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Scotland independence movement sends dangerous message

Scotland's Alex Salmond and British Prime Minister David Cameron signed the 'Edinburgh deal' – allowing Scotland to hold a referendum vote on independence in 2014. As Europe's bonds are tested, the push for Scottish independence sends a dangerous 'go it alone' message.

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Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, right, and Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond sign an agreement in Edinburgh, Oct. 15 that allows Scotland to hold a 2014 referendum vote on Scottish independence. Op-ed contributor Charles King writes: 'Now is a time when bonds must be strengthened and perfected, not broken....The success of the Scottish independence movement in persuading London to accede to a referendum serves as a warning to Europe's democracies on how calculating politicians can undermine the very institutions most in need of preserving.'

Gordon Terris/AP

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The question of Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom is currently the single most pressing issue in British politics and a point of growing concern across Europe. On Monday, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and British Prime Minister David Cameron signed what has been dubbed the “Edinburgh deal” – allowing Scotland to hold a referendum vote on independence in 2014.

Scots have had their own regional parliament for more than a decade, but the referendum will offer them the chance to create their own nation-state. That is a goal to which the Scottish National Party (SNP), the majority faction in the Scottish Parliament, is expressly committed.

As Europe faces a dire fiscal crisis, and some within Britain call for an exit from the European Union, the push for Scottish independence sends a dangerous “go it alone” message. Europe’s – and Britain’s – problems require unity. Now is a time when bonds must be strengthened and perfected, not broken.

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