George Galloway puts forward 'bizarre' plan to partition Scotland if country votes for independence

Dan Sanderson
·4-min read
George Galloway during his manifesto launch - Andrew Milligan/PA
George Galloway during his manifesto launch - Andrew Milligan/PA

Scottish bank notes would be scrapped, the Bank of England renamed and an independent Scotland partitioned into British and Scottish territories under plans put forward by George Galloway.

The former Labour and Respect Party MP launched his manifesto on Wednesday aimed at persuading pro-UK voters to back his All For Unity (AFU) outfit, which is standing regional candidates across Scotland, at next month's Holyrood election.

Among his policies aimed at bolstering the Union are demanding the Bank of England is renamed the ‘Bank of Britain’ and for the pound to be “manifested in one single range of British banknotes.”

And in a suggestion described as "bizarre" by opponents, he said 'regions' should be able to secede from an independent Scotland, if the country was to vote for separation, and instead remain a devolved part of the UK.

George Galloway with his manifesto - Andrew Milligan/PA
George Galloway with his manifesto - Andrew Milligan/PA

He cited Edinburgh, Aberdeenshire, Orkney, and Dumfries and Galloway as parts of Scotland that may demand to stay British rather than be part of an independent state.

Mr Galloway has called for unionists to engage in a mass campaign of tactical voting which AFU claims could defeat the SNP and see a Unionist 'government of national unity' take power instead.

He has urged voters to back the party best placed to defeat the SNP in constituencies and his party with their second vote, used to elect regional MSPs under Holyrood's voting system.

However, senior Tories believe Mr Galloway’s plan risks damaging the Union by draining second votes from established parties, but not in large enough numbers to see AFU candidates elected instead.

Launching his manifesto, Mr Galloway said the mainstream parties had failed to effectively hold the SNP to account and claimed Scotland had been transformed into a “dystopian” country under nationalist rule. He claimed that if elected, he would “open the books on the scandals” of the SNP which he said had “disfigured Scottish political life over the past few years,” and backed the theory that Alex Salmond had been “set up”.

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He added: “I would not want to be a minister in any Scottish Government. All I ask for is a room, a forensic accountant, and a legal eagle, and the books, placed in front of me.

“If I start opening those books, I will bring a broom so stiff into that Holyrood chamber, armed with what I find in those books, the SNP will be running, running for cover.”

He denied that his campaign was a vanity project, or that he had abandoned his Socialist principles.

Mr Galloway, who in 2014 said he hated Tories more “with every beat in my heart”, now says he will vote Conservative in May with his first vote, as the party is best placed to defeat the SNP in his constituency.

He also said he hated the Union flag but his new manifesto proposes flying the Union Jack “always” from government buildings alongside the Saltire.

He said: “That was then and this is now. The danger of the break-up of the country now is more acute than it was then. And when the facts change, so do my opinions.”

George Galloway with supporters and candidates during the launch of the Alliance 4 Unity party's manifesto - Andrew Milligan/PA
George Galloway with supporters and candidates during the launch of the Alliance 4 Unity party's manifesto - Andrew Milligan/PA

A new referendum on separation should only be held, AFU believes, if a majority of the entire electorate, rather than just those voting in an election, back pro-independence parties.

After any vote in favour of separation, ‘regions’ of Scotland would then be able to choose to remain a devolved part of the UK in a ‘people’s vote’, the manifesto states.

“I wouldn't wish it to happen, but it would be an extraordinary irony if the break up of Britain gave birth to forces which then began to break up Scotland,” Mr Galloway said. “The country would be eating itself.”

Annie Wells, who is standing to be re-elected as a Tory MSP in Glasgow, said Mr Galloway's previous comments about hating the Union Jack were "appalling".

She added: “I wouldn’t trust anyone who proudly stood with Gerry Adams and said he would ‘rather be shot’ than work with the Scottish Conservatives to save the Union.

“These bizarre plans to split up Scotland are not what people want. They want to stop an SNP majority and indyref2, they don’t want small parties to split the pro-UK vote and hand more seats to the nationalists."