David Cameron, Alex Salmond and Scotland's referendum

 
David Cameron and Alex Salmond, pictured in 2011 David Cameron and Alex Salmond, pictured in 2011

They shake hands. They smile for the cameras. They hail an agreement which allows the people of Scotland to determine their own future. However, both men will know that there can only be one winner.

Either David Cameron is set to become the last Prime Minister of this United Kingdom, or Alex Salmond is on course to be the first nationalist leader forced to admit that his country has rejected the chance to become an independent nation.

In a little over two years Mr Cameron could return to Edinburgh as the leader of a foreign country, or Mr Salmond could still be coming to London as just one of the leaders of one of the parts of the UK.

This is a decision which will affect people in Accrington as well as Aberdeen and Cardiff as well as Cowdenbeath. It will have an impact not just on the taxes raised and the money spent throughout the UK, but also on such diverse questions as the location of army, navy and airforce bases, how our interest rate is determined and, even, the future of the BBC.

If Scots vote for independence there would be a natural English Conservative majority in the rump UK. If they vote against, Scottish politics will, for the first time in decades, not be dominated by the promise or the threat of separation from the rest of the UK.

That finality is the real point of today's agreement which heralds the transferring of power from Westminster to Edinburgh to hold a simple yes/no independence referendum by the end of 2014. It is meant to ensure that there is no dispute, no confusion, no rival interpretations which could see a court of law rather than the people determine Scotland's destiny.

Yet, for all this talk of resolving the future once and for all, it is worth remembering that Scots will not be able to vote for what many say they want and what all the biggest parties here advocate - namely more powers for Scotland within the UK.

Many Unionists assume that today marks the beginning of the end of Alex Salmond's dream as the polls suggest that there is no majority for independence.

Providing he can hold his party together and ensure this vote is not seen as a referendum on him - both big ifs - Scotland's First Minister may consider more powers a pretty good consolation prize.

 
Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 513.

    @469.ToryBoy
    I wonder if Alex has any plans to extend the border to the North and Midland regions of England

    IF Scotland becomes independant there would be nothing sopping it poaching other disaffected areas of the UK, however it seems unlikely Scotland would welcome the fiscal support they would require. The economies of the likely contenders are much, much weaker than Scotland

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 512.

    Remember the next UK General Election is in 2015, and the Scots General Election is in May,2015, and some of the English Tories wish to leave the EU, and force a Referendum on the issue. The Scots don't want to leave the EU, and will hopefuly vote YES in autumn, 2014.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 511.

    @84.Algarve41
    .. Why do we not have our own parliament? Why do we not have a vote on the Union?

    When Scotland got devolution, Blairs wanted England to get regional devolution but no-one was interested & lots of voters complained about the cost so it fizzled out.
    England could have a referendum any time on whether it should leave the UK in which voters living in Scotland would NOT get a vote

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 510.

    @489.weefifer
    "...bring some facts along, instead of silly baseless impressions."

    Hang on, that would cause the collapse of every corrupt government, media franchise and institution in the world. You can't have facts getting in the way of emotional BS, it'd be the beginning of freedom as we know it let alone the problems with tolerance and understanding. Preposterous suggestion.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 509.

    @498.Eddy from Waring
    24.Sepenenre
    "...Great - no more Labour lot in power, ever again!!!!!
    Excellent..."

    Incorrect. Blair would still have had a thumping majority in 1997
    without any of the Scottish MPs.

    Blair, Labour now that really is a laugh,
    in order to win they had to be led by a neo-liberal, closet Tory

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 508.

    What a sorry looking pair.

    Is that the best we can do?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 507.

    Rumour has it that Cameron is secretly delighted to have "conceded" votes for 16 and 17 year olds in the referendum, believing that they will be easily fired up with nationalistic fervour and secure a yes vote for independence, increasing the chances of the Tories winning a majority in the remaining UK elections.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 506.

    If Scotland votes for leaving the UK then they should be required to support Northern Ireland financially. The burden should not wholly fall on England and Wales.
    The Plantation of Ulster by James V1 of Scotland and the 1st. of England and Wales, was mainly a Scottish enterprise so the issues there remain the responsibility of Scotland as well as England.
    So there Jimmy!
    Alan

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 505.

    Surely there will be two winners if the Scots vote for independence. Alex Salmond will have his independent Scotland. David Cameron will have secured a safer majority for the Tory Party in England. Salmond has been conned into accepting a straight yes/no vote. The Tories will campaign vigorously for the status quo, knowing that nothing is more likely to drive Scots to vote for independence!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 504.

    #503 "The Scots (originally Irish, but by now Scotch) were at this time inhabiting Ireland, having driven the Irish (Picts) out of Scotland; while the Picts (originally Scots) were now Irish (living in brackets) and vice versa. It is essential to keep these distinctions clearly in mind (and verce visa)." Courtesy of "1066 and all that" by Sellar and Yeatman

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 503.

    477.Steve_M-H

    "...they, the celts,.."

    ===

    Genetic research has shown the English to be about 70% from the same stock as the "Celts" (who aren't in truth very Celtic either).

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 502.

    perhaps Gretch would like to take RBS with him too

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 501.

    I believe the "Jack Staff" for flying the Union Flag is the one in the bow of the ship?

    After Scottish Independence it would be nice to get rid of that symbol of Norman oppression and have as our flag a pair of dragons: white for England (as was once our banner) and red for Wales.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 500.

    Suddenly Scottish independence doesn't seem like such a bad idea. If only we can encourage the Welsh to go too. Then it will be the end of Labour in England. Vote 'yes' for Scotland to save England. Then the Welsh and the Scots can have their socialist experiment at their own expense.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 499.

    "Blair would still have had a thumping majority in 1997 without any of the Scottish MPs"

    Yes, funny how history sees things. A wopping 13.5 million voted for Tony Blair in '97 which gave him a mandate to set in place the economics that trashed the UK

    Unlike John Major, who led a Tory government who were lucky to be in power at all. How many votes did John Major's party get? Oh, 14 million.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 498.

    24.Sepenenre

    "...Great - no more Labour lot in power, ever again!!!!!

    Excellent..."

    ===

    Incorrect. Blair would still have had a thumping majority in 1997 without any of the Scottish MPs.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 497.

    455.Gizzit
    "If I lived in England, I would be pushing for a federal parliament. London is a bloated parasite - at least the Scots have a choice now."
    -
    Strange how one group of Quislings say London is too weak, while another that it is too strong; its probably just about right then!
    There is certainly no-one in England prepared to say farewell to its revenues!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 496.

    Sileas @468

    The life of the mountain, & of the valley, here & afar
    Is 'of the mountain, the valley, the people', here & afar

    Whether in Beijing, New York, Brussels, London or Edinburgh, we will be 'ruled' by by ourselves as Equals, or by the traitorous Quislings of Mammon

    Sheer folly to be led by the 'nationalist nose', except 'for democracy', to lead by example

    Equal Partnership, or Mammon?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 495.

    Justin,

    What you are saying is incorrect. Scotland has a very strong economy without oil and gas and with oil and gas Scotland has been a net contributor to the UK treasury in practically every year. Norway has a £300 billion oil fund for future generations. Scotland has zilch. An independent Scotland also wont be paying for nuclear weapons etc. Fiscal autonomy will solve the problem.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 494.

    477.Steve_M-H
    2 Hours ago
    "Hatred of England is the only thing that holds them together".

    ..... Well reading comments from (some) of the English over the last couple of days they not only hate the Scots, Welsh and Irish they hate the French, Germans, Australians, Americans - in fact I am not sure who they do like.

 

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