As Scottish Referendum Nears, Tempers Heat Up

With Scotland divided on the issue of independence, the rhetoric on both sides of the debate is heating up.

Supporters of Scottish independence march in Edinburgh, September 21, 2013
Supporters of Scottish independence march in Edinburgh, September 21, 2013 (Maria Navarro)

With Scotland’s referendum on whether or not to secede from the United Kingdom under two weeks away, the rhetoric from both sides of debate has become fierce. One Scottish women, a nationalist, recently accused Alistair Darling, the former Labour chancellor who leads the “Better Together” campaign, of being a liar, saying, “He can’t be trusted”. While on a recent episode of Question Time, one of the BBC’s flagship political programs, taped in Inverness in the Scottish Highlands, an audience member said he would give his life to keep the union together.

The heating up in the debate has been noticed by the Scottish police. The chairman of the Scottish Police Federation warned both campaigners and members of the public to not use “intemperate, inflammatory and exaggerated language” after a senior “no” campaign source suggested that polling day could descend into “absolute carnage.” Although he was quick to point out that the debate has been temperate so far and that it would be a disservice to let the last days go by in any other way.

Alongside the concern of rising tempers is the news from the polling agency YouGov that the “no” votes’ lead in the polls has narrowed to 6 points, down from a 14 point lead just three weeks ago.

Of those who have decided which way they are going to vote, 53 percent are against independence and 47 percent for it. Meaning that in the last crucial weeks, the “yes” side only needs a swing of 3 percent to win.

Prime Minister David Cameron has also announced that he will not resign if the Scotland votes to secede from the union. This despite him being leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party.

Cameron’s future may nevertheless be impacted by the result of the vote. If Scotland does vote to secede, he will probably forever be remembered as the prime minister who presided over the dissolution of the United Kingdom.

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