There is a need for radical change to the relationship between England and Scotland

In July 1705 the Earl of Mar proposed to the Scottish Parliament an act for a treaty of Union with England (Fry, 2006). In presenting this draft treaty, Mar stressed that the negotiation would be between equals, the two independent kingdoms of England and Scotland. Sadly, the Union that resulted in 1707 was far from being a union of equals, it was a very inequitable agreement that saw all power and influence move to England. The Acts of Union of 1707 were thrust upon England and Scotland by the political elite of both nations. The people of the two nations were not consulted and their views were not taken into account. In England the public reaction was generally favourable to the Union, but in Scotland it caused great unrest and disaffection, many Scots considered it to be an act of treachery. The referendum proposed for 2014 will be the first public consultation that has ever been held on the Union, it will be the first time in the three hundred year history of the Union that all the people of Scotland will be able to voice their opinion on it.

Like most marriages the Union between England and Scotland has had its ups and downs, there have been successes and there have also been failures. Today, however, the marriage faces, in the form of an impending referendum on Scottish independence, one of its greatest challenges and divorce is a very possible outcome.

The Scottish Government, as a result of its overwhelming victory in the 2011 election, has been provided with a mandate to hold a referendum on Scotland’s future during the lifetime of the current Scottish parliament. The Scottish Government believes that having been provided with the mandate from the people of Scotland it has the moral authority to shape the referendum. However, the UK Government, and Scottish unionists, argue that the Scottish Government does not have the legal authority to hold a referendum and they are determined that their views and opinions will be taken into account in this matter. What is exceptionally troubling about the situation that appears to be developing is that debate could be stifled and the people of Scotland may not be provided with the opportunity to consider and debate all the options that are available to them. This is a dangerous game for all parties to be playing as there appears to be a growing groundswell of public opinion in Scotland that wishes to see a more open and extensive debate take place. Many people in Scotland wish to consider a wider range of options than just the two that many politicians wish to offer, the current Union or independence. There appears to be a real danger that politicians will hijack the debate and ignore the wishes of the people who will be impacted by its conclusions.

Alternative options to full independence have already been suggested. Prominent amongst these alternatives is full devolution or Devolution Max (Devo Max). This option is based on the Westminster parliament devolving more, yet to be determined, power to the Scottish Parliament. However, a fundamental problem with Devo Max is that many of the inequities that exist in the current Union will persist with this option. If an equitable Union is to be established between England and Scotland then a solution that is much more radical than Devo Max is required. This Blueprint proposes such a solution, this Blueprint proposes a new confederated Union between England and Scotland. This confederated Union will not be created by more powers being devolved from Westminster to Edinburgh, this confederated Union will be built by two nations of equal standing working together in partnership.