I have long expected Scotland to vote to stay in the UK. I was interested to see a more positive approach this week by the better together campaign, something I welcome. I also understand why the UK government has not made contingency plans for the possible loss of the referendum. To do so would be misconstrued as evidence of worries that the vote would be lost and would be a boost to Mr Salmond.
This does not prevent others from speculating about what should happen in the unlikely event of a Scottish Yes vote to independence. I have suggested before that in such a circumstance the UK Parliament should pass an Act rapidly extending the tenure of existing MPs for Scotland until the chosen date of separation, and at the same time preventing them from voting on English or rest of the UK issues. The present Scottish MPs should play no part at Westminster in the negotiations the rest of the UK has to conduct with Mr Salmond over the terms of the split.
A more interesting question is how Westminster should respond to a No vote in Scotland. There has been some discussion of additional powers for the devolved Parliament if they vote to stay in. It seems to me it should be a priority on hearing of their wish to keep the union together, to tackle the outstanding issue of England’s government. We have unfair asymmetric devolution. I want the new English Parliament to be at Westminster, on days when the Union Parliament is not meeting. Every English MP elected to Westminster should be both a Union MP and an English MP. We should get on with establishing a proper government for England in the devolved areas.