News / Europe

British PM Urges Scotland to Reject Independence

TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
British Prime Minister David Cameron conceded on Sunday that Scotland had what it takes to be an independent nation, but said it currently enjoyed "the best of both worlds," imploring it not to break the United Kingdom apart.

Stepping up his government's campaign to hold Britain together ahead of an independence referendum expected next year, Cameron urged Scotland not to sever a union with England that dates back 306 years.

"Put simply: Britain works. Britain works well. Why break it?" he wrote in an article published in Scottish newspapers. "This big question is for Scotland to decide. But the answer matters to all of our United Kingdom. Scotland is better off in Britain. We're all better off together and poorer apart."

Cameron's political future and historic legacy are on the line. He has pledged to contest the next British general election in 2015 and his own Conservative party would never forgive him if he presided over the break-up of a United Kingdom comprising England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

London's main parties are campaigning jointly against independence, knowing that Alex Salmond's Scottish National Party (SNP) is an astute and highly motivated political machine that will spare no effort to win a vote on its flagship policy.

Tapping into an emotive cocktail of historical rivalry, opposing political tastes, and a perception that the British parliament in London does not nurture Scotland's national interests, the ``Yes Scotland'' campaign wants independence to be a reality by 2016.

Problems of Break-up

Scottish secession could create serious problems for the remainder of the United Kingdom.

Britain's Trident nuclear submarine fleet is based in Scotland, revenues from Scottish North Sea oil remain important to its coffers, and analysts say Britain would find it harder to maintain its voice in international bodies such as the U.N. Security Council as well as in European Union decision-making.

The SNP published a document this month suggesting the transition arrangements could be made within 16 months, and that Independence Day for Scotland could come in March 2016, a timetable opponents dismissed as unrealistic.

Opinion polls suggest support for independence has stalled. The latest put it at 32 percent and opposition at 47 percent. But Cameron and politicians from other parties remain nervous.

The government is expected to release the first of many policy papers on Scottish independence on Monday, analyzing the legal and constitutional implications of a ``Yes'' vote.

One of the central planks of Cameron's argument is that Scotland already enjoys a high degree of autonomy through its own parliament, and he has hinted that it would be able to repatriate even more powers if it rejected full independence.

"I have no time for those who say there is no way Scotland could go it alone. I know first-hand the contribution Scotland and Scots make to Britain's success - so for me there's no question about whether Scotland could be an independent nation," Cameron wrote. "We want you to scrutinize, challenge and form your own opinion. This must not be a leap in the dark, but a decision made in the light of day."

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid