The lure of perpetual Conservative majorities in Westminster threatens the Unionby James Macintyre / January 25, 2012 / Leave a comment
Published in February 2012 issue of Prospect Magazine
David Cameron’s call for Scotland to hold a yes or no referendum on independence “sooner rather than later,” is what some advisers called “the nuclear option.” He was challenging the most successful British politician of the moment—Alex Salmond, leader of the SNP—to drop his demand for a poll in 2014, devised to deliver him victory.
Cameron’s decision to clash with Salmond shows that the breakdown of the 300-year-old social, political and cultural alliance between Scotland and England is no longer a matter of speculation. It is set to become the biggest constitutional issue of this parliamentary term, and the decade.
But as Cameron campaigns for the Union, he will find that some Conservative MPs are not up for the fight. Many are resigned to the once-taboo notion that England’s ties to Scotland could weaken. Some are even privately relishing the tactical advantage it would give them in future elections for Westminster. They are bolstered by the small band now calling for a separate parliament for England.