The technical Jekyll & the political Hyde: the constitutional law and politics of Scotland's independence "neverendum"

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Abstract

This chapter considers the constitutional law and politics of a second referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom. Drawing on Cass Sunstein’s work on the prudence of constitutionalizing secession rights, it argues that instability of the United Kingdom’s uncodified and unentrenched constitution presents a dilemma. The instability and politically contested nature of the idea of the ‘constitutional’ in the British state means that constitutional law cannot be understood as the only repository of constitutional values. While under the Scotland Act, the technical legality of further referendums on Scottish independence remains questionable, the hegemonic political principle of the ‘sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs’ suggests that a future plebiscite should be regarded as a legitimate and constitutional demand. Secession rights are, accordingly, simultaneously recognized, and not recognized in the British constitution. Flexibility, and ongoing constitutional uncertainty, is thus maintained.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Scottish Independence Referendum: Constitutional and Political Implications
EditorsAileen McHarg, Tom Mullen, Alan Page, Neil Walker
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
Chapter14
Pages325-346
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780198755517
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • political constitution
  • legal constitution
  • neverendum
  • scottish independence
  • scottish independence referendum
  • secession

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The technical Jekyll & the political Hyde: the constitutional law and politics of Scotland's independence "neverendum"'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Tickell, A. (2016). The technical Jekyll & the political Hyde: the constitutional law and politics of Scotland's independence "neverendum". In A. McHarg, T. Mullen, A. Page, & N. Walker (Eds.), The Scottish Independence Referendum: Constitutional and Political Implications (pp. 325-346). Oxford University Press (OUP). https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198755517.003.0014