing prosperity either.”

    Why does he think it is going to be different under Independence – ie Scottish voters tend to favour various left of centre politicians and by giving them complete power does he think they are going to move decisively to the Right ?

    If it wasnt for the Scottish Labour Party the Tories would be in power in the UK therefore Scottish Independence will guarantee a move to the Right south of the border and copper fasten stateism north where he lives.

    Does he think the Scots are going to want to sacrifice their UK standard of Health, Welfare and Education, pay more Income tax and let the Corporates off from paying their share ? Meanwhile ship in Half a million Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants to keep wages low ?

    He isnt making any sense to me ?

    He would be better off arguing for a resurgence of the Scottish Tories in line with the revival wave coming south of the border.

    Scottish Devolution was always going to turn out exactly as he says it.

    NI is different because our Devolution had a big political as well as economic slant to it.

    ie the nationalists had to feel they had some control over their affairs rather than being governed from London.

    However if it wasnt for that I wouldnt be a devolutionist myself – a strengthened County Council model would suffice – I would also have a Council of the Councils with select members from each making representation to Central Government.

    Maybe that is where we are going anyway.

    Then the locals can play their full part in national politics by joining the Tories, Labour & Lib Dems

  • páid

    John,

    I wouldn’t assume (and I think Fry would agree with me) that an independent Scotland would have a leftwing Govt. Maybe the first 1 or 2, but the Scots would have to realise sharpish that they need a thriving entrepreneurial economy to survive and new right-of-centre parties á la the PDs would emerge; ones he could join himself.

    There is little relevance to NI this side of a resolution of the constitutional question. Scotland’s border with England is not up for dispute.

  • PHIL

    Good for him. Now for a mainstream politician to come out in support of English independance.

  • Greenflag

    ‘He would be better off arguing for a resurgence of the Scottish Tories ‘

    This would be known as the King Canute option .

    ‘in line with the revival wave coming south of the border. ‘

    Dour Brown may not swing the votes like the Tony boy but Cameron has a long way to go and in 3 years who can say whether the revival wave will end up drowning Labour or just dribble onto the beach leaving the Tories high and dry still 50 seats from a majority .

  • kensei

    “Dour Brown may not swing the votes like the Tony boy but Cameron has a long way to go and in 3 years who can say whether the revival wave will end up drowning Labour or just dribble onto the beach leaving the Tories high and dry still 50 seats from a majority”

    Indeed. “Let sunshine win the day”. Fuck off.

    Cameron has indeed changed the image of the Tories fro nsaty to complete fucking morons.

  • German-American

    Brian Boru: But does the Scottish parliament have the power to call referenda? How would a Cameron govt deal with an SNP executive in Edinburgh?

    According to the SNP website (not an unbiased source, of course), the Scottish parliament does have the power to call for a referendum, not on independence per se but on the question of whether the Scottish Executive should enter negotiations on independence with the UK government; see the their FAQ Will the Scottish Parliament be allowed to hold a referendum?.

    On the question What happens if Westminster tries to say ‘No’?, the SNP claims that neither Margaret Thatcher nor John Major would have said no, and presumably the SNP expects David Cameron would follow in their footsteps. I personally don’t see why he wouldn’t.

  • pondskater

    “Scotland’s border with England is not up for dispute.”

    On the contrary, under the Wales and Berwick Act 1746, England annexed the Scots town of Berwick, which remains Scottish linguistically. More recently there have been revisions to the sea border with implications for fishing and gas rights. Both these changes were made by the Westminster Parliament in which England enjoys a permanent majority rather than by treaty between two equal parties.

  • Dec

    Then the locals can play their full part in national politics by joining the Tories, Labour & Lib Dems

    Yeah, dream on…

  • PHIL

    Pondskater,

    You imply that the marine boundary has been altered in England’s favour. That couldn’t be further from the truth. You are correct though that there are disputed areas (Berwick-upon-Tweed, Monmouthshire and Cornwall) that need to be resolved once and for all.

  • páid

    pondskater, I stand corrected. I hadn’t heard of this and should have stuck to my instinct that all borders are usually disputed.

    It’s of a different order of seriousness than the Irish border though.

    PHIL, you’re not claiming Kernow surely! You’ll want the Isle of Wight next.

  • PHIL

    Pid,

    I’m not claiming anywhere! The Cornish people have every right to make a choice between being part of the English nation or making their own arrangements, just as the people of Berwick can choose where their loyalties lie. It is already English Democrats Party policy to hold a referendum in Monmouthshire asking whether they wish to remain in Wales or return to being an English county. I would support any referenda that clarifies peoples wishes on England’s fringes (including the Isle of Wight!) although personally I would prefer things to stay as they are.