All-Star Panel: Will Scotland bolt from UK?

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 17, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GORDON BROWN, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: They are leading us into a trap. Have confidence and say to our friends, for reasons of solidarity, sharing, justice, pride in Scotland, the only answer for Scotland's sake and for Scotland's future is vote no.

RONA MCDONALD, INDEPENDENCE SUPPORTER: I say take the future of Scotland in your own hands. These last minute promises from Westminster and from a former prime minister who has got no power seem like a panic attack.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Interesting this week, one of the biggest stories, really, this independence vote for Scotland tomorrow. President Obama weighing in today, saying in a tweet "The U.K. is an extraordinary partner for America and a force for good in an unstable world. I hope it remains strong, robust, and united."

The latest polls it's really close, within the margin of error. And pollsters there are saying they really don't know if they have a sense of this because of all the nationalistic fervor in Scotland about this vote.  We're back with the panel. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I'm not sure it really helps U.K. unity to have a message from the President of the United States, a subtle one from the queen, and now, you have just informed me from Mel Gibson, about this issue.

I lived through something like this in Quebec, which had the same instinct to succeed from Canada, two referenda, the last one they stayed in Canada by a whisker. I think it was less than half of one percent. I think what's really happened here, you had a poll last week showing secession winning, and now you have the latest poll showing a real tightening. I think in these situations there is often the desire to go independent, and then at the last second when you think about all the implications, and they are huge for Scotland economically, it receives a lot from Westminster, a lot more than it gives back, it's isolationist economy and diplomacy, I think there would be a counter reaction to stay within U.K. My guess would be that it will be really close but, like Quebec, they might at the end flinch.

BAIER: Julie, it's interesting to think about the politics and the dynamics there. Scotland is much more liberal than Great Britain is. And when you look at that, they don't want any of the nuclear weapons located on Scotland. They don't like a lot of the national defense decisions being made.

JULIE PACE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, ASSOCIATED PRESS: And what's been interesting is to hear David Cameron talking to the Scots over the last week or so as these polls have come out. And one of his messages has been you may not like me, but you won't be stuck with me forever. If you take this vote you will be separating forever from Britain. And so it's almost interesting to hear a politician say, I know I'm not so popular here but let's not separate completely.

But I think in his comments and comments from other officials you are suddenly seeing a little more concern about these concerns that people in Scotland have, that they feel like they have been ignored for years. And even if there is a no vote there is going to have to be something done to address the concerns, otherwise we're going to see these independent movements continuing to come up.

BAIER: Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, great things can grow out of principled, determined moves away from the British Empire. I don't think that's probably what's going to happen here. What's interesting about Charles, and Charles is right, you can easily see it going this way where the problem with the people pushing independence is actually that this became such a big issue. It was sort of underground issue obviously here, but in particular, over there, and then there were a series of polls that showed it close and everybody said, wait a second.

On the other hand, The New York Times reported today that the yes offices were buzzing with people and volunteers and pushing leaflets and talking to people, and the no offices were basically empty for the last 48 hours.

BAIER: That's what these pollsters are saying we might not have this right.

Charles, but what about for the U.S., because obviously we are always concerned about what it means for us.

KRAUTHAMMER: It's not going to be the end of the world. It's not going to be even half the end of the world. But U.K. is our best ally, and the stronger it is, the larger it is -- remember the nuclear deterrent is in Scotland. The Scots have said it's got to go. That's going to be a huge headache.

But, you know, the stakes were lower than they were in 1776, and the reason is that we have so much internationalism. Scotland will remain in the EU, you know. So much of the independence of states has been given over to the EU in Brussels that it really are you going to have a flag and a seat at the U.N.? There is not that much hanging on it in the end. But from the United States perspective, why would we want to complicate. In the same way we didn't want Quebec to separate. If you have a strong ally, you want them to hand together and remain strong.

BAIER: OK, we can bet some haggis on this, yes or no?

KRAUTHAMMER: I go with a squeaker no.


HAYES: I think they do it.

BAIER: That is it for the panel. But stay tuned on an update on the story we brought you last week in the "Grapevine."

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