Belfast Telegraph

Scottish referendum: It'll be a generation before Scotland cries freedom and strives to sever Westminster link

By Will Chambre

Away w’ ye perfidious Scots…well not quite, even at times the English may have wished it to be so…

And, now on this balmy September day, it will likely be more than a generation before the Scots once more raise the Saltire and cry freedom and strive to sever their link with Westminster once and for all.

Of course, all the battle cries of independence are little more than dull echoes of Alex Salmond’s war cries. Now within the carpeted corridors of Whitehall the future extent of Holyrood’s powers are whispered between civil servants.

Most media coverage has focussed on the changed relationships and the ‘West Lothian question’.

In a not so quiet corner of the UK, hands are raised with a soft grumble of “what about us"?

Unionists, nationalists, loyalists and republicans in our ‘wee country’ are all now considering what the ‘No’ vote will mean for their respective agendas as they jockey for influence.

Before ‘shopping lists’ are finalised, the various shades of Northern Ireland’s political classes will do well to remember the old adage: “With great power comes great responsibility”.

While, unbelievably, there may be a cross-community consensus among the parties around the economic holy grail of setting our own corporation tax rate, this is going to come a price. It is estimated that money men in Whitehall  will “dock our pay” to anything up to £500m a year to compensate for the loss of tax revenue.

Sinn Féin are eyeing up concessions on welfare reform along the lines of those that are being mooted for Scotland; thereby allowing Sinn Féin to say they are battling austerity on both sides of the border.

For each part of each concession that our local parties seek to wring out of a relieved coalition government in Westminster, politicians of all shades here would do well to remember there is only a tinsy weensy window of opportunity to do so. Prime Minister David Cameron has set an ambitious deadline of November for agreeing proposals for constitutional reform across the UK.  Then there is the little matter of a general election.

Leave it any later and chances of extracting promises, gifts, rebates, cash and powers will disappear in a puff of hustings hot air.

Strike while the iron is hot , seize the day -  whatever cliché MLAs can use, should be used now! While coalition government eyes in Westminster look northwards, and decide about more local democracy for England’s cities and shires, the Northern Ireland Executive have the opportunity to get a deal done.

However, first of all, they will need to work much harder at making our “devolved institutions function effectively”, as a certain gentleman standing in front of No 10 Downing Street suggested recently.

Scottish Independence Vote further reading

Scottish independence: Publicans really nail their colours to the mast 

Scottish independence: Battle between Yes and No takes a bitter twist in final hours of campaigning

Scottish independence: No camp drowned out by noisy, flamboyant and abrasive rivals who sense historic win 

Scottish independence: Break-up of the Union could hit Northern Ireland, warn business chiefs

Scottish independence: Ties that bind Northern Ireland and Scotland go way back and will survive the referendum 

Scottish independence: From oil and the pound to the Queen and tax - everything you need to know about the referendum

Will Rod Stewart abandon his love for Scotland? Will the Krankies sing for their country at Eurovision? And what would independence mean for Northern Ireland?

Scotland votes: Forget Izzard, David Bowie and Beckham - Scots shouldn't look to the stars for a decision on its future

Scotland referendum Yes vote would be a massive No, insists Danske Bank

Scottish independence: Breaking up would be a painful divorce, warns Cameron

Scottish referendum: Focus on devolved tax powers issue whatever Scottish result 

Scottish independence: David Beckham joins 'No' campaign urging voters to save the Union

Scottish independence: Unionists must change tack to save the Union

Scottish independence: Queen 'hopes voters think carefully' over Union vote

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Scottish independence: Yes vote supporters attack BBC over pro-Union 'bias'

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Queen will not be dragged into Scottish independence debate, Palace warns No camp

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Scottish independence: Unionists in Northern Ireland can expect a border poll of their own in the not-too-distant future

Westminster elite in a panic as more voters are backing Scottish independence, says Alex Salmond

UK is the envy of the world, David Cameron tells Scots

Scottish independence: Scotland is only have to watch Braveheart or read the 1707 Act of Union to see how different

Orange Order staging march in Edinburgh in support of Union: Thousands due at parade ahead of Scottish referendum

Scottish independence: Just days to go in one of the longest political campaigns in history 

Scottish 'yes' is a big no, no according to Peter Scudamore

Scottish independence: Whether Yes or No, we can learn lessons from the Scots

Shift towards Yes camp up by 38% as campaigns neck-and-neck according to TNS Scotland survey

Gordon Brown makes devolution vow in bid to spike Yes campaign guns 

Economist warns Scotland 'to be afraid of independence'

Scottish Referendum: Wait and see the outcome before dealing with any implications, says Martin McGuinness

No and Yes neck and neck, poll says

Scottish independence: Yes vote would have repercussions on border control

Scotland swings to Yes but Alex Salmond isn't resting on his laurels

Scots offered more powers if they reject independence

Pro-independence Yes campaign leads polls for first time in Scottish referendum battle

Scottish independence: Logic of staying in United Kingdom is slow to sink in 

Scottish independence: A matter for the head and heart

Referendum outcome won't affect us - SDC Trailers aims to stay close to hauliers

Scotland independence could bring tax breaks for North Sea oil industry

Alistair Darling: Scottish independence referendum will go right to the wire

Scottish independence: Trade and cultural links too strong to ever break

Scottish referendum: London sells us short in buying No vote 

Independence: What's the next step for Scotland and how will Northern Ireland people living there vote?

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