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A New Era in British Politics; Fighting Terrorism in the U.K.; Imagine a World
Aired September 19, 2014 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: a political earthquake. Scotland has spoken and said no to independence. Alex
Salmond, the Scottish Nationalist leader resigned.
But could sweeping change come to the whole United Kingdom forged right here in Westminster?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER, GREAT BRITAIN: We now have a chance, a great opportunity to change the way the British people are governed and
change it for the better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): And later in the program, healing divisions, forging a new role. We go one-on-one with the head of Scotland's most
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour, live here at the palace of Westminster, otherwise
known as the British Parliament.
And there, a fierce debate is going on about the future of the entire United Kingdom. While Scotland roundly rejected independence in a
referendum on Thursday, the man who led that campaign immediately resigned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX SALMOND, SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE LEADER: I believe that this is a new, exciting situation that (INAUDIBLE) with possibility. But in that
situation, I think that party, Parliament and country would benefit from new leadership.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now had the vote gone the other way, it might have been Prime Minister Cameron's resignation instead, as the day after dawned,
greeting what must have been a deep sigh of relief, he told Scotland, "We hear you," and he promised the type of sweeping change that has never been
seen before in centuries of this union.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAMERON: Now it is time for our United Kingdom to come together and to move forward. A vital part of that will be a balanced settlement, fair
to people in Scotland and importantly to everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And so what exactly does that all mean? With me to discuss all of this, right here, is Bernard Jenkin, Conservative member of the
British Parliament and also joining us from Edinburgh is Sir Ming Campbell. He's the former leader of the Liberal Democrat Party. He's an MP for fight
in Scotland and he is a former British Olympic athlete, a sprinter no less.
Welcome to you, Sir Ming.
Welcome, Bernard Jenkin.
Let me ask you first, because we're right here, outside Westminster. The prime minister today promised massive change to all the constituent
What are you thinking in this Parliament building? What is that going to mean?
BERNARD JENKIN, BRITISH MP: Well, it does mean that in some respects this referendum decision in Scotland has decided to keep Scotland in the
United Kingdom, but it hasn't settled the shape of our constitution. It's thrown it into flux.
What it's particularly is it exposed an inherent unfairness in our constitutional settlement since devolution came into being, which is we
have an extraordinary situation, where a Scottish member of Parliament can vote on English laws but can't vote on the equivalent laws in his own
AMANPOUR: So what is it that the English want?
Suddenly their own Parliament?
JENKIN: More or less, not quite, because I think what we're thinking of here is that we have this fantastic Parliament building that, for two
days, could be effectively for English MPs to pass English laws and to scrutiny English ministries, but then for the other two days would be the
United Kingdom Parliament.
It's a kind of quasi-federalist settlement.
I think that Ming will also agree and I don't think the Scots particularly mind English MPs taking control of English laws as a quid pro
quo for more power for the Scottish --
AMANPOUR: There's a deeper question to go.
But let me first ask you, Sir Ming Campbell, what is it, do you think, that the Scottish people want to hear and want promised to them?
We heard the promises.
Do they believe that these promises of maximum self-rule, if you like, are going to be kept?
MENZIES CAMPBELL, BRITISH MP: Well, these promises have to be kept because of the three party leaders who made them failed and show that they
are kept, then their parties will suffer very, very grievously in the next general election in 2015, in May 2015 next year.
And that being so, then the guarantee which they give or gave just a few days ago must be implemented, not only because it's a moral
responsibility for doing so, but because there are very pragmatic reasons for doing so as well.
AMANPOUR: It is incredibly complex, though, if you've just been hearing from Bernard Jenkin, and also I want to ask you right there in the
heart of Scotland, where this result is out now, some of the front pages of your newspapers called it the end of a dream.
The Queen has come out and said that it is a result that all of us through the United Kingdom will respect. And she said, of course, there
will be strong feelings and contrasting emotions, but that's the nature of a robust, democratic tradition that we enjoy in this country.
So do you think, sitting there in Edinburgh, that the fabric of society can be tied together again, can be reknitted?
CAMPBELL: Well, it's been very divisive in Scotland. Of that, there's no doubt. But generally there's been a recognition that the
campaign has been spirited, robust but that it has for Scotland been a quite enormous exercise in democracy, quite unlike anything that's ever
For example, the percentage of people voting has been something like 88-89 percent in the various districts of Scotland. And that in some cases
is twice as much, twice as much as the percentage of those who voted in the last general election in 2010.
The way of knitting it together, as you suggest, is to make sure that Scotland gets the additional powers which were promised in that pledge made
by the three party leaders and that that is done quickly. There can be no backsliding on that. And may I say to Bernard Jenkin, I accept the anomaly
that he describes. He's quite right.
And the more powers you give to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, the less possible it is to argue that it's justified for me to speak on
English education or English health, when I have no vote in relation to what happens in my own consistency. That, I think, is inevitable. And
that's why I think you said in the introduction that the things are unlikely to -- things are going to be very different -- absolutely right.
I believe the existing constitutional settlement is unsustainable and that if we want to --
AMANPOUR: Well, well --
CAMPBELL: -- then we have to create what, in my view, should be a federal relationship among us all, one that you've got some success with in
the United States.
AMANPOUR: -- well, exactly. So let me put that to you here, because you're going to be forging all this here.
Is this going to look like, you know, a smaller version of the United States?
Is it going to be a federal situation?
JENKIN: In some respects, yes. I don't suppose we need to go as far as a written constitution.
AMANPOUR: Why not?
JENKIN: Well, we don't need to. We have a more democratic settlement through the sovereignty of our United Kingdom Parliament. Some people
would argue against that. But actually you're much more in the hands of judges and just elected politicians. We think that's a disadvantage.
But the -- it could be settled without having to do that. Much of the procedure for English votes in English laws can be settled in the House of
Commons by procedural changes, not by legal changes. And I think that is very much a first step in order to match the pace of the reform and the
promises that we need to deliver in Scotland. And we must honor those promises.
AMANPOUR: And as Sir Ming said, this has to happen quickly. The prime minister today laid out a timetable of November for drawing up plans
about tax and welfare and spending --
JENKIN: -- quickly because we've got an election --
AMANPOUR: -- correct.
JENKIN: -- and this needs to be consolidated and settled, at least in the direction we're going, by the time of the general election.
AMANPOUR: Exactly. Sometimes when you think of all of this and all the lavish promises that were made -- and they were made late because of
the panic that this vote was very close and perhaps at one point, as you know, the yes had a 2 percentage point lead.
These promises were made -- were they made off the cuff? I mean, it was a former British prime minister who went up there and made these
JENKIN: It was a little bit chaotic. And I'm -- I would question whether the promises actually had much effect on the outcome. But
AMANPOUR: Do you believe in the promises?
JENKIN: -- well, we don't quite know what the promises mean. And we've got to settle what those promises actually were. They're slightly
different for each of the parties. We've got to consolidate those promises and then we've got to deliver them. And the Scottish parliament must have
confident -- they're confident that we have delivered the spirit as well as the letter of those promises.
AMANPOUR: Do you sometimes feel, my goodness, it might have been a lot simpler, had they just gone independent?
JENKIN: No. This is a great country with a great role in the world, which we need, my constituents in Essex need in order to secure our trade
and our security and our stability. It would have been a mortal blow to the whole of the free world if one of the most powerful countries in the
free world had started to break up, very serious indeed.
AMANPOUR: And Ming Campbell out there in Edinburgh, how much of a blow would it have been to America's friends and allies and even
adversaries, how much would they have sat up and taken notice if, as Bernard Jenkin just said, the fifth most powerful country in the world had
CAMPBELL: Well, we face, do we not, a more turbulent world than we've experienced for a very long time. The post-Gorbachev settlement that we
thought we had achieved with Russia is now in tatters. Mr. Putin has embarked upon the traditional Russian policy of expansionism.
We know, for example, that in relation to the Baltic States, which are members of NATO, there's very considerable anxiety against the possibility
that they may be subjected to pressure from Russia.
And all of those circumstances for a country which is such a keystone along with the United States of NATO the most successful defensive alliance
in history, to be distracted by splitting up, to be even more distracted by splitting up its armed forces and also its intelligence services at this
particular moment would have made no sense any kind whatsoever.
And I haven't mentioned the Middle East and the kind of difficulties we're experiencing there, the need to have joint and common attitudes
towards ISIS, the need to forge an alliance of like (INAUDIBLE) from within the Middle East, all of these are huge issues on the table of the British
prime minister at the moment.
For him to be distracted by being concerned about the fact that 5.5 million people to the north wanted to go off on their own would have made
no sense whatsoever and would have -- Bernard Jenkin rather indicates -- seriously weakened the United Kingdom's influence and also seriously
weakened the alliances of which we are members and, of course, the European Union, of which we're a leading member as well.
AMANPOUR: Exactly. And of course, the European Union issue is going to come up maybe for a referendum, depending on the next election.
Let me ask you, Bernard Jenkin, Alex Salmond resigned. Would there have been pressure for David Cameron to resign if this had gone the other
JENKIN: I think it would have affected the credibility of not just the government, but the whole of the Western setup. I mean, it would have
AMANPOUR: So that's a yes?
AMANPOUR: Would you have pressured him to resign?
JENKIN: Not immediately, but it would have been inevitable sooner or later that he would have gone, it seems inconceivable he could have fought
a general election after having lost Scotland. And let's face it, Margaret Thatcher nearly had to resign when the Falklands was invaded if she hadn't
got them back.
To lose Scotland, part of the United Kingdom, is just off the scale as an event. I mean, it would be worse than 9/11 was for the United States as
a strategic shock to our country.
AMANPOUR: I mean, that is a major declaration you've just --
AMANPOUR: -- made. Wow. Worse than 9/11 as a strategic shock.
So has this now given him, then, a real big boost?
I mean, can he go into this general election with a real, I don't know, winning attitude?
JENKIN: I think it was too close for him to draw a triumph from it. And I thought the humility with which he approached the statement this
morning was very appropriate. We are in some flux, some would say a constitutional crisis as a result of the closeness of the result, which was
meant to resolve things rather than open things up.
But on the other hand, this is an opportunity to reshape our constitution for the better and decentralize in a way that it's very
natural in the United States; it's become natural in other European countries. But we are very centralized in this country and we need to
AMANPOUR: One last word, is this the end of an independence fight for Scotland?
JENKIN: Well, I hope at least for a generation. There appears to be a consensus emerging about that. But if we don't sort this out, you know,
we could find ourselves in the Last Chance Saloon for the United Kingdom quite shortly.
AMANPOUR: All right. Bernard Jenkin, Sir Ming Campbell, thank you so much indeed for joining me.
And it is no secret that Britain's friends and allies around the world, as we've just heard, wanted no part of a U.K. Lite and breaking with
protocol, everyone from Presidents Obama and Hollande and maybe future presidential candidate and the former U.S. secretary of state Hillary
Clinton all weighed in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I would hate to have you lose Scotland. I don't have a vote in Scotland, but I would hope it
AMANPOUR: And at the same time, Pope Francis, here with Mr. Obama, cautioned that the case for independence was not so clear. As for Mr.
Obama, now that it's all done and dusted, he said this today.
"We welcome the result of yesterday's referendum on Scottish independence and congratulate the people of Scotland for their full and
energetic exercise of democracy."
And so the special relationship endures.
And after a break, we'll take another look at yesterday's elections. Yes, there were two in Scotland, one in the polling booth and one in the
clubhouse, as Vice Chancellor of St. Andrews University with a view of the fabled golf course, Louise Richardson, will feel the effects of both
decisions. Her unique insights when we come back.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program from right here outside the palace of Westminster, the British Parliament.
This referendum debate has focused attention on Scotland's place in the world and it's reminded us of the many qualities this nation has
brought to the international community.
The University of St. Andrews is perhaps the most famous in Scotland and its vice chancellor, Louise Richardson, seen here with the former U.S.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is one of the world's leading experts on terrorism and conflict.
Louise Richardson made headlines during the campaign when the Scottish Nationalist leader Alex Salmond reportedly rang her personally to take
issue with her pro-union stance. And we'll ask her about that.
She was embroiled in the other controversial vote north of the border that you may also have heard about, after she revealed that she's been
denied honorary membership of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club because she's a woman.
The club, of course, voted to accept female members only last night. Louise Richardson joins me live now from Edinburgh.
And welcome to the program. Thanks for joining me.
LOUISE RICHARDSON, VICE CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY OF ST. ANDREWS: Thank you. Delighted to be here.
AMANPOUR: So let me ask you, first and foremost, what would have happened, there you are, principle of one of the most august institutions,
north of the border, in Scotland there.
What would have happened, do you think, to the establishment and to Scotland had it voted for independence?
RICHARDSON: Well, just to be clear, I did not take a pro-union stance. I was scrupulous about not taking any stance. I think it was
critical for universities to feel the academics in universities to feel that they could express any views they liked.
And so I thought it was incumbent upon me not to try to influence my academics or express my own point of view.
But the two issues that were of most concern to the highly selective universities were access to research funding. A critical share of our
budget comes from the National Research Councils. And there was a concern that we would lose access to that if Scotland were to vote for
independence. The result would be that many of our top scientists would leave.
The other issue that we were concerned about was our English students. About a third of the students at St. Andrews are from England.
And in the immediate aftermath of the yes vote, it would be unclear whether they were considered English students in terms of their fees or
E.U. students. It would -- there was a lot of unclarity (sic) guaranteed for -- in the immediate aftermath. And that was a concern to us, too.
AMANPOUR: Ms. Richardson, point taken about not taking sides. But of course those concerns you voiced about perhaps losing access to some of the
experts, to some of the research centers, apparently they did upset the Scottish Nationalist leader and it's reported that he called you and tried
to have you change your tone.
Can you walk us through that a bit?
RICHARDSON: No, I think I'd rather not, if you don't mind. I think that was a private conversation between the first minister and I (sic) and
I'd like to keep it private.
AMANPOUR: All right. Of course, it's been reported in all the press. But let us move on, given the fact that he has, in fact, resigned today.
What would have happened -- let's take your other areas of expertise, the issue of military security, anti-terrorism.
What would have happened to the notion of a united armed forces, a united defense strategy if independence had happened, especially in the
dangerous times that we're living in right now?
RICHARDSON: Well, that, of course, is the critical difference between devo-max and full independence, the whole area of security and foreign
policy. There was a view amongst the Nationalists that if Scotland were independent, Scotland would no longer be a target for international
terrorists because Scotland would not vote to support what they considered illegal wars.
And I'm not entirely sure that that is the case. I don't think terrorists draw these fine distinctions.
But there's no doubt that with a yes vote, Scotland would, in short order, have had to establish its own military, would have had to establish
its own intelligence services, its own foreign services, a very significant creation of a governmental infrastructure in a very short period of time.
There's also, of course, the issue of the nuclear deterrent. The SNP has been quite clear that they would insist on the British nuclear
deterrent, currently housed in Scotland, being removed from Scotland.
This, again, would have caused considerable difficulties for Britain, enormously expensive to move this submarine base. That would have been an
issue of serious contention.
It would have also had an influence on Scotland's desire to join NATO and be a part of the Western alliance.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, because here I am, obviously, outside Westminster and there's no doubt going to be a big debate about the extent
of any British intervention in the fight against ISIS.
What do you think military intervention or the current military campaign as it's envisioned, can do to stop ISIS, this being your area of
RICHARDSON: Well, it think it's very important we keep our perspective on ISIS. I think it's important that we not allow ourselves to
be -- our entire foreign policy to be shifted by the brutal murder of three people. I think ISIS is undoubtedly a problem and it can be contained and
it can be contained in a way that's envisioned, with a multinational coalition.
I do think that's the appropriate way to proceed.
I worry, however, when I hear the ordinarily very cautious, lawyerly President Obama speaking in terms of destroying ISIS. I don't think we're
going to destroy ISIS. I don't actually think that should be our goal. I think if we can contain them, that would be enough. And there is a -- the
real possibility that we can do that with airstrikes.
AMANPOUR: And very briefly, because we're running out of time, what does "contain" them mean, given that they actually have a state now?
RICHARDSON: Well, they don't entirely have a state. I think that they've been very successful in moving quickly. And I think it's going to
be entirely different as they try to defend territory, try to create a state. I think we're going to see that some limits in their strategic
thinking. We've already seen some serious mistakes that they have made if we've all been enormously impressed by their ability to exploit the media
and exert influence on the rest of the world. But they've made critical mistakes, for example, by heading east after the fall of Mosul towards
Erbil instead of heading straight towards Baghdad. They do have some quite clever strategic thinkers, nevertheless, in their midst. They have a
number of former generals, Ba'athists generals from the Saddam Hussein regime, who have been -- who are alienated by their treatment after the
ouster of Hussein and are now producing strategic leadership to ISIS.
But I think we should not overrate, exaggerate the threat. I think they pose no threat to the U.S. and quite a limited threat to the U.K.
AMANPOUR: Louise Richardson, thank you for your unique perspective, vice chancellor of St. Andrews University, up there, joining us from
And after a break, imagine the link between England and Scotland forged by something paper thin. It's elementary, my dear Watson. That's
when we come back.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, the votes are in and the question has been decided for now. But Scotland and England are united by more than a
referendum. Imagine a world where the connection between the two is elementary. Here in London stands a world famous reminder of the cousin to
the north, which is the Metropolitan Police Force headquarters known as Scotland Yard. But the original was established in the early 1800s on land
supposedly owned by the kings of Scotland, long before the union and known euphemistically as Scotland.
It was given legendary status by Sherlock Holmes, the world's greatest detective, who was, in fact, the creation of a Scotsman, Sir Arthur Conan
Doyle, born in Edinburgh.
It was part of that city's rich literary tradition, from Robert Louis Stevenson, who gave us Jekyll and Hyde, to J.K. Rowling, who gave us Harry
Potter, to a contemporary master of the mystery novel, Ian Rankin.
But perhaps no Edinburgh office seems more appropriate this day than Sir Walter Scott, even his name seems right and his most famous line of
poetry speaks both to those who voted yes and those who said no.
"Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said, 'This is my own, my native land!'"
And that's it for our program tonight from Westminster. Remember you can always contact us at our website, amanpour.com, and follow me on
Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.