The former chancellor Alistair Darling argued that Scots should be given a second independence referendum if the appetite for one emerges, only a year after the Jocks voted to remain part of Britain.
Having fronted the Better Together campaign opposing independence, the former Labour MP told the prime minister David Cameron it would be “daft” to deny a vote if the demand was there, even as Westminster devolves great chunks of power to the Scottish parliament in Holyrood.
“My view is if people really, genuinely want to have a vote you are daft to deny it,” he told the Times. “It’s a bit like in Spain: The Spanish government seem determined not to hold a referendum [on Catalonian independence] which always seemed to me to be just fanning the flames.”
Since winning over almost all of Scotland in the general election the Scottish National Party (SNP) has been taunting Westminster with the potential of another referendum, as well as preparing for Scottish elections which could be framed as a mandate for another independence poll.
Earlier this week Nat leader and Scots first minister Nicola Sturgeon said their manifesto for the Scottish elections would include a timescale for another vote, as well as stipulating events which much prompt it, such as Britain voting to leave the EU in a referendum in 2016-17.
“It’s then for people in Scotland, whether it is in this election or in future elections, to decide whether they want to vote for our manifesto and then if there is in the future another independence referendum,” the Fishmonger of Holyrood said.
“Whether that’s in five years or 10 years or whenever, it will be down to the people of Scotland to decide whether they want to vote for independence or not.”
At the time of the referendum Alex Salmond, the then leader of the Nats, had called the vote a “once in a generation opportunity”; He presumably views such ballots as “once every-time-we-feel-like-it opportunities” these days.
Two weeks ago a poll from Ipsos Mori revealed that Scots would vote in favour of independence if the referendum was staged today, with 53 percent in favour and 44 percent against.
Image Credit – Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh Castle by Dave and Margie Hill edited by the Right Dishonourable