Happy St George's Day – from Alex Salmond: SNP leader promises an independent Scotland will help north of England fight the power of London

 

Political Editor

Alex Salmond will mark St George’s Day today by promising that an independent Scotland would champion the North of England to balance the economic might of London.

Speaking in Carlisle, Scotland’s First Minister will insist that the “social union” between the people of the four members of the United Kingdom would remain if the Scottish people vote to leave it in their September referendum.

In what may be seen as a provocative speech, Mr Salmond will announce that after a Yes vote, the Scottish Government would hold a series of “Borderlands” forums on economic co-operation with councils and business leaders from the North of England. He will describe this as “a practical demonstration of co-operation” and of a partnership strengthened by an outward-looking Scotland. “An independent Scotland will be an economic counterweight to London and the South-east of England – causing a much-needed and fundamental rebalancing of these islands,” the SNP leader will say.

“An independent Scotland will work in collaboration with our friends and colleagues in the North of England to improve economic circumstances and job opportunities for all our citizens.”

Mr Salmond will tell his English audience: “The ties that bind the nations of these islands will continue and flourish after Scotland becomes independent. You will remain Scotland’s closest friends, as well as our closest neighbours… People would still live in Annan and work in Carlisle, or live in Penrith and work in Lockerbie. Friends and family would continue to visit each other. We would still watch many of the same television programmes.”

Mr Salmond will also claim that an independent Scotland would have strong trade and transport links with England – and share the same currency, even though all three main parties at Westminster have ruled out a currency union if the SNP secures a Yes vote.

Gordon Brown said yesterday it made “no sense whatsoever” for Scotland to break its political links with England. The former Prime Minister instead urged people north of the border to vote No in September in a bid to build a “stronger Scotland”. The former Labour leader made the plea as he gave his first speech as part of the cross-party Better Together campaign. David Cameron will use his St George’s Day message to trumpet the benefits of Scotland staying in the UK.  He will say: “I want us to reflect on one of England’s greatest achievements: its role in the world’s greatest family of nations – the United Kingdom. So let’s prove we can be proud of our individual nations and be committed to our union of nations. Because no matter how great we are alone, we will always be greater together.”

Allies denied the PM’s decision to issue a patriotic message was a response to the rise of the UK Independence Party, saying he had delivered one last year. But Mr Cameron, who will fly the flag of St George over Downing Street today, will say England’s national day has been overlooked for too long. “There’s much to celebrate,” he will say.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent