Scottish independence exclusive: Alex Salmond accuses Cameron of playing ‘roulette’ with Scotland’s future

 

Whitehall editor

Alex Salmond opens up a new front in the Scottish referendum campaign today as he accuses David Cameron of playing a game of “European roulette” with Scotland’s future in the EU.

In an article for The Independent Mr Salmond warns that the Tories’ referendum pledge has put the UK on a “fast track out of Europe” which would also “drag” Scotland “to the exit door” unless voters back independence.

Polls have shown that support for independence rises by almost 10 per cent when people are asked how they would vote if it looked likely that the UK as a whole would withdraw from the EU.

That puts the Yes and No campaigns each on 44 per cent with around 12 per cent undecided.

Support for membership of the European Union is greater in Scotland than in England and the No campaign has previously played up fears that an independent Scotland would not be re-admitted if it split from the rest of the UK. But in an attempt to turn the argument around, Mr Salmond is now warning that Mr Cameron’s pledge to renegotiate Britain’s membership of the EU and then hold a binding referendum in 2017 makes it more likely that Scotland would be forced out – as part of the UK. In stark contrast to Westminster politicians, he also cites Jean-Claude Juncker’s accession to the post of European Commission President as evidence that small countries can have a significant impact on the European stage.

Read more: The issues that will decide the vote

“Cameron is playing a game of European roulette with Scotland’s future, and with the jobs of many thousands of people in Scotland whose livelihoods depend on our links with the EU,” he writes.

Video: Alistair Darling speaks about the 'Better Together' campaign

“The Prime Minister has started a process over which he now has no control. You normally have a referendum over a proposal which you are trying to gain popular assent for, but he has instigated a chain of events which he no longer dictates. Just as Margaret Thatcher’s policies laid waste to huge swathes of post-war industrial Scotland, David Cameron’s dance to that Ukip tune is a clear and present danger to countless thousands of jobs in the Scotland of today.”

But in a sign of the difficulty facing Mr Salmond in convincing Scottish voters to back him in September’s referendum, a new poll today shows support for the Yes campaign on just 32 per cent while those against are on 46 per cent, with 22 per cent unsure.

At the same time the distillers William Grant & Sons, the makers of Glenfiddich malt whisky, are understood to have given more than £100,000 to the pro-Union Better Together movement, as well as cash to other groups backing a No vote.

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