No campaign ‘vow’ unravels within 24 hours
The Yes campaign today urged the people of Scotland to seize the one opportunity of independence and not to be taken in by empty promises of more powers – which are already unravelling.
The appeal was made as the ‘vow’ by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg of more powers for Scotland in return for a No vote sparked a Westminster rebellion less than 24 hours after it was given.
Today, groups across the entire Yes movement issued an open letter to the people of Scotland urging them not to be fooled by last-minute “pledges” from the No campaign which are already falling apart.
It came as a growing number of Tory MPs at Westminster said they would fight tooth and nail to stop Scotland being given any more powers in the event of a No vote. One predicted there would be a “bloodbath” in the Tory party if more powers were given to Scotland.
There is also growing pressure for the Barnett Formula, the mechanism used to allocate funds to Scotland from the UK Treasury, to be scrapped in the event of a No vote – which would lead to a £4 billion cut to the Scottish budget.
The open letter, signed by representatives of the many sectoral groups across the Yes movement, reads:
“Across our country, people are aware, as never before, of Scotland’s great wealth. As a nation we are waking up to the massive opportunity we now have to make that wealth work better for all the people of Scotland.
“We have had a fantastic empowering debate, involving every strand of Scottish society. That spirit tells us that our country will come together after the vote so that we can build a better, fairer society.
“However, in an attempt to hold back Scotland’s progress, the leaders of the Westminster parties have made us a series of promises they can’t and won’t keep. And they are promises we can’t make them keep if we vote No on Thursday.
“A No means we any longer have Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands – it is back in the hands of politicians at Westminster.
“Already Tory MPs are rebelling against the promises made. The leaders’ vow, they say, is “not a guarantee” that Westminster will accept the changes. Some have already said they will block them.
Even the person who introduced the Barnett formula has spoken out to say that its continuation would be a “terrible mistake” – and scrapping it would slash Scotland’s budget by some £4 billion, which would do huge damage to our National Health Service.
“Today, the most powerful political force in the land is the people of Scotland.
“If we vote No we would be at the mercy of whatever promises David Cameron makes to the supporters of Nigel Farage. The Labour politicians who are providing cover for the Tories won¹t be able to help.
“If, however, we wake up on Friday to a Yes vote, then the full range of powers we need to create more jobs and fully protect the NHS are coming. We get the vital new job-creating powers we need and the ability to secure our NHS for the future.
“We can make sure Scotland’s vast wealth delivers more for people living in Scotland. Scotland can and will unite behind this powerful idea.
“On Thursday we can choose: to trust ourselves and keep Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands, or hand it straight back to the out-of-touch politicians at Westminster.
“Let¹s go and vote together, and then come together as a better country.
“Don’t let today be the high point of Scotland’s ambition. Let it be the starting point.”
The plea to take Scotland’s future into Scotland’s hands and to reject 11th hour pledges of a few more powers was echoed by Labour supporters who are backing Yes.
Former Scottish Labour Party chairman Bob Thomson said the party was being used as a “front” in the last-ditch effort to dupe the Scottish electorate. He said: “It is now clear that Westminster politicians will say anything to keep power in their hands and out of the hands of the people of Scotland.
“It is shocking to see Scottish Labour being used in this way. After a century of campaigning for Home Rule, my party is now reduced to talking up an ‘offer’ that is already crumbling in the face of opposition at Westminster. What the No campaign leader’s promise Scotland today will be meaningless if we hand back all our power to Westminster with a No vote. We won’t be able to do a single thing to make them keep their promise and it is appalling that Scottish Labour are part of this charade.
“A Yes vote tomorrow is the only way to get the powers over the economy that we need to meet the challenges facing Scotland. This great campaign has proved that Labour supporters have the appetite to take Scotland’s future into our own hands. It would be the best thing for Labour and for Scotland.”
Posted by Peter Dempsie, 17.09.14