Home Rule??

1 Nov

Home Rule is a very acceptable tactical option in the incremental accumulation of power towards the tipping-point of de facto sovereignty. It has been the political methodology employed by the vast number of new post-war states in their decolonization process. Please note-process; for sovereignty, particularly in this epoch of the post-sovereign state in which power is   devolved and shared (EU/UN) the idea of what constitutes a ‘sovereign Scotland’ will mutate and change form. However there are dangers when playing constitutional politics with perfidious albion.

Britain played games around the issue of home rule within the Empire by offering colonies ‘local’ powers but retaining substantive power in London.

Creech Jones a major player in the Labour Government’s decolonization process suggested that granting full responsibility for LOCAL affairs was only right but he did not see this as ‘ involving the elimination of British power’.

In 1952 there was a Foreign Office paper called ‘the problem of nationalism’. In it the FO argued that it was possible to ‘ draw the constructive forces of nationalism to the British side by offering limited political authority in order to minimize the threatened erosion of British power’.

So Home Rule can be seen (in London) as a full stop whereas it is merely a semi-colon(y).

Australia is an interesting example. Though gaining home rule around 1900 it took another 80 years to finally gain supreme authority from Westminster.

Australia assumed a de facto Independence (home-rule) by the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act of 1900 the more formal dejure Independence came much later partly by the Statute of Westminster 1931 that granted sovereignty which was not formalized by London until the passing of the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act of 1942 . Although this was assumed to grant Independence it to another 40 years 1986 until Australia held supreme constitutional sovereignty preventing Westminster from repealing or preventing any Acts of the Australian Parliament by the passing of the Australia Act 1986 in Westminster and Canberra and signed into law by the Queen.

To this day Australia does not have an Independence Day.

So from this example there was no single act called Independence (though the 1942 Act is generally accepted) while the de facto Independence in practical terms, what is called utilitarian sovereignty, began way back in 1900.

The idea of an incremental acquisition of power over time is a genuine alternative to a ‘one- time act’.

(What the Australian case offers (and a valuable lesson) is that prior to the 1900 Australian Constitution Act for almost ten years Australian’s held a number of people’s constitutional conventions across the several states (with no legal status).

In all of this and at the very centre of this debate has to be the lead actor-the SNP.

It has a constitution that all members must endorse.



  1. The Party shall be named the Scottish National Party.


Aims 2.

The aims of the Party shall be:

(a) Independence for Scotland; that is the restoration of Scottish national sovereignty by restoration of full powers to the Scottish Parliament, so that its authority is limited only by the sovereign power of the Scottish People to bind it with a written constitution and by such agreements as it may freely enter into with other nations or states or international organisations for the purpose of furthering international cooperation, world peace and the protection of the environment.


This just might be a stumbling block to the idea of a process towards Independence via Home Rule.


However there is a second aim:


(b) the furtherance of all Scottish interests.


In clause (b) we might just fine the key to unlock the movement for Home Rule as a mighty step towards Independence.




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