CBC’s Don Murray points out that a Québécois trajectory for Scottish separatism is quite possible if promised constitutional change doesn’t occur.
For those with long memories, the morning after in Scotland — indeed the final days of the heated campaign — seemed an eerie replay of Quebec’s first referendum in 1980.
There are differences, of course, some of them major, but consider: the loser, in conceding, hints at another referendum.
Alex Salmond, the Scottish National Party First Minister, said the people had not chosen independence “at this stage.” Thirty-four years ago PQ Quebec premier René Lévesque conceded, saying, “If I’ve understood you, ‘till the next time!”
Meanwhile, the winners wait until the last minute to promise huge constitutional change.
In 1980 the man with the promise was Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In Scotland it was another native son, this time former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He thundered into the campaign and galvanized the “No” camp with passionate speeches and a sweeping promise of “devo max” – maximum devolution, or in other words a major transfer of powers from London to the Scottish Assembly.
Brown had the green light from British Prime Minister David Cameron, who followed it up Friday morning with a speech in front of 10 Downing Street promising fast-track reform, with an outline constitutional bill ready by January.
But Britain, unlike Canada, has a misshapen federal structure which appears to have been worked out on the back of an envelope — or rather, two.