Bill Clinton sides with unity in Scotland independence vote

Former President Bill Clinton, June 9, 2014. (Carlos Gonzalez/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT)
Former President Bill Clinton, June 9, 2014. (Carlos Gonzalez/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT) Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT

Former President Bill Clinton says voters in Scotland should elect to stay in the United Kingdom.

British newspapers say a Clinton statement released by the Better Together campaign cites uncertainty over an independent nation’s currency, and the affect on the Scottish economy as reasons for sticking together.

And, he says, a united United Kingdom sends a “powerful message” to a turbulent world.

“Unity with maximum self-determination sends a powerful message to a world torn by identity conflicts that it is possible to respect our differences while living and working together,” he wrote. “This is the great challenge of our time. The Scots can show us how to meet it.”

The Obama administration has strongly suggested it, too, wants the Scots to vote to stay in the union. Voters in Scotland head to the polls Thursday to decide whether the nation should declare independence and break away from England, Northern Ireland and Wales

Clinton wrote that “because Scots are already legendary for their independence of mind, I have been reluctant to express my views on the matter.”

He said he believed “Scotland is blessed with impressive human and natural resources and a strong desire for more widely shared prosperity and social solidarity,” but said the risks are too great.

Clinton’s comments come as polls suggest Thursday’s referendum is too close to call. Surveys by Opinium for The Daily Telegraph and ICM for The Scotsman both gave No a slender lead of 52 percent to 48 percent.

But the four-point advantage is close to the margin of error, the Western Morning News wrote, “raising the prospect of a nailbiting final push in which every ballot could make the difference.”