EDINBURGH, October 1 (RIA Novosti), Mark Hirst – Supporters of Scottish independence do not need another referendum to secure their objective but instead should put their efforts into securing a majority of seats at the Scottish parliamentary elections in 2016, former MP and deputy leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) Jim Sillars told RIA Novosti.
"The Holyrood elections of 2016, by which time many who voted No will bitterly regret it as the economic axes fall, will be the final stage. The pro-independence Yes side will have been conclusively proved right. No referendum will be required. A majority of votes and a majority of seats on a manifesto call for a mandate for independence will suffice," Sillars said.
Sillars told RIA Novosti there should be two stages to securing independence, but that next May's UK General Election would be too soon to achieve that. The former MP instead proposes the pro-independence parties should fight the UK General Election on the basis of securing the maximum devolution of powers possible for Scotland, known as "devo-max."
"Next May is too soon after the referendum result to go for independence. If the [pro-independence] SNP, Scottish Socialist Party and Greens can agree an allocation of seats to enable a single 'Devo-Max Now' candidate to run in each constituency, while Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrats split the No vote, Scottish political power can be re-established, and we could even hold the balance of power at Westminster," he added.
The former parliamentarian believes success in 2015 would set the scene for securing a maximum of pro-independence seats at the Scottish parliamentary elections in 2016, without the need for a further referendum.
"People forget that the power to hold a referendum is held at Westminster. That power was temporarily transferred to Holyrood - permission given in fact, with the power now back at Westminster," Sillars said.
He noted that there was no appetite in England to give Scotland additional powers, something the three UK party leaders promised ahead of the Scottish independence referendum held last month.
"In England, there had been no discussion prior to the promise made by the three UK leaders," Sillars said. "The English interest is now in play, and it has political power. The "more powers" leg of "the best of both worlds" will soon be seen to be broken."
Outgoing First Minister of Scotland and SNP leader Alex Salmond previously said the referendum would decide the issue of Scottish independence "for a generation." UK Prime Minister David Cameron declared the day after the result that the issue was settled for a "lifetime."
The Scottish independence referendum took place on September 18, with 55.3 percent of Scots voting against independence, resulting in Scotland remaining part of the UK. 44.7 percent Scottish voters backed independence. The referendum saw a record turnout of 84.59 percent.