Churchman predicts Scotland will say no to independence

The former moderator of the Free Church of Scotland thinks the royal baby could sway the vote on independence.

The Reverend Dr Iain D Campbell points out that support for the royal family is still strong across Scotland and that politicians have failed to engage the nation in serious debate around the issues of independence.

He reasons that without a clear understanding of the facts, Scots are less likely to vote for independence in next year's referendum because Prince George of Cambridge will woo more voters than "overweight politicians".

Dr Campbell, minister of Point Free Church on the Isle of Lewis, said the royal baby would "win hands down" against independence unless politicians clarify their vision for a separate Scottish nation.

"We are not going to become a republic, so there will be no President of Scotland. We are to become a nation, and the present monarch will be what, exactly?" said Dr Campbell.

"In an independent Scotland, would Elizabeth be my queen? And the House of Windsor my royal family?

"I certainly hope so, because I cannot easily shake off the interest of a lifetime in a queen who has graced her throne, and whose family have been part of the psyche of our national life.

"Why else would the firstborn of William and Kate in a London hospital be of such interest to us in the northwest seaboard of Scotland?"

The former Free Church Moderator added: "The reality is that in the absence of high level debate and serious discussion, for many people the question becomes not one of principles and policies but one of cooing babies and media overkill.

"If it becomes a choice between Scottish Parliamentarians and royal offspring, the baby wins hands down.

"And in the popular mind, many young people in Scotland in September 2014 will opt for the continuation of the union, represented by the toddler in the palace, over an uncertain freedom, represented by overweight politicians."