Scottish politicians should have to consent to “major decisions” on defence and the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent, an MSP has said.
Katy Clark also argued that “lightning rod issues” like the nuclear submarines – based at Faslane on the Clyde – and “unpopular wars such as Iraq” had helped drive people towards independence.
She made the case for Scottish politicians to be given more say on such matters in a new book which calls for the option of “radical change short of independence” to be included if there is a second referendum north of the border.
The book, edited by Labour peer Baroness Bryan, proposes devolving powers over immigration, taxation, drugs laws and defence to Holyrood.
In her contribution, Ms Clark, a former MP who was elected as a West of Scotland MSP in May this year, wrote: “Whilst it is true that there are policy areas where the majority views of political representatives across the UK align, lightning rod issues like Trident and unpopular wars such as Iraq have effectively been recruiting sergeants for the cause of independence.
“The principle of the union between the nations should be based on the consent of each nation … North of the border, this could require that political decisions relating to defence which specifically affect Scotland – including major decisions on the Trident nuclear weapons system – to also require the consent of the Scottish Parliament or the block of Westminster MPs representing Scottish constituencies in the House of Commons.”
Baroness Bryan – who edited Scottish Independence: There is a Third Option – argued if Labour is to reconnect with working-class Scots the party must reject the “uber-unionism that has turned so many former voters away”.
On the issue of Scotland’s future, she said: “The status quo means continuing to suffer under one of the most right-wing, authoritarian Tory governments, and the alternative set out by the SNP for independence would lock Scotland into austerity policies for at least the first decade of independence with appalling consequences for public services and jobs.
“It is clear that should there be a future referendum, it must be on the basis of three options – status quo, radical change short of independence and independence.”
While Labour is opposed to a second independence referendum, Baroness Bryan insisted that the “choices on Scotland’s future are for the people of Scotland to make”.
She also said the “binary divisiveness” of the debate over the constitution “is sucking the air out of politics, to the detriment of jobs and public services”.