There are two principal reasons why the Scottish referendum matters for everyone in the present UK. The first can be dubbed the constitutional argument. If the Scots vote yes to independence on 18 September 2014, everyone else is affected willy-nilly, not just the Scots themselves. The rest of the UK will have to adjust and change. New rules of all kinds will be needed on both sides of the border. The international position of the rest of the UK (rUK) will change too.
So far so obvious. Rather less attention has been given, though, to the way the constitutional argument may evolve after a no vote. Rejection of independence will not kill the constitutional debate stone dead. It will merely change the context in which it resumes. Depending on whether the majority is large or small, it may not even kill off the independence issue for long. Either way, a whole range of issues about devolution, local government and the workings of UK institutions will have to be addressed after 2014. These arguments won’t be ended by the no vote that too many complacently expect. Better to address them now, asAdam Price argued in the Guardian on Tuesday.