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Thread: Scottish National Party to Press for Independence

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    Scottish National Party to Press for Independence

    EDINBURGH, Scotland – Scotland's separatist government said Thursday that it would push for a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom next year — a proposal unlikely to go far because the nationalists are outnumbered in Scotland's parliament.

    The Scottish National Party has long made breaking with Britain the focus of its political agenda, but with only 47 out of 129 seats, it lacks the parliamentary majority needed to make its plan for a referendum a reality.

    Nationalist leader Alex Salmond called on opposition politicians to put the issue to the people.

    "The people of Scotland must be heard and this parliament must not stand in their way. Let the people speak," Salmond said in a speech before Holyrood, Scotland's legislature.

    Other parties showed no appetite for any such a vote. Britain's Treasury chief Alistair Darling — a senior official in the country's Labour Party and himself a Scot — told a business audience in the city of Glasgow that politicians should be working on getting through the recession and getting people jobs.

    "I find it strange that today some seem to think the priority is a referendum on the constitutional makeup of the U.K.," he said.

    Annabel Goldie, who leads the Scottish right-leaning Conservatives, joined Labour in its opposition to the referendum, dismissing it as "constitutional vandalism."

    Salmond vowed to secure independence from the U.K. when the Scottish National Party won control of Holyrood in 2007, but his ambitions have been complicated by the aftermath of the credit crunch. Most polls show that support for separation remains low.

    However, most Scots do back the idea of having a referendum on the issue, according to a recent survey.

    A telephone poll by BBC Scotland in June showed that 58 percent of Scots want a vote on independence — though it also showed that most would still vote in favor of remaining within the U.K. The BBC said pollster ICM interviewed 1,010 people. No margin of error was given, but surveys of that size typically have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

    The Scottish parliament already has autonomy over justice, health and education. Powers over defense and foreign affairs remain with London. Although Scotland could raise some taxes, the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh has so far not done so.

    Even if Scotland does eventually become independent, the Scottish Nationalist Party says it favors retaining the queen as the head of state.

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    Some people are too afraid to break up the "Wonderful" Britannia.
    Bunch o' pansies. Scared o' being free.
    At least if we were independant, we'd be able to control our own descisions when it comes to things like defence (like getting rid of those damned nuclear weapons).

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