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Scotland not being independent means devolution has worked, says Blair

17 Jun 2024 2 minute read
Sir Tony Blair. Photo Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Scotland not being independent shows devolution has worked, Sir Tony Blair has said.

Sir Tony was the prime minister who legislated for the Scottish Parliament after a referendum in 1997.

While the former prime minister did not claim the goal of devolution to be to end the Scottish independence movement, Lord Robertson – whom he appointed shadow Scottish secretary in 1995 – said devolution would “kill nationalism stone dead”.

But 25 years on from the opening of the Scottish Parliament, support for independence remains around 50% of respondents to opinion polls.

Design

Speaking to Holyrood magazine, the former prime minister said: “I do reflect on devolution a lot, and occasionally do think what should we or could we have done differently but, on the whole, I’m still of the same opinion as I was back then, which is that devolution had to happen, otherwise you’d leave Scottish people with the choice of status quo or independence, and Scotland is still part of the UK, which was part of the design – so devolution has worked, as far as I am concerned.”

He later added: “Whatever people think about Brexit, even if they’re ambivalent about it – and I obviously think it’s a terrible thing, but even if you’re ambivalent about it – you’re kind of thinking, this is a huge mess, and therefore, do we really want to gamble with the Scottish economy that is, by the way, much, much more linked to the British economy than the British economy is to Europe?

“Do we want to gamble with that?”

Stalemate

The independence movement – spearheaded by the SNP – has found itself in a stalemate with the UK Government in recent years.

Repeated requests for the powers to hold a second referendum have either been rejected or gone ignored in the years since the cause lost the 2014 vote.

Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon then sought approval from the UK Supreme Court to hold a plebiscite without Westminster approval, which the judges rejected.

The SNP then cycled through multiple positions about how to treat the upcoming election.

If the party wins a majority of seats north of the border in the July 4 poll, it will seek to give “democratic effect” to the desire for independence, which First Minister John Swinney said last week would mean seeking another referendum.


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Valley girl
Valley girl
27 days ago

What a t**t. Articles like this are usually in response to something deeper rooted and a way to deflect Independence.

Annibendod
Annibendod
27 days ago

Unbelievable. Perhaps he still thinks Saddam Hussein had super dooper missiles ready to fire at us in 40 minutes … The man deludes himself.

Erisian
Erisian
27 days ago

Nobody cares what you think Tony – What we want to hear from you is an extended period of silence.

Mawkernewek
27 days ago
Reply to  Erisian

Unfortunately I’m not sure that’s what we will get, after the election I suspect Tony’s interventions will become more prominent rather than less.

Griff
Griff
27 days ago

We wouldn’t have an Assembly without Blair. And we wouldn’t have won the referendum without Ron Davies

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
27 days ago

What is this buffoon Blair talking about? “Scotland isn’t independent means devolution had worked” rubbish? Scotland isn’t independent because that unholy trinity of Conservatives, Labour & Liberals linkef arms in 2014 and lied to stop them. I can recall how PM David Cameron during the weeks leading up to the Scottish independence referendum offered little until 3 or 4 days before the vote and put Devo-Max on the table. Called on favours from Spain to say they’d block Scotland rejoining the EU because they had Catalonia wanting independence. And they even had the Queen make a comment putting doubt in… Read more »

Neilyn
Neilyn
27 days ago

At one point Sir Blair the economy of Ireland was tied to that of England, and that of Estonia tied to that of Russia. And now, as free independent countries? Ireland has a significantly higher relative wealth than England and Estonia a significantly higher relative wealth than Russia. Oops!

Gwyn Hopkins
Gwyn Hopkins
27 days ago

The only logical interpretation of Blair’s claim that Scottish devolution “has worked” is that it has eliminated the demand for Scottish independence. With opinion polls on Scottish independence during the last 5 years or so consistently showing about 50% in favour, this really is wishful thinking.  What is actually working to hinder Scottish independence is the absolutely outrageous situation that the authority to conduct a further independence referendum lies with the massively England-dominated Westminster parliament, not with the people of Scotland.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
27 days ago

The UK government can just ignore the call for another independence referendum now. However, unless there is an effort to improve relations with the EU in the hope of rejoining in the future and Labour drastically improving equality in the UK in the meantime – the threat of independence by, not just Scotland, but Wales too, will not go away. I can’t see it happening,, Westminster is set in it’s ways, so there is a very good chance the UK will be no more before 2040..

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