There have been murmurs from Tory backbenchers about what will happen if Scotland were to vote for independence. David Cameron’s authority and credibility will undoubtedly be questioned and rightly so. He has been adamant that Scotland will not vote for independence and as we approach the referendum, he may be starting to regret his confidence.
The potential for a vote of no confidence if Scotland votes yes should not be underestimated. The Prime Minister is not particularly popular amongst his backbenchers and should he ‘lose’ the referendum vote, there could be a strong backlash. His popularity as leader of his party has been on the fall since he was forced into a coalition with the Lib Dems and there are many in Westminster who resent his pro Europe ‘passionate’ conservative stance.
Cameron’s key strength over his rivals, in particular Ed Miliband, is the sense of authority that he demands. This will completely diminish should he lose this monumental referendum and once his unfaithful backbenchers sense a weak leader they will pounce.
The remainder of his time as Prime Minister will be spent discussing Scotland, and what and how the independence procedure will take place. It’s not an easy task letting a country go and there are many unanswered questions, most notably, what will happen to the Scottish MP’s and cabinet ministers?
Do they resign from their positions with immediate effect and move their allegiances across the border or can they continue in their roles at Westminster? What will happen to trade between the two nations and what will happen to the beloved pound?
Cameron also has another headache to consider, after promising a referendum on EU membership, the potential is there that Cameron could not only lose Scotland but also lose the rest of Europe. The Tory backbenchers will be more than aware of this and may seize on the opportunity of seeing Cameron weakened and attempt to bring him down.
It is important to note that constitutionally there is a long process if this were to happen. Cameron implemented fixed terms, so the legislation will have to repealed and new documents drawn up. It’s a relatively small headache in comparison to everything else, but it is still a slight stumbling block.
David Cameron was elected through a vote which contained Scotland in the voting process. They played a part in his election and without them as part of the union, can his leadership be considered legitimate? Without Scotland, he is the Prime Minister of a smaller union and a different union to that which elected him. A general election if Scotland votes for independence isn’t as ludicrous as it appears and might be one of the many worries currently on David Cameron’s mind.