Neverendum: London pours scorn on Scots go-it-alone vote
In the UK, battle lines are being drawn over the issue of Scottish independence, with PM David Cameron insisting the Scots may hold a referendum on going it alone only if London gives its blessing.
David Cameron’s comments came as the British government ramped up its rhetoric against Scottish nationalists with increasing ridicule of the secession bid. Britain may be a 300-year-old union that once ruled the waves and half the known world, but on home soil, the country is closer than ever to a messy divorce.
The leader of Scotland's pro-independence party and First Minister of its devolved government, Alex Salmond is the man spearheading his country’s bid for sovereignty. To this end, Salmond is insisting on holding a vote on Scottish independence in the fall of 2014.
The distant date has left London with plenty of time to spin a web of scare stories, whose main theme is the high price Scotland will pay for independence.It will have to cover the billions of pounds British taxpayers have spent keeping Scottish banks alive; found its own currency; and lose thousands of jobs when the navy heads south.
Not that any of this seems to bother the Scots, who think their country has been strangled for long enough.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has urged Scotland to make its intentions clear "sooner rather than later," arguing that a lengthy period of uncertainty would harm Britain's economy. Cameron's government favors allowing the Scots a vote on whether their country should become independent, but suggests that Scotland should choose between total separation and the status quo.
“They’re happy to talk about the process, they don’t want to talk about the substance.I sometimes feel when I listen to them, it’s not a referendum they want, it’s a ‘neverendum’.Let’s have the debate, let’s keep our country together,” said UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
Meanwhile, Scottish minister Michael Moore, who has responsibility for Scotland in Cameron's cabinet, stressed that Scotland's parliament did not have the legal power to hold a referendum and that any plans must be approved by Westminster. He added that Scotland must decide if it "should go its own way or stay part of the most successful multination state in the history of the world."
One may wonder why Scotland would want to separate itself from a Britain that is still among the world’s richest economies.
Well, Scotland has always retained its own distinct national identity. And the Scottish National Party feels it’s almost time to take that one step further. It hopes a “yes”’ vote from the Scottish people would mean Scotland would gain control over its own North Sea oil and gas, and represent itself on the international stage. However, it does not want to hold a referendum in the next two years.
Scots have never taken kindly to hearing stern words from the “Mother of all Parliaments” down in London. But for the Nationalists, it serves only to boost to the lackluster 30 per cent support for a split.
For now, the UK and Scotland’s key players will continue to cross swords. At stake for Alex Salmond is a reputation built on restoring a proud Scotland. For Prime Minister Cameron, it is the potential to go down in history as the man who let the United Kingdom come apart.