Devo-Max, another option for independence in Scotland?


Edinburgh (United Kingdom) Jan 29 (EFE).- The evolution of Scotland’s relations with the UK has been dominated by the dichotomy between independence and the ‘status quo’, but one year after the Scottish Government’s intention to hold a new referendum in 2023, intermediary option, devolution of maximum powers (Devo-Max), goes to voting.

The constitutional future of Scotland, and therefore the United Kingdom, has been based on an ongoing binary debate between the unchangeability of immortality in the Union or its complete annihilation, although the term “maximum return”, remains to be determined and it was raised before the consultations held in 2014 , refreshing the discussion of where the Labor Party will speak, experts tell Efe.


“We don’t really know what that means,” Professor Nicola McEwen, co-director of the Center for Constitutional Change at the University of Edinburgh, told Efe, who defines it as “maximum devolution of power before achieving independence.”

As a result, “major state problems – such as defense or foreign relations – will continue to be matters of law protection,” McEwen said.

The question, for academics, lies in “where to draw the line” and determining “what is the ‘maximum’ return of your maximum power”, which is something that is subject to the “interests of the parties”.


This massive power transfer will require a “big package of constitutional changes”, said Andy Maciver, a political analyst and former head of communications for the Scottish Conservative Party.

The devolution of powers to the Edinburgh regional Parliament “allows Westminster – the British Parliament – to exercise jurisdiction in certain areas such as foreign and defense policy,” Maciver explained.

Keir Stamer’s Labor Party “will define what” the term means, the Scottish analyst said.

“(Former Prime Minister) Gordon Brown is working on it” on the party’s constitutional commission, along with his Welsh counterpart “with a more radical proposal”, Professor McEwen added.

“Labor – at least in theory – is more comfortable with higher levels of devolution or federalism than the Conservatives,” the academic said.


“Maximum returns are not the same as federalism,” McEwen decided.

“Federalism cannot be decided unilaterally from Scotland, it has to be something the whole of Great Britain agrees on”, and for this it required “votes from four countries – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – as in the Brexit referendum”, in 2016 “.

Academics have questioned whether the Scottish Parliament has the authority to express its opinion on the matter to the public. “I think it will end up in court,” he said.

This question forms part of the Scottish Government’s roadmap for the intended celebration of the independence referendum before the end of 2023.


The debate is polarized as “the narrative is controlled by the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Conservative Party” to “feed their base”, analyzing “story” analysts.

Both campaigns were based on “independence or nothing”, explains Maciver, with “no room for Labour” or for “maximum devolution” debates.

The scenario “would change if Keir Stamer -a labor candidate- became prime minister of the UK”, something that would force discussions to turn between them and the nationalists, ruling out the “Tories”, he speculated.

The current appetite for Devo-Max in Scottish society is 26%, while 30% are against it and 30% neither for nor against, ComRes published last week.

In the same series of polls, 66% of Scots are dissatisfied with the British Government and Parliament in London.

Despite everything, the maximum transfer option “has not been articulated to the electorate” and “no party is taking part” in it, Emily Gray, director of the Ipsos Mori polling station in Scotland, reminded Efe.

“It is unlikely that the Union will continue like this in the long term”, according to analyst “Tory” Maciver. If it continues, “more people will be against it” and it will be “more difficult” to get them back. “It is in our interest, the union members, to modernize it now,” he concluded.

William Garrido

Elena Eland

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