Belfast Telegraph

Scottish independence: So what do our unionist politicians believe will happen?

By Noel McAdam

Lord Laird

Lord Laird of Artigarvan is "keeping his fingers crossed" that Scots will vote against independence in 18 days' time.

The former chairman of the Ulster Scots Agency argued the Scottish people are totally unsuited to nationalism.

"The Scottish are a proud people who have a very definite world view and see things in the larger scale.

"They are not narrow-minded, putting up fences which keep your own people in and keep other people out," the ex-Ulster Unionist peer said. "In talking about this, I always remember the words of Robert Burns who talked about the 'Brotherhood of Man'.

"I am a very proud Ulster Scot, but I believe that we generally, the Ulster Scots, believe in the larger units rather than the small, the United Kingdom, the European Union.

"There is nothing for the Scottish people in going independent. This is a post-nationalist age. Nationalism, in all its forms, is backward looking and out of tune with the modern world."

David McNarry

Ukip's only MLA said he wonders how Northern Ireland would cope with the "hundreds of thousands" of Scots who would want to live in Northern Ireland, as well as England and Wales, if Scotland votes for independence.

But the former Ulster Unionist Assembly member believes that if Scots reject independence, the scale of the victory will not be the most important factor.

"The question is when the matter of Scottish independence will be raised again and I don't think either way that Scotland would want another referendum soon after this one," he said.

With Ukip getting its first MEP in Scotland in May – David Coburn – Mr McNarry said the party had been working "quietly and effectively" for a pro-union outcome. But he admits he is not convinced about the result.

"It's a bit like the weather, it changes. The Scots are canny, and I say that as an Ulster Scot.

"But at the end of the day, I think it is the economic argument – that we are stronger economically together – that will win the day."

Jim Allister

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister believes the call for Scottish independence will be rejected on September 18.

But he said it is important that it is a "very definitive" rejection, with at least 60% of the vote going against independence.

"60/40 would be a very good win and perhaps the public mood might abate a little," the North Antrim MLA said. Mr Allister said he did not see any appeal whatsoever in the arguments in favour of Scottish independence.

"Like Irish nationalism, it is inward looking. It is all about the integrity of the United Kingdom, anything which detracts from the four UK areas affects the equilibrium and integrity of the country as a whole and we would all be the poorer for it.

"The United Kingdom is the sixth largest economy in the world and it is stronger for the areas which make it up staying together," added Mr Allister, whose party has made no formal statement on the referendum.

Belfast Telegraph


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