Last week I attended the Solar Conference (society of Local Authorities Lawyers and Administrators in Scotland) which provoked my thoughts around the upcoming Scottish independence referendum in September.
Before the conference started I had expected discussions on the topic, but having listened to the Minister for Local Government and Planning Derek Mackay discuss the yes vote I realised what an English centric view influenced by the national press and Westminster rhetoric I have on the subject. Of those I spoke to at the conference the majority supported the no vote, predominantly based on history and a sense of belonging. However it got me wondering if this was indicative of the majority, especially as the SNP are looking to lower the minimum voting age in the referendum to 16.
Derek Mackay presented a very passionate and well informed nationalistic argument in favour which I expect will appeal to a large proportion of the population however I’m wondering if it will eventually all hinge on economic factors and how this affects voters back pockets.
Governance post referendum
It was also interesting to hear about the governance of Scotland post referendum and the possible legal ramifications: a yes vote would likely see a written constitution, creation of a supreme court and negotiations around Scotland’s international obligations including the EU, NATO and energy policies whilst a no vote would at least bring changes to the Scotland Act and a more formal constitution. Regardless of the outcome there will continue to be a devolvement of power and a shift towards increasing the pace of public service reform and empowering more communities all reflected in legislation such as the Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill, Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy and Scottish Cities Alliance.