Scottish independence-cross party pledge

Big Ben, Westminster

The pledge from Cameron, Clegg & Miliband about devolved powers highlights how this issue has Westminster united.

With the referendum deciding Scotland's future only two days away, something incredibly rare in British politics has happened; the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are all united in their opposition to the Yes camp. If you watch Prime Minister's questions, you'll know this is an odd situation; normally Cameron and Miliband can be found hurling insults at each other, not taking trips to Scotland.

But, in a signed letter released today, the three leaders have pledged to devolve more powers to Scotland, but only if independence is rejected. Amongst the pledges is a recognition from them that"the UK exists to ensure opportunity and security for all by sharing our resources equitably". This is notable because a consistent argument for independence has been over the amount of Scottish taxes going to Westminster. Most notably of all, decisions over funding for the NHS will be given to the Scottish government. Although it has been dismissed as "desperate" by Alex Salmond, it shows the kind of cross party support that in my view the UK has often lacked. A focus on the actual politics rather than behind the scenes drama can only benefit us as citizens.

Only last week, the three travelled to Scotland campaigning, issuing a joint statement declaring their shared belief that the UK is better together. Former Labour leader and prime minister Gordon Brown has, at long last, become a key part of their campaign, attacking the SNP in a speech this morning for "perpetrating a lie about what the NHS can and cannot do in Scotland." Fellow Scot and former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy has voiced his support.

What's interesting is their motivation behind wanting to keep Scotland as part of the United Kingdom. For Cameron, losing Scotland would be a bitter blow, not only economically. With the general election imminent, he must gain the public's full confidence and a break up of the United Kingdom would certainly not do this. The loss of Scottish MP's is also a (more cynical) view of the Labour party's support; with forty MP's, it would be impossible to win a majority without them.

Regardless of the outcome on Thursday, it is my hope that this cooperation for what is best for the country continues. A constantly divided Westminster is of little use; if the leader's pledge convinces even some voters, then it shows what can be accomplished with a little teamwork.