A leading figure in the Scottish Independence debate has raised fears that should the country remain in the UK after next month’s referendum, the rest of the country will exact “revenge” upon Scotland for daring to seek independence.
In his call for electors to vote ‘yes’ in September, Episcopal minister Canon Kenyon Wright has echoed claims printed in the Scotsman today that the Scottish budget would be cut by Westminster as a punishment.
The Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats have recently agreed that if Scotland decided to remain in the Union, there would be further devolved powers, including taxation and legal prerogatives.
But Canon Wright, who chaired the 1999 committee that drew up the framework for the devolution process itself believes these promises are hollow. Far from devolution entering the next phase as a reward for remaining in the UK, Wright cites the NHS and Welfare state in Scotland as under threat, with funding reductions on the horizon.
For Wright and others, ‘Devo Max’ or moves towards a more federalised United Kingdom are not enough, and full independence from the United Kingdom is the only way.
Following the announcement of further powers to Scotland last week, a spokesman for the Scottish First Minister said: “No one in Scotland will be fooled by this Westminster-led rehash of vague promises and unspecified more powers in the event of a no vote – the Tories have tried that before”.
Despite the strong rhetoric from the pro-independence Scots, the Unionist ‘no’ campaign remains ahead in the polls, even though the gap is slowly closing.
The No campaign has secured a number of notable coups in recent weeks, with pro-UK, Better Together frontman Alistair Darling delivering a convincing victory in a televised debate against Scottish First Minister and independence advocate Alex Salmond last week.
After the referendum itself on September 18th, there will follow a year and a half of negotiation between the two governments if Scotland is to go independent. Up for grabs are military bases, major infrastructure, and sovereign debt, amongst other prizes.