On having cake and eating it

by Elias Blum

“As a federalist, I believe in the federal solution which essentially means that everything domestic comes to Edinburgh, with the exception of foreign affairs, defence, large-scale economics and, I would also say, social security. An independent Scotland, however well motivated and resourced it might be, could never command the clout of the United Kingdom. I want to remain in the European Union and I want to remain in the United Kingdom. We are better together in both places.” <– Menzies Campbell, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, quoted in Cable Magazine.

Menzies Campbell completely misunderstands the nature of the crisis facing Scotland today – namely, that the possibility of having the ‘best of both worlds’, of being in both the UK and the EU, has been closed to us. If the LibDems had won the 2017 general election on a policy of reversing Brexit and introducing a federal constitution for the UK, then he might have a point, but that’s not what happened and it’s not likely to happen. England is leaving the EU, and heading for a hard and painful Brexit. The only question is whether Scotland does down with it, locked into a state that is doubling down on a unitary vision of parliamentary sovereignty. And of course the irony is that a post-Brexit UK will not have any clout at all.