Iain MacWhirter: After the Referendum - Sat 9 Aug 2014 (4 stars)

This article is from 2014

Iain MacWhirter: After the Referendum - Sat 9 Aug 2014

Clear-sighted analysis of Scottish independence referendum from experienced political journalist

'What would happen if Putin invaded an independent Scotland?' asks one tweedy doomsayer of Iain MacWhirter. 'You can't be serious,' the political journalist laughs, 'Are you a Yes campaign plant?' That apocalyptic warning aside, this event, chaired by broadcaster Sarah Smith, was a clear-sighted analysis of the Scottish independence referendum and its potential outcomes. As the title of his book suggests, The Road to the Referendum has been a long one.

Over recent decades, he argues, Scotland has come to question its place in the Union and Empire in which they were once enthusiastic partners. For Westminster to refuse a currency union might be politically effective in the short term, but it fundamentally alters the nature of the union from one of partnership to ipso facto colonisation, with the Pound treated as Westminster' gift to Scotland instead of a shared asset. MacWhirter's position is that a currency union makes economic sense, and sees no reason why it wouldn't happen in the event of a Yes vote. As to the idea that a currency union would mean Scotland would not be truly independent, MacWhirter points to the example of the Eurozone: France and Germany are still considered independent countries. 'Sovereignty is always circumscribed by the context of the time,' he adds. In a globalised, post-national world, the separatist nation state no longer exists.

The referendum, argues MacWhirter, has led to an extraordinary level of engagement with politics. However Scotland chooses to vote on September 18, a 'practical democratic revolution' is underway.

Iain Macwhirter

  • 4 stars

His book Road to Referendum is a clear-minded history of Scotland’s journey towards its historic vote in September, and Iain Macwhirter argues that after the poll, constitutional change is inevitable. If so, where will the negotiations between Holyrood and Westminster start, and how are they likely to end? In this session…