ONE of Scotland’s most controversial No campaigners has predicted independence within five years.
George Galloway, who preached Unionism to thousands during his Just Say Naw tour last summer, said he believed the tide had turned “irrevocably” from Labour toward the SNP.
The former Glasgow Labour MP has envisioned another referendum before the next general election, and said he would be “very surprised” if the results were the same as last year.
The 60-year-old Dundonian also said that Scottish leadership frontrunner Kezia Dugdale “would not be at the races” if his old party had any big political figures left.
Galloway, who lost his Bradford West seat in the Commons last month, launched his bid yesterday to become the Mayor of London in 2016.
Greater devolution for the capital is one of the main issues he is focusing on.
“I think independence is probably nigh,” he said.
“The only way it could have been stopped is if we had got a Labour government last month, and if that Labour government had begun to make a difference.
“But these next five Tory years are going to be very cold, and the SNP leadership seems to have the ball at their feet and know what to do with it.
“So I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t another referendum in the course of this next five years, and I’d be very surprised if we managed to repeat the result we got last year.
“I’d take the same stance as I did last year. But I wouldn’t be expecting to win.”
Galloway represented Hillhead and Kelvin for 18 years but was expelled from Labour in 2003 for “bringing the party into disrepute” while attacking the war in Iraq.
He claims that Labour in Scotland has “no big political figure” to hold power and build coalitions.
“Labour in Scotland has no big political figure – none – otherwise this woman who’s running at the moment [Kezia Dugdale] would not be at the races.
“I’m sure she’s a fine person. I’ve never met her, I’ve only seen her on television.
“But she’s not any kind of big political beast, not by comparison with what Labour used to have.”
In contrast, Alex Salmond “was a class act” and Nicola Sturgeon is doing “fantastically well”.
He added: “They’re head and shoulders above the Labour political class. I thought Salmond would be a difficult act to follow, but there’s no doubt she’s picked up the caber and run with it.
“She’s doing really well.”
Despite his admiration of their past and present leaders, Galloway said he was not tempted to join the SNP.
“I hate nationalism, whether British nationalism or Scottish nationalism,” he said.
“It leaves me completely cold.”