With the first meeting between Alex Salmond and David Cameron looming, Salmond has been accused of trying to ‘spin’ the date of a Scottish Independence referendum. Early this week the First Minister of Scotland met with Michael Moore, who is the Scottish Secretary. The pair have come together for formal discussions which will lead to a Scottish vote on independence.
This will then lead to a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron, where they too will be talking about the referendum.
Autumn of 2014
Salmond is calling for the ballot to take place in the autumn of 2014, which will give him three years to reverse opinion polls. It was in these polls that the majority of Scots revealed that they would like to stay in the Union. However, ministers in London would prefer that the vote talks place much sooner.
It has been revealed by officials on both sides that the UK government would accept the 2014 date, but this will only happen if Mr Salmond drops some of his demands. One of which is allowing 16-year olds to vote, and the other is offering a third ‘devolution-max’ option on the ballot paper.
Mr Salmond was hopeful after his meeting with Moore, saying that London was now almost ready to accept his 2014 voting date.
Despite a meeting between Salmond and Cameron being given a green light, Scotland’s first minister has done his very best to play down the meeting. The meeting was scheduled for next week, but the SNP leader has stated that no date has been confirmed yet. Mr Salmond did reveal that the Coalition was split on the referendum.
Michael Moore has reportedly told Scots, that if they vote ‘No’ they will receive more powers. The government in the UK are saying that new constitutional powers must be devolved to Holyrood so that the votes are legal. However, Scottish minsters are accusing the Coalition of trying to dictate the terms of the ballot.
It has been suggested that the UK government would be ready to agree to more financial powers for Holyrood, but this is only if voters in Scotland make the decision to vote and in stay in the UK. Moore has stated that he would like the Scottish people to decide whether they want to be part of the UK.
A spokesman for Salmond said: “It is clear there is growing consensus that the proposed timetable for Scotland’s referendum is entirely reasonable.”
This comes as the UK is suffering from the troubles dripping in from the eurozone. However, there has been some movement in their problems with Greek politicians approving bill on austerity measures needed for the bailout. An agreement will release the latest £108bn in bailout loans, which will allow a further 100bn-euro write-off of the country’s debt obligation to private banks.