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Scottish have been ‘fed a load of pap’ by nationalists, says former UK PM John Major

September 16th, 2014
03:13 PM ET

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.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Scotland • United Kingdom
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Christian_Wright

    Major: ‘We can get straight into the European Union.’ Well the European Union say they can’t. So they say the European Union is lying.”

    Now, what follows has been widely reported and there can be no doubt Major is aware of it. The NO campaign has stopped even mentioning EU admission now (it was their centerpiece argument until the EU statements blew it out of the water)

    I use this point to illustrate that Major is a politician, and like politicians all over the world, he is prepared to say just about anything to get what he wants.

    The establishment propaganda campaign in Britain has been beyond intense. They have also pressured foreign leaders to issue statement supporting the Union and briefing against independence. It is literally, scripted.

    So, here's the EU's actual position. When you aggregate the EU's various comments it is clear they view Scotland's accession to be an internal matter and that the independent nation will IN PRACTICE spend not a single day out side the European Union. Again, Major knows this, but he also knows you do not.

    Scotsman 20 July 2014 (a rabidly pro-Union paper and Scotland's journal of record): " European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker is “sympathetic” to an independent Scotland joining the EU ... An independent Scotland’s potential membership would be treated as a “special and separate case” to nations wanting to join from regions such as the Balkans that have yet to satisfy all the rules, a senior EU source stated.

    The source directly contradicted claims from the No campaign ... high-ranking EU official last night stated Junker “would not want Scotland to be kept out ... Scotland would be “exempt” from the process as it is already a signatory to core requirements for nation states in areas as such employment rights and equality legislation because of its 40-year membership of the EU as part of the UK ... the EU leadership ... believes Scotland could be a full member early within the first parliament after a Yes vote."

    Article continues . . .

    "Prof Michael Keating, an EU expert and chair in politics at Aberdeen university, said: “It would be much more complex for the EU and other member states if Scotland had to leave and be disentangled from something it has been in for 40 years. They wouldn’t want to disrupt the single market in this way.”

    September 17, 2014 at 5:00 am | Reply
    • Tim

      Indeed. The public EU statements issued earlier were clealy meant to disourage independence movements, but when it actually comes to an independent Scotland (or Catalonia for that matter) they'd be fast-tracked to membership. There is absoluely no reason to block their membership as they clearly belong to the EU (culturally) and clearly fulfill the conditions. The rest of the EU states would not allow the vendettas of the remaining UK (or Spain) to block a membership, as the disturbance that would bring would be way too huge to justify it by such petty reasons.

      September 17, 2014 at 7:43 am | Reply
    • J

      Pure comedy.

      'pressured foreign leaders to issue statement supporting the Union and briefing against independence. It is literally, scripted'

      Or, just perhaps, they are giving their honest opinion – and they can see what an absolute disaster Scottish independence would be. The same opinion as everyone not economically illiterate – which excludes the delusional SNP cultists, of course.

      You are basing 'the EU's actual position' on a few off hand remarks by Junkers, a comment in a tabloid, and a paid SNP hack at a second rate university? You're deluded. Why don't you try reading the actual laws around accession and membership?

      September 17, 2014 at 9:05 am | Reply
  2. Erm...

    There is a consistent propaganda campaign going against the Scottish fight for freedom.

    Make no mistake, there will be no second chance given by London.

    September 17, 2014 at 7:47 am | Reply
  3. Steve

    As an Englishman I really hope the Scotland goes, it will be better for us. We are a country of about 60m peopl, forward thinking and dynamic, say what you may about London but it's an amazing world city.
    Vote yes to independence and you can all live the 'socialist dream', a massive overpaid public sector, unlimited benefits for your long term unemployed, ( who also happen to be the unhealthiest in Europe ), and endless showings of Braveheart!

    September 17, 2014 at 8:23 am | Reply
    • J

      True but England would end up with an economically failed state on its northern border.

      September 17, 2014 at 9:07 am | Reply
  4. Stewwy

    I have just laughed out loud reading this comment;

    "There is a consistent propaganda campaign going against the Scottish fight for freedom" ?????

    You are already a member of one of the most free countries in the world. You have been fed a load of romantic rubbish by the Yes campaign. They have conned you! If you believe what they say you are like a rabbit in the headlights mesmerised by the false promises that their idealistic politicians simply cannot deliver. I live in Northern England, we have just as much of an issue with decisions made far away in Westminster as Scotland does but the solution is not creating a new government unless of course you are a career SNP politician when come Thursday millions Yes voters will be queuing up, voting to fund your lavish lifestyle. It's like watching those TV preachers in the US!

    September 17, 2014 at 9:36 am | Reply
  5. Azure


    Why is the truth so hard to come by?

    September 17, 2014 at 11:16 am | Reply
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