Alex Salmond, the First Minister for Scotland, has said that comments by Tony Abbott, the Australian Prime Minster, that the world would not “be helped by an independent Scotland” are “foolish, hypocritical and offensive”.
Mr Abbott who is on a visit to London told the Times newspaper that it was “hard to see how the world would be helped by an independent Scotland.”
“I think the people who would like to see the break-up of the United Kingdom are not the friends of justice, the friends of freedom, and the countries that cheer at the prospect are not the countries whose company one would like to keep,” he said.
Scottish voters will go to the polls on 18 September and will be asked the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
Alex Salmond jumped on Mr. Abbotts’ comments and told BBC Scotland they were hypocritical and “offensive to the Scottish people” considering the benefits Australia has got since becoming independent from Britain after the Second World War.
“They are foolish, actually, because of the way he said it. To say the people of Scotland who supported independence weren’t friends of freedom or justice, I mean, the independence process is about freedom and justice,” he said.
He added that even the British government could recognize the need for a democratic vote on the issue and that the referendum was a “model of democratic conduct”.
The Scottish premiere also said that Abbott was gaffe prone and had put his foot in it, with his comments.
One of his previous gaffes involved referring to Canada as Canadia during a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa in June.