Scottish independence could lead to a form of partition for regions including the north-east, Shetland and Orkney, according to provocative claims by George Galloway’s new unionist party.
The former left-wing firebrand MP and his Eton-educated former Army officer “running mate” Jamie Blackett predicted the territorial boundaries of Scotland could be redrawn if some regions voted No.
The controversial claim appears at odds with what happened in Brexit, but is designed by Alliance4Unity to give the public a second vote confirming independence from the UK.
Mr Galloway said he would not want events to go that far but added: “The demand for it would become unstoppable, starting in Orkney and Shetland. I don’t believe they will allow themselves to be dragged into an independent Scottish state.
“I know that in Dumfries and Galloway where the great majority, more than two thirds, opposed separatism that the demand to remain in Britain would probably become a cause celebre and probably become the settled will of the people. I think elsewhere in the borders too.
“It may be with Edinburgh, the financial sector, Aberdeenshire with its fishing, with its farming, its oil-related activities, might very well begin to demand in a way that might become unstoppable that they did not want to become part of a separate Scottish state dominated by the central belt.”
The country would be eating itself.”
Mr Galloway said it would be ironic if the break-up of the UK ended with the break-up of Scotland.
“The country would be eating itself,” he added.
Mr Galloway delivered his stark claim at the start of the party’s official campaign on Wednesday. He is standing on the South of Scotland regional list along with Mr Blackett.
North East could remain ‘devolved’
A poll by IpsosMORI, published moments earlier, suggested they will not be elected.
Mr Blackett denied the Brexit vote – which took Scotland out of the EU despite voting to stay – was not comparable in his plan for two referendums on quitting the UK.
He “suspects” the north-east would want to stay as a “devolved region within the UK”.
Mr Blackett said: “It’s a hypothetical situation that none of us want. It could happen, and it would only happen if there was another referendum which we don’t want and that referendum ended up on the road to Scexit.”
The term is sometimes used by unionists to refer to Scotland’s exit from the UK in the way Brexit was coined for leaving the EU.
What does the party manifesto say?
It is heavy on British symbolism. Alliance4Unity wants the union flag to fly along with the saltire on public buildings “always”.
They would rename the Scottish Government as the “executive” then devolve some powers to regions.
The Bank of England should be renamed the Bank of Britain and a single range of banknotes used across the UK, potentially ending distinct Scottish banknotes.
Domestically, the party would try to repeal the new Hate Crime Bill over freedom of speech concerns.
The manifesto outlines a call to “pause” the spread of forestry on uplands and protect “iconic heather moorland”.
The party would push for a law compelling MSPs to stand down or face by-election if they acted in a manner “unbecoming” of an elected representative.
It was named after Derek Mackay, the disgraced former Scottish finance secretary. He was forced out of the SNP but continued to sit as an independent until the end of parliament.
The party supports Boris Johnson’s proposal for a road link between Scotland and Ireland.
Alliance4Unity wants a Canada-style Clarity Act laying conditions for any new independence referendum.
It would include provision that a majority of all adults – not just people who did vote – would first have to elect pro-independence parties.
A “people’s vote” would be held on the final deal with the UK.