Scottish Independence would be 'cataclysmic': ex-Nato head
Lord Robertson says 'Yes' vote would be welcomed by the 'forces of darkness'
FORMER secretary general of Nato, Lord Robertson, warned that Scottish independence would be "cataclysmic" and could threaten global stability.
In a speech to the Brookings Institute, a US think tank, Lord Robertson said a 'Yes' vote would be welcomed by the "forces of darkness".
The former Labour defence secretary called on the US and its allies to voice their concerns over the vote.
"The loudest cheers for the break-up of Britain would be from our adversaries and from our enemies," Robertson said. "For the second military power in the west to shatter this year would be cataclysmic in geo-political terms."
Lord Robertson added: "This is not a purely domestic matter even though it's a decision that will be taken by the Scottish people.
"The Scottish people need to be conscious that they are taking a decision, not just for themselves and for future generations in a one-off vote, but that it also has an effect elsewhere and people who are affected, or think they will be affected, have every right to speak out," Lord Robertson said.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's Deputy First Minister told BBC Radio Scotland she was not surprised by the position Robertson took given his "long-standing" opposition to Scottish Independence, but said she was "shocked" by the language he had used.
"The contribution George Robertson made last night, and particularly the language he has used to make it in, I think does a real disservice to the debate," she said. "I am not shouting down George Robertson, I am saying very clearly that I find his comments deeply insulting."
A spokesman for Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond described the speech as "crass and offensive". He added: "It is contributions like his which are turning people across Scotland in their droves away from the fear and smear tactics of the 'No' campaign towards the positive, upbeat, optimistic message of the 'Yes' campaign."
PM under pressure to ban Scotland from next election
THE Prime Minister is under mounting pressure to ban Scotland from taking part in the next general election if the country votes for independence in September’s referendum.
Senior Tories are lobbying David Cameron to rewrite the rules of the 2015 general election to exclude the 59 Scottish constituencies.
Restricting the next general election to England, Wales and Northern Ireland has the potential to determine the next government if the votes are close, says The Times, and is likely to work in the Conservatives Party’s favour. In the 2010 UK election, Labour won 41 Scottish seats, the Lib Dems 11, the SNP six and the Tories just one.
It is currently assumed that if Scotland votes for independence, Scottish MPs would take part in the next general election and then vacate their seats when the country officially splits from the UK in March 2016.
Cameron is apparently confident that the No campaign, led by former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling, will be successful in the referendum that he negotiated. Some Tories believe he should resign if he is proven wrong.
John Stevenson, the Scottish-born MP for Carlisle, told the Times that it would be unacceptable for MPs representing Scottish seats to be sitting at Westminster when London and Edinburgh were negotiating the break-up of the UK.
“Why should the peoples of Northern Ireland, Wales and England have laws passed in this House by MPs who for all intents and purposes are about to be part of a foreign country?” he said.
Attempts to pass a law banning Scots taking part in the general election failed in the Commons last month. A number of Conservative MPs, including Mark Reckless, Nigel Mills and Nick de Bois, voted in favour of the ban, but the move was defeated overwhelmingly by Labour votes.
Downing Street has not commented on the lobbying faced by Cameron. A No 10 source said: “The Prime Minister is focused on making the case for Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom.”
Scottish independence: business leaders blast economic plans
THE economic plans for Scottish independence "do not add up", according to a report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
The organisation, which represents 240,000 businesses across the UK, has analysed the Scottish government's White Paper and found "no credible plan" for deficit reduction. The CBI, which has previously said it is against independence, also demanded a "credible Plan B" after Westminster ruled out a currency union.
It also said that renegotiating EU membership is "unlikely to be either a smooth or quick process with new terms potentially leaving it worse off".
The body's director general, John Cridland, told the BBC: "The minute you draw a line between Gretna and Berwick, Scotland starts to drift apart from its biggest market and loses a significant amount of economic clout.
"The economic plan outlined in the White Paper does not add up. It ignores the need for deficit reduction, instead promising more unfunded spending."
Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has hit back, calling the report "one-sided". She said the paper "misrepresents the realities of independence in several key respects" and insisted an independent Scotland "will still enjoy barrier-free trade with the rest of the UK". The only serious threat to Scotland's membership of the EU is Westminster's proposed in-out referendum, she added.
Meanwhile, the Scottish National Party's quest to break away from the rest of the UK received a significant boost as a new opinion poll showed a rising support for independence, reports The Times.
Voters in Scotland go to the polls on Thursday 18 September to decide on their country's future. According to today's YouGov poll, 52 per cent of Scots intend to vote 'No', as opposed to 37 per cent who intend to vote 'Yes', while 11 per cent either don't know or say that they will not vote. Support for independence has seen a gradual rise over the last five months.
More on Scottish independence:
Scottish independence pros and cons: key questions answered Standard Life warns it could quit an independent Scotland Cameron and Salmond to hold rival North Sea oil meetings David Bowie spots the danger: Scots' Yes vote gathers strength BoE's Mark Carney wades into Scottish independence debate PM invokes spirit of Team GB to fight Scottish independence Salmond: end of Scottish pound would cost UK £500m Scottish independence: Osborne rules out currency union