Scottish National Party Kicks Off Pro-Independence Campaign
Scottish independence campaign “Yes Scotland” was kicked off on Friday with the goal of convincing millions of Scots to sign for an independent country, as the British media accuse pro-independence campaigners of having stalled the beginning of the campaign after opinion polls showed them that only one third of the Scots wanted to leave the United Kingdom and create a new country.
The results of the polls were released hours before Alex Salmond began the campaign for an independent Scotland, which is supposed to be won by means of a referendum in 2014, when Scots are expected to vote on a program fostered under the slogan “Scotland’s Future in Scotland’s Hands.”
The poll was conducted by the anti-independence campaigners, who are expected to launch their own campaign soon, is called YouGov and was conducted on 1,004 people, finding only 33% of the Scots opting for independence, while 57% reject it. The poll is in trend with others which showed that the independent movement in Scotland was not well received amid the Scots, who do not understand too well how will independence from Britain affect their day-to-day lives, since the promoters of independence are not convinced themselves what kind of state they want to promote.
The survey also reflects that only 58% of the voters for Scottish National Party who supported the party in the landslide victory in May support independence, while 28 percent do not.
The results of the opinion poll do not surprise the SNP campaigners, who know that they are expecting a fight and that the people support a more autonomous Scotland, but not a totally independent one. However, it signals that the three parties which promote the campaign against independence, the Labor party, the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats, will put up a fight, as their campaign is about to start in June.
The SNP campaign, which was kicked off in Edinburgh in Hollywood style is expected to last for 30 months, at the end of which time SNP hopes to cover the gap and change the mind of as many people in Scotland as possible.
The nationalist party counts upon the support of some undecided members of the other parties, such as Labor supporters or members of the Green party. The Greens said they would support the independence bid but not unconditionally, since so far the campaign was dominated by the centrist policies of the SNP, including the support for NATO and for the exploitation of oil in the north.
The Socialists are also supporting the idea of independence but they want a republic not the monarchy as the SNP is proposing. Scot national poet Liz Lochhead, ex-Labor PM Dennis Cannavan, famous trade unionist Tommy Brennan, and world famous singer Susan Boyle were among those who attended the SNP campaign start show.
The Future of Scotland alliance of civic groups, led by former moderator of the Church of Scotland, demanded that the campaign be postponed until after the people got a chance to decide for themselves which kind of reform they wanted.
Future of Scotland also advised against starting the reform at this early stage, arguing that the people would get bored and alienated of a campaign that would start now and would end in 2014.
London and Edinburgh had some political clashes about when the referendum should be organized and what questions should it contain. Thus, last year, British PM David Cameron pushed for a referendum as soon as possible, with a question in it asking the Scots whether they wanted an independent state out of the United Kingdom.
Alex Salmond retorted that the date of the referendum is to be determined by the Scottish leadership and so is the question to be asked. He accused Cameron of involving in Scottish business with the purpose of determining the Scots to vote against independence.
Cameron is said to have had the economic welfare of Scotland and Britain in mind, given that two years of uncertainty could cause many loses to the British economy and to the Scottish one as well.
The British PM was also confident that confronted now with the question whether they wanted a total independent state, most of the Scots would say no to the SNP proposal. He was based on the same kind of opinion polls the anti-independence campaign is using now to promote its ideas.
In January this year, Scottish PM Alex Salmond announced the question which is about to be answered in the referendum. The question is: “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?”. The formulating of the question is seen by many analysts as a form of antagonizing London, whose prime minister had said that it was British parliament’s prerogative to ask the question which the Scots should respond in the referendum.
On that occasion, Salmond said that the people of Scotland should have a third option, which would not be neither to stay in this kind of state nor to leave the United Kingdom altogether.
He argued in favor of a “devo max” kind of state, that is a maximum devolution of the political relations between Britain and Scotland, which would allow Scotland to mind its own affairs as an independent state, but would preserve a dynasty union, by which the Queen would be the head of the state, as she is in Canada, Australia, Jamaica or New Zealand.
Salmond even spoke of the possibility that London retain the foreign affairs and defense and admitted that the UK Electoral Commission is the one who should set the referendum in motion, but not the one to establish the question to be asked.
The Scottish PM announced that what his party was doing was part of an effort to promote the independence of his land, something Scots have been treasuring for the past millenium. The date of the referendum was set during the 700th celebration of the Bannockburn victory over the English, in 1314.
A vote for a total independent Scotland would render the 1707 Union Act useless and would lead to the destruction of the United Kingdom as it is now. It would also give Scotland new responsibilities as a state.
A discussion was conducted in the earliest stage of the project on whether Scotland would become a member of the European Union and of the eurozone. The United Kingdom is a member of the EU but not a member of the eurozone.
Experts are of the opinion that for Scotland to be admitted to the EU, it should undertake all the steps a new candidate state does, and that so would happen to the admission in the eurozone, where economic criteria take precedence over the political ones.11