The next SNP manifesto should offer Scottish independence without the need for a referendum, two prominent party figures have recently claimed. According to The Daily Record, Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil and Inverclyde councillor Chris McEleny want a pledge that winning a pro-independence majority would be grounds to start negotiations with Westminster. The pair had hoped their alternative approach would be discussed at the SNP conference in June but the event was cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. They now say the issue should be debated at a virtual conference.
The two politicians first proposed the idea after Prime Minister Boris Johnson turned down formal requests from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for power to be transferred to Scotland for a second vote on independence.
In January, Ms Sturgeon said there could come a time when the Scottish Government would consider holding a consultative vote on independence “if this was ruled to be legal by the courts”, but in March, the Scottish Government stopped ground work as the coronavirus crisis hit.
As uncertainty over the future of the union continues, unearthed reports reveal the dramatic verdict a former NATO general secretary gave on the issue in 2014.
Before the first referendum, Lord George Robertson said Scottish independence would have had a “cataclysmic” impact on the world.
How Ex-NATO chief delivered dramatic verdict on Scottish independence: ‘A cataclysm!’
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
He claimed Britain’s enemies would have “cheered loudest” and “the forces of darkness would have simply loved it” if the UK broke up.
Speaking at the Brookings Institute in America, Lord Robertson, who served as Defence Secretary under Tony Blair between 1997 and 1999, said: “Whatever our occasional faults, we are still an anchor of the Western world.
“The loudest cheers for the break-up of Britain would be from our adversaries and from our enemies.
“For the second military power in the West to shatter this year would be cataclysmic in geopolitical terms.
Lord George Robertson
“If the United Kingdom was to face a split at this of all times and find itself embroiled for several years in a torrid, complex, difficult and debilitating divorce, it would rob the West of a serious partner just when solidity and cool nerves are going to be vital.
“Nobody should underestimate the effect all of that would have on existing global balances, and the forces of darkness would simply love it.”
Lord Robertson also challenged former First Minister Alex Salmond, who claimed that an independent Scotland would have been able to join NATO, despite demanding the removal of Trident nuclear weapons from their base at Faslane.
He called Mr Salmond’s determination an “election fix” that was “loaded with ominous overtones for Western deterrence”.
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Former First Minister Alex Salmond
He added: “It is one thing to unilaterally disarm yourself but when you choose to unilaterally disarm your neighbour then you are playing with fire.”
Ms Sturgeon, who was the then Deputy First Minister, dismissed the tone of Lord Robertson’s intervention as “insulting and offensive” and said he did a “real disservice” to the debate.
However, the comments marked one of the strongest attacks on the SNP’s security and defence proposals, as they came from a man who used to head up one of the world’s most important military alliances.