Prime Minister David Cameron will today call on the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland to send a message to Scotland as it prepares to vote in the independence referendum: “We want you to stay.”
On the day the Winter Olympics starts in Sochi, Russia, Mr Cameron will be speaking at the Olympic Park in London and attempt to summon up the spirit of patriotism of the 2012 Olympic Games in London as he argues the whole country will lose if Scotland votes to leave the UK.
While accepting the decision on September 18 is a matter for Scots alone, he will urge the English, Welsh and Northern Irish to do whatever they can to influence the outcome, saying: “You don’t have a vote, but you do have a voice.”
The keynote speech is Mr Cameron’s most high-profile intervention in a referendum campaign in which he has repeatedly stated his desire to preserve the Union.
Independence would be bad for Scotland but would also leave the United Kingdom “deeply diminished” and would “rip the rug from under our own reputation”, Mr Cameron is set to claim.
At a location carefully chosen to symbolise the successes of the whole United Kingdom working together as “Team GB”, Mr Cameron will say the Olympic medals were won under the banner of a Union flag that was not only red and white but also blue. A
nd he will say: “It’s Team GB I want to talk about today – our United Kingdom.”
Mr Cameron will argue the UK is a “powerful brand” in the modern world, with a global reputation for being “unique, brilliant, creative, eccentric, ingenious”.
And he will warn: “If we lost Scotland, if the UK changed, we would rip the rug from under our own reputation.”
But Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon accused David Cameron of a “shameful” bid to use the Olympics as a “political tool”.
“This is a cowardly speech from a prime minister who uses the Olympic Park in London to give high-handed lectures against Scotland’s independence but hasn’t got the guts to come to Scotland or anywhere else to make his case in a head-to-head debate.
“David Cameron, as the Tory Prime Minister, is the very embodiment of the democratic case for a Yes vote for an independent Scotland – and he knows it.”