Jeremy Paxman says he would vote for Scottish independence
Broadcaster Jeremy Paxman has said he will vote for Scottish independence in a second referendum.
The BBC’s University Challenge host and former Newsnight anchor gave his point of view in a wide-ranging interview today to mark the publication of a book he wrote on the coal industry.
He made the comments after being asked if he had any thoughts on an ongoing debate over English identity.
“I don’t think it’s a useful thing to have long discussions about this,” he said.
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“It’s a bit like John Major’s hot beer and the old maidens cycling to communion. Of course, it’s all of those things, but it’s also a lot of other things. And there is English and there is the Union, of course.
“My take on the Union is that if there is to be a referendum, the British should also have the right to vote. We are supposed to be a nation of equals, so we should have the same right to vote.
“And although I’m a Scottish quarterback, I would vote to split up, I think. Because I don’t see what you gain by constantly giving the Jocks an excuse. We will always be friends.”
During the interview with Church of England pastor Reverend Richard Cole, which appeared in The Sunday Times today, Paxman also reflected on his Parkinson’s diagnosis earlier this year.
He also delivered a scathing verdict on former Tory PM David Cameron in light of his Brexit referendum and then his immediate resignation after the vote, Johnson called a “charlatan” but said he had a better opinion of Michael Gove.
Paxman has a grim view of former Prime Minister David Cameron.
When asked what he thought of Cameron, he replied, “Not much. Call a referendum, then slip away the morning after the vote. . . “I let the country down in this mess and now I don’t care to make more money”?
“I have a lot of time for Govey but he maybe looks miserable. He’s not a pin-up, he’s not a star. But the stars always let you down.”
He added: “What’s wrong with Boris? I don’t understand why people are so attached to him. I think he’s a charlatan.
Paxman made the comments seven years after the independence referendum of September 18, 2021, which the no won 55% to 45%.
Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs that she plans to hold a second referendum by the end of 2023 if the coronavirus pandemic has passed.
The SNP won a record fourth term in government in Edinburgh in May after serving on a manifesto committee to hold a new referendum in the new legislature.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not accept a new vote and ruled out indyref2 at the start of the year until 2055.
In June, his government rejected a proposal from the top Tories to accept a referendum on condition that Scots living in the rest of the UK could also vote.
Some Cabinet members wanted the PM to accept the move because they believed it would increase the chances of a vote against.
At the time the proposal was made, the Prime Minister said he would “rig the vote”.
However, she added that this suggested that the British government conceded that the referendum should take place.
Sturgeon tweeted: “I see the anti-independence campaign trying again to rig the rules of indyref2 (however, they also admit it will happen). Maybe they should just make their case on the merits and allow to all who live in Scotland will decide on democracy. ”
Asked by The National at the time whether ministers would agree to a new vote as long as the right to vote was extended to Scots living elsewhere in the UK, a UK government spokeswoman said: ‘The UK government’s only priority is to continue to roll out the vaccination program that is saving lives in the UK and is recovering from this health and economic emergency.
“It is our duty and our responsibility to focus fully on recovering from Covid. This is what the Scots rightly expect.”
The intervention reflected a wider debate within the Conservatives on how best to fight independence.
Some prominent figures, including former Chancellor George Osborne, have indicated that the best policy for the Prime Minister is to simply say “no” to a new vote.
Johnson’s stance has been to reject a new referendum, but has come under pressure from some in his cabinet to do more to defend the Union’s cause, fearing that the continued rejection of a new one referendum does not in itself cause a backlash and will lead to increased support for independence.