Better “a Scotland busier being born than busy dying…”

A typically passionate piece from Pat Kane in the Scotsman, arguing that Scottish independence is not something you can enjoy something of if you don’t have it at all. He believes this is a once off opportunity to re-arrange power relations on the island of Britain that won’t be coming back any time soon, if the Yes camp fails.

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I don’t know for certain whether Pat was inspired to write the piece after reading retired academic David Marquand’s hefty essay in Prospect Magazine this month (subs needed), but they cover similar territory.

Marquand makes the not unreasonable assumption that the Scottish Yes camp will fail this time, but that without some serious a critical attention to the constitutional balance within the UK, they will come back again at some point in the future and take their leave.

What’s required Marquand argues is not a devolutionary settlement but a Federal one in which the constituent parts of the United Kingdom act as checks on the power of Westminster and vice versa. “The inspired opening words of the US Constitution – “We the people” – point the way to the answer” he says.

Given the profound lack of interest in the Scottish question amongst the rest of Britain, and in particular within the Westminister bubble, I’m not sure how many yards that is likely gain in any interim…

But for Pat Kane it is the here and the now that matters, and the sloughing off of old and unfitting constitutional clothes… He concludes…

Scotland free or a desert? Not quite. But to quote that old Burns fan Bob Dylan, a Scotland busier being born than busy dying? Yes. Which is the opposite of No.





Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty