POLITICS

Henry McLeish, Former First Minister, Says Tory Extremism Is Hastening The Break-Up Of Britain

20/08/2013 15:14 BST | Updated 20/08/2013 15:15 BST

A former First Minister of Scotland has said Conservatism in London could be a bigger threat to the Union than nationalism in Edinburgh, in a blistering attack against the Tory party and their “Tea Party allies" Ukip.

Writing for The Scotsman, Henry McLeish said the "new battleground of the referendum campaign," will be instigated by the "unpalatable political menu being served up by Westminster."

The Labour politician said frustrated Scots may resort to voting Yes in next year’s historic poll, in a stand against remaining a part of a “divided Britain” consumed by “greed and inequality”.

henry mcleish

Former Scottish First Minister Henry McLeish has launched a blistering attack against the Tory party

England is likely to be engulfed by a crisis, he argued, as Scottish voters become "increasingly disenchanted with the political and ideological direction of the Union," as well as the "toxic politics" that he said are "fast becoming the hallmark" of the Tory government.

"The Union politics of division and discontent, in the form of Tory extremism, are colliding with the Scotland politics of difference and diversity, seeking to build a new Scotland," he said.

"The Tories and much of the unionist establishment seem to be indirectly hastening the break-up of Britain."

Instability is being heightened by an advance of right-wing politics, he said, with "a lurch towards a form of English nationalism," potentially turning undecided Scots towards independence.

Blasting the "thoroughly negative" pro-union campaign Better Together, McLeish said many Scots are feeling "increasingly insulted by endless threats of famine, pestilence, plague and aliens if they dared vote for independence."

Meanwhile, as the vote for independence looms, one of the most influential pollsters in the world has said the campaign has "virtually no chance" of success.