Scottish Independence: Why Is David Cameron Opposed?

Scottish Independence. I have to be honest here. When this writer hears the term Scottish Independence, it conjures up images of Mel Gibson painting half of his Aussie face blue and riding off to fight the bad guys in his quasi-historical film about Scottish independence Braveheart. Truth be told, this writer spends far too much time neck deep in American politics to pay much notice to what our friends across the pond are doing with their government.

I must confess, however, that I’ve been intrigued enough by today’s referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom that I’ve almost forgotten about Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Barack Obama, and the spate of Republican contenders for the closest thing we have to a crown or a throne in Britain’s other severed (former) colonies. I’ve given myself the best crash course in British and Scottish politics that I could muster.

I’ve done my best to read the pros and cons of Scottish independence from both the Yes Scotland and Better Together factions. Truly, I have. In all that I’ve read about Scottish independence, what confuses me most (other than the fact that Scotland decided now would be a wonderful time to start letting 16 and 17 year old children vote, as reported in CNN World) is this: Why in the world does Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron object to Scottish independence?

Perhaps some friends from across the pond could explain Conservatives’ objections to Scottish independence to us. British PM David Cameron — a Conservative — is looking at the British Parliament losing a total of 58 Scotish MP seats. Of those 58, only one is Conservative. A full 41 are from the Labour Party, 11 from the Liberal Democrat Party, and six “other.” So, should Scotland leave the U.K., he would lose at least 52 MPs who oppose his party… possibly more, depending on whom the “other” MPs caucus with.

Now, I’m looking at the Scottish independence referendum with admittedly American eyes and thinking that the situation would be like having a Republican in the White House and having slight control of Congress (the Conservatives currently control Parliament but don’t have an outright majority — 304 Conservatives vs 344 total of all others, with Labour’s 258 in second place)…anyway, that would be like New York, all of New England and California saying, forget it, we’re out of here. If that happened (and I get that it’s crazy and never will), it would hand over permanent control of Congress to the Republicans. Granted, there would be some economic issues to deal with, but I can see some Republican candidates thinking the 2016 election would be much niftier without Cali and the Big Apple.

Anyway, I’m trying to see how this is a losing deal for British Conservatives and why Cameron isn’t wetting himself to give them the old boot and cheering on the idea of Scottish independence. Is it simply that he wants to avoid being the next Lord North and losing a large portion of the British Empire? Is it that he’s putting the needs and best interests of the entire nation above his own politics? Does it all come down to money, oil, or political influence? This writer would love to hear what those watching this — particularly our readers in Scotland and the rest of the U.K. — think about the referendum on Scottish independence and why British conservatives are so opposed to it.

For now, I’ll be spending the rest of the day glued to the television watching whatever exit polling information is available on the vote for Scottish independence and reading articles like this one in the Telegraph as I try to make sense of it all.