Better Together?

The politicians opposed to Independence for Scotland are now collaborating in a newly launched Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat campaign called ‘Better Together’.

A wag might be tempted to warn that this carefully chosen name should not to be confused with the ‘Better Together’ NHS programme, particularly since NHS Scotland is thoroughly better off for being independent from the NHS down south!

However, my main concern is that this political alliance commonly known as the No Campaign should not degenerate into a ‘Negative Campaign’.  I very much welcome the opportunity for a positive case to finally be made — Scots need to  hear the benefits, if any, of remaining in the Union.  Currently, they are treated to relentless, evidence-free scaremongering from those politicians who have an interest in opposing Independence, a status quite common for countries of similar size to Scotland and smaller.

Personally, I remain utterly committed to Independence but hope the anti-independence parties will at last make their case in a genuinely informative and helpful way.  They might start by explaining what they plan to actually offer as an alternative to Independence:  more of the same?  More devolution of what? etc.

Polls consistently show that an overwhelming majority of Scots favour a referendum question on further devolution – yet the anti-independence parties utterly refuse to even consider including this democratic option.

Each anti-independence party seems divided in itself, with Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson infamously declaring that the current devolution settlement is a ‘line in the sand’ that cannot be crossed, while her boss, David Cameron, promises an unspecified flavour of ‘jam tomorrow’. The Liberal Democrats are the party of federalism, yet are passing up on a perfect opportunity to pursue this supposed aspiration. Meanwhile, the Labour Party has no official vision for Scotland’s future at all.

It is vital that the No Campaign lays its cards on the table, so the people of Scotland can make a truly informed choice.

The above was originally written for Bill’s Dunfermline Press column. This version may vary slightly.

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