We are a couple of days away from the result of the referendum on Scottish Independence. The opinion polls suggest a close result likely to favour the No campaign.
In recent weeks there has been talk of David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, being called upon to resign if Scotland votes yes. The people that make these calls offer no logical reason for why he should do that, other than he has ‘lost’ Scotland. That is complete poppycock! As a Unionist, and Englishman, I fully understand the limited participation of Cameron in the debate. When he has spoken it is with an obvious and deep-seated passion for our United Kingdom. Let’s be clear though, the Conservatives are not well liked in Scotland. Indeed, in some parts they are loathed. A Scottish friend, who sits in the No camp, said that the less Cameron speaks on the referendum, the better, as his Etonian pronunciation just pushes the ‘don’t knows’ into the Yes camp. I see his point and it is a sad reflection of the current debate that he may be right. There’s a part of me though that thinks that as the campaign draws to a close, some people of Scotland are seeing (hearing?) past the voice and listening to the message. This is a message of our shared history and a strong desire to have the United Kingdom continue to lead the world in so many fields.
I think though, that whatever the outcome, Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland and Nicola Sturgeon his deputy, must stand down on Friday morning. They have led a very divisive campaign. Oftentimes, they have either wittingly or unwittingly unleashed the thuggish element which inhabits the nationalist fringes (North and South of the border) .
They have given a glimpse of what life would be like in Scottish Nationalist Scotland – Independent or not. A State controlled media, for example. One that pushes-out the party line according to wee Eck. Salmond became furious with Nick Robinson, of the BBC, because Robinson has dared to question some of the more outrageous statements made by Salmond and Co. Bad boy Nick – go sit on the naughty step! It was perhaps telling that Salmond’s outburst against the BBC came just after his independence campaign was solidly endorsed by North Korea’s Supreme Leader – a fully paid-up member of the ‘It’s my country to do with as I want and don’t dare question me’ club. In Pyongyang one can’t say that the emperor has no clothes but is still possible, just, in Edinburgh.
Salmond and Sturgeon have taken Scotland down a very divisive road and pitted neighbor against neighbor. Does anyone believe these two have the ability to bring the country together, from Friday? These are little people with little minds. I’ll admit Salmond has a way with words but throughout this campaign they have not managed to craft an answer to the fundamental questions that have been posed. Ask a question Salmond or Sturgeon don’t like and back they come with a non-answer or an accusation that ‘you are in the pay of the distant Westminster elite’. Ask about the Scottish NHS and the accusations that it would not be safe with a No vote and you get all the rubbish about privatization and nothing about the fact that Health is a devolved responsibility and so currently and will continue to sit with Holyrood and not London! Oh, and by the way, the NHS was established, ever before devolution by those ‘Westminster elite types!’
So come Friday whatever the outcome, Salmond and Sturgeon could do one last decent act for Scotland, by tendering their own resignations. They have said nothing, in their years in power, to indicate that they have the spirit to heal the divisions that their hubris has brought about.