Nothing will stop Scotland from becoming an independent nation, a Tory peer has warned, questioning whether fighting to keep the union together is worth the effort.
Lord Fraser, a former minister in John Major's government, has launched a pamphlet with the think-tank Politeia. In it he writes: “All empirical evidence points to a break-up”, and he criticises the “little fresh thinking” among unionist politicians, warning that “the status quo points only to disaster”.
The peer, previously a minister in the Scottish Office, said “there is a muddle over why the union matters”.
He dismissed the argument, put forward by politicians including David Cameron, that Scotland would lose its status in the EU, NATO and the UN if it became an independent nation. “[This argument] has more of an historical flavour than any grasp of the realities of the 21st century” he said.
Plans for a social union are "vague and imprecise", he said. "Unless clarified, they would make for loose policy", he warned.
Lord Fraser gave a gloomy outlook on the prospects of the Conservatives in Scotland. He observed that the party has “spiralled downwards” there over the last 50 years. With just one Tory MP in Scotland, Lord Fraser predicted there would be no recovery in the party’s fortunes:
“Is there a way back? That is doubtful, even with a name change… there is virtually no prospect of an overall majority.”
Scotland's independence referendum will take place by the end of 2014. Alex Salmond wants it to be held in the autumn of that year. The coalition at Westminster wants it to take place sooner, possibly as early as September 2013.
Here's a potted history of Scottish/English relations: