With still four hours to go before the polls close it is still far too early to even think about the result of the Scottish referendum – so here goes. Whilst I feel that a Yes vote is in the long term interest of both countries, again sorry to Wales and Northern Ireland but I think you understand, I suspect it might be the result. Which means that the Vow made starts to become really important.
I have already written that I don’t think that there is a hope in hell that Gordon Brown’s grand plan will see the light of day beyond the huffs and puffs he will emit. I believe this is the same for the Vow. The reason for my pessimism is that I don’t think that there are enough votes in the House of Commons on the Tory side. With a General Election just 6 months away the Conservatives are starting to seriously panic as the polls don’t seem to be coming back towards them. They also have the problem of the UKIP fringe to consider who are only too willing to see the current Prime Minister loose the vote. In short there will be huge pressure heaped on Cameroon to fudge his Vow in some way otherwise he will be out on his ear. Of course the Government could use the votes from the Labour side to force any vote through but that is so unlikely as it would be a suicide note by David Cameron. Should the legislation pass through the House of Commons there is no way of knowing whether the House of Lords will play ball. In short the Vow probably isn’t worth the paper that it is written on given the short time scale envisaged by Gordon Brown. This is not a bad thing as if the Vow could form part of a much wider debate about the way that Britain is governed in the 21st century. The only problem here is that again the Tories have been shown to untrustworthy on this as well – remember the promise made by the Prime Minister on Alternative Vote referendum only when push came to shove he couldn’t deliver.
So what will the upshot of all this be? Most likely it will be a gift to the SNP in the forth coming British general elections in May 2015 as they will be able show just how duplicious the Westminster elite are and I suspect they will use this to win more seats, at the expense of Labour. This will seriously damage Labour’s electoral chances so we are even more likely to see a really hung parliament after the General Election in May with both Labour and the Conservatives squeezed by Scotland the Vow; Labour in Scotland by the SNP and both Labour and Conservative in England by UKIP.
So if this scenario is correct, a reasonable size if at this time, we might find that it is really impossible to form and Government at the UK level because the Nationalists in Scotland and UKIP (Whether actual MP’s or their UKIP in all but name Tory MP’s) in England will be unable to agree with the three main parties in any meaningful way. This might then start the whole process of the realignment of the political groups in Britain that is long long over due.
So where will this leave Scotland? I guess a very distrustful nation even more suspicious of any promise that might come from Westminster. If this is the case I suspect we might see the SNP romp home in the 2016 Scottish elections with a fresh demand for a new referendum and this time no amount of panicked vows or promises or grand plans will save the union. If this is the case then David Cameron will still go down in history as the man who lost the Union, even if he is long out of power and sitting on several boards of Footsie 100 companies – possibly comparing notes with Tony Blair as the best ways to earn money out of failed political careers. And as for Gordon Brown? I guess he will be seen gloomily roaming the Fife hills muttering about how he almost saved the Union as well as the world.
Of course this could all be nonsense and a far an equitable division of power will be presented in the next few months that pleases everyone and I will look like a fool – not the first time. Lets see.