Salmond Pushes Fallback As Calls For Scottish Independence Fade
While the Olympic games have been a source of pride for Great Britain, despite some of the mishaps that have occurred on the way, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond insists on being the killjoy by predicting that this is the last appearance by Team Britain.
In Rio 2016., and even prior to that in the British Commonwealth Games, an independent Scotland will be fielding its own team. This will be the result of a referendum on independence that the First Minister predicts will be carried in Scotland in 2014. Therefore, in anticipation, he urged his fellow Scots to root for Scolympians.
While Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron truly is a believer in preserving the union, the brunt of the fight in Scotland will be borne by the Labour Party and for two reasons:
In Scotland, since the days of Margaret Thatcher, the Conservative Party is a nonentity and Labour is the party in opposition to the Scottish Nationalists. It also has Scottish politicians with name recognition from British national politics. Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer in the previous Labour Government, is in charge of the Better Together campaign to reject independence.
Secondly, given the advantage that Labour holds over the Conservatives in Scotland, it would be more difficult for Labour to win a British general election outright if Scotland went its own way.
Lately, Alex Salmond has been on the defensive. When he campaigned for reelection as First Minister last year, he promised a referendum with a straight yes/no vote.
Recent polls are signaling voter reluctance to support a break. Today the Scotsman published the poll by the Fabian Society, carried out by the respected YouGov polling organization. According to the poll, if the vote were held today, 54% would vote against independence as compared to only 30% that would support independence.
The Scottish Nationalist hope was that once an independence referendum had become a reality, an increasing number of voters would move into the independence camp. So far the reverse has happened and support for independence is down by 3%.
This has led the First Minister to prefer a second question to the ballot that has won the nickname "max devo" - short for maximum devolution. If Salmond has his way, Scots voters will be able to vote for increased devolution of powers from London in case independence goes down to defeat.
The Unionists are calling this an underhanded ploy designed to allow the First Minister to claim victory even if independence is defeated. Darling accused Salmond of "running away from the thing that he says he believes in - independence."
Even some Scottish Nationalists are accusing Alex Salmond of defeatism by asking for the inclusion of a second question.
And while David Cameron has acquiesced to a referendum - that needs approval from the British government - he is adamantly opposed to a two question ballot.