What unites Thatcher’s man in Scotland Sir Malcolm Rifkind and left-wing, anti-Tory firebrand Labour MSP Neil Findlay? They’re both agreed – it’s time for a federal solution to the Scottish question. In an interview yesterday, Rifkind, who was Scottish Secretary from 1986 to 1990 and was in charge of the notorious introduction of the Poll […]

Federalism is a trap we should not be lured in to




Devolution has been a “disaster” in Scotland, and was Tony Blair’s “biggest mistake”. Boris Johnson has only said what is almost certainly the quiet consensus in the British establishment, but it’s important that the words are now on record. I would wager that Blair thinks the same. You have to see devolution from the the […]

Johnson’s devolution comments are a sign of weakness


There is a constitutional curiosity in the UK Government’s Internal Market Bill which professor Michael Keatings, Centre for Constitutional Change director, has identified, and is worth reflecting on. Until now the UK Government operated a system of powers which was fundamentally different from that of the EU. Some powers are reserved and some are devolved, but […]

Britain’s new unitary state



“The increasingly dominant view within Tory unionism is that devolution has backfired, and its institutions have only provided a vehicle for the Union’s enemies. Why not engineer a conflict through which devolution might be undercut?”

Sean Bell: Power grabs and the future of devolution


Suddenly everyone’s talking about Brexit and ‘power-grabs’ again. It’s 25 months yesterday since SNP MPs staged a walk-out from the House of Commons over the “power-grab” of the EU Withdrawal Bill, and now it’s back. If you thought we were done with all that, think again.  What are we actually talking about here? As part […]

What’s Gove up to?


“Scotland has effectively reached the end of its ‘devolution journey’. Once Scotland was promised that it would have ‘the most powerful devolved government in the world’ but it seems that the limits of that high tide has been reached and those powers are now retreating by the day.”

Craig Dalzell: Westminster power grabs and the high tide of devolution