By Mick Krever, CNN
Exactly 36 hours before Scotland begins voting on an independence referendum, former British Prime Minister John Major made an impassioned plea for Scotland to stay in the United Kingdom, telling CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the Scottish people had been hoodwinked.
“The Scottish nation have frankly, and I don’t say this lightly, have been fed a load of pap by the Scottish nationalists in the belief that everything will be alright on the night. Well it won’t. There are very serious problems that Scotland will face if they go down this route.”
Scottish nationalists have faced up no none of the realities that would face their country should Scotland become independence, Major said.
“Whenever the realities are placed before them they say people are lying. They say, ‘We can get straight into the European Union.’ Well the European Union say they can’t. So they say the European Union is lying.”
“They say they can enter into NATO. I think that’s extremely unlikely. They say they can manage without having their own currency. They can’t produce Sterling.”
“They’re two days away from the vote and they do not yet know what currency they are going to use in the long-term. Now that is just absurd.”
In a rare show of unity, the leaders of the UK’s three main political parties penned a vow on Tuesday, published on the front page of Scottish newspaper The Daily Record, to transfer more powers to Scotland if it rejects independence in Thursday’s vote.
As Prime Minister, Major opposed the creation of the Scottish parliament; his successor, Tony Blair, backed the move.
“We’re now in a different circumstance. And now we’re in a circumstance where there is a demand in Scotland that I think in one way or another needs to be met, and for that reason I think it is right to make this particular offer if it will sustain the union.”
Far from a last-minute, desperate move, Major said the “vow” is something “quite new.”
“As a matter of fact, there’s nothing that anyone could say that would satisfy the Scottish nationalists. Their aim is independence, a separate Scotland. They’re perfectly prepared to throw away three hundred years of history and the gains we’ve made in unity.”
Many independent analysts and businessmen, Major said, have pointed out the costs Scotland might face should it break off. But lest that not be enough, the former made an appeal to the heart as well.
“Are we suddenly to wake up in two morning’s time and find that the Scots are foreigners? That the Scots, who’ve been integrated with the United Kingdom for hundreds of years – many of whom, eight hundred thousand of whom, live in the United Kingdom – are suddenly a foreign nation?”
“It’s an alien concept. Very hard to grasp. And I think people today who are advocates of separatism have not perhaps realized the sheer impact upon them, upon Scotland, upon their colleagues in the United Kingdom and upon the United Kingdom as a whole, if separatism were to be agreed by the Scottish voters on Thursday.”