stevenw888 wrote:I'm sorry, I haven't read all of the previous 16 pages of this thread. But there's a point that's been bothering me, that I can't find an answer to. If it's already been raised, then my apologies.
Why is David Cameron opposed to a 'yes' vote in the independence for Scotland vote?
The Tories currently have just 1 MP elected in Scotland. Labour have 41 MPs elected in Scotland, the LibDems have 11 MPs and the Scottish National Party, 6 MPs.
Scotland therefore currently sends 59 MPs to Westminster.
Therefore if Scotland ceased to be part of the United Kingdom, the number of MPs at Westminster would drop from 650, as it is currently, to 591. However the Tories would lose only 1 seat, as they have only 1 MP. Labour would lose 41 MPs. The Libs would lose 11 MPs.
To win a majority in the new (excluding Scotland) House of Commons a party would only need to win 296 seats. The Conservatives currently have 303 seats in the Commons, so if they held on to these seats, they would win the next election. Labour currently have 255 seats in the House of Commons, but the loss of Scotland would mean that they only would have 214 seats. Therefore they would need to win 82 seats to win a majority (or is this only 41, as each seat they win, means a loss for the Tories). Therefore it would be much easier for the Tories to win the next election, if they didn't have Scotland as part of the picture. Therefore, why does Cameron not support Scottish devolution? Chances are, we'd have a Tory government forever, if Scotland disappeared from the scene.
Loth as I am to say anything positive about modern politicians (of whatever shade) it is unlikely that Cameron is entirely driven by opportunism. I'm sure he does have genuine political principles somewhere in there. I'm sure he does care, to some degree, about the things Nick mentions: British rather than exclusively English patriotism, tradition, history, defence of the realm, etc.
And there are risks to rocking the capitalist boat; again, Nick is right; value of the pound sterling, credit-ratings of British banks and businesses, etc. From a British- conservative viewpoint, there are good political and moral reasons for wanting to maintain the Union; (ask yourself why Britain has worked so hard to hang onto Northern Ireland, for example. It's been a bloody nuisance and an expensive nightmare, and it doesn't do 'us' much good, economically or otherwise.)
Compared to these factors, the electoral boundary advantage, (which can be wiped out by renegotiations an election or two hence) is a minor consideration.
In any case, as the Yes campaign has pointed out, subtracting the Scottish vote from the last several general elections would not have resulted in a different party winning control at Westminster. Just a difference in the size of the margins.