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Prominent politics experts to discuss impact of the Scottish independence referendum on Wales at the Hay Festival

27 May 2014

Today (Tuesday 27 May 2014) Welsh and Scottish political academics will be discussing Scottish independence and how it might affect Wales at the Hay Festival.

In conversation with Bethan Rhys Roberts (BBC Cymru Wales), Professors Richard Wyn Jones (Director, Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University) and James Mitchell (ESRC Fellow, Edinburgh University) will talk of the impacts of both a YES and NO vote in the forthcoming Scottish independence referendum and how this will affect Wales and the rest of the UK.

Professor Richard Wyn Jones will argue that:

“The devolution process in Wales has its own internal dynamic which is only very tangentially related to Scotland, but rather reflects both changing public attitudes in Wales itself as well as the patent inadequacies of the various Welsh devolution dispensations.”

“That said, a narrow NO vote in the Scottish referendum might well unleash a process of more fundamental change in the nature of the UK state which would have an impact on Wales and on the nature of the Welsh debate.”

“Paradoxically, initially at least, a YES vote might have less immediate effects in Wales. This because it is currently so hard to imagine what a Scotland-less UK would look and feel like from a Welsh perspective. I suspect that it would take many years for most people in Wales to work out what, if anything, Scottish independence means for us.”

Professor James Mitchell will say:

‘A YES vote will remove the only real impediment to reforming the Barnett formula though a NO vote might encourage London to be bolder in its approach to a weakened Scotland. Whatever happens, pressures on public finances will be the main driver of public policy over the coming years as cuts begin to bite in efforts to tackle the UK’s enormous debt.’

‘A NO vote is likely to be seen as bringing an end to this chapter in relations between the UK and Scotland. Government in London will be inclined to move onto other matters – the EU membership will become far more significant than the internal domestic constitution and public finances will remain at or near the top of the agenda in London.’

‘But whether or not devolved matters recedes, these issues never disappear altogether and it seems most likely that Scotland’ constitutional status will remain or re-emerge as an issue in UK politics with significant implications for Wales into the future.’

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