Scottish independence: Darling launches Better Together campaign

Posted by on Jun 25, 2012 | Comments Off on Scottish independence: Darling launches Better Together campaign

Former UK chancellor Alistair Darling is launching the campaign to keep the Union, warning that if Scotland leaves Britain, there is “no way back”.

He will compare independence to buying “a one-way ticket to send our children to a deeply uncertain destination”.

Mr Darling will argue Scotland can have the “best of both worlds”, with a strong parliament at Holyrood and a secure place in the United Kingdom.

He said: “You can’t scare people out of it and my argument isn’t that Scotland couldn’t go it alone – I mean most countries can – and we would be quite heavily dependent and exposed to the fortunes of north sea oil if we did that, but you could do it. My argument is actually what’s best for Scotland?”

Earlier the Edinburgh South West Labour MP said Scotland was proud about all the identities it shared – being “Scottish, British, European and citizens of the world”.

He added: “We are part of a social union, underpinned by an economic and political union – all parts mesh together.

“Friends, neighbours, families – across borders – share ties that bind us together. What does this mean for us? It means that after centuries of common endeavour we should value those ties that bind us together and celebrate the diversity that exists around us.”

The Scottish government is planning an independence referendum in autumn 2014.

The SNP-led campaign for independence – Yes Scotland – got under way last month.

Launching the cross-party Better Together campaign in Edinburgh – which involves Labour, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives – Mr Darling is expected to say that Scotland, through family, economic and cultural friendship, is stronger in the UK.

Ahead of the launch, he told Radio 4’s Today programme that he wanted to “fight a very positive campaign”:

The Better Together launch will come as half-a-million leaflets are handed out at train stations, setting out the case for keeping Scotland in the UK, while a new website is going live on Monday.

leafletsThe Better Together campaign is launching a series of leaflets making the case for keeping Scotland in the union.

Echoing the message of the campaign’s advertising campaign, Mr Darling said: “The truth is we can have the best of both worlds; a strong Scottish Parliament and a key role in a strong and secure United Kingdom.

“The truth is Scotland’s future, our future and our families’ future will be economically, politically and socially stronger as a partner in the United Kingdom.

“The truth is that this coming together of family, friends, ideas, institutions and identities is a strength, not a weakness. It is an ideal worth celebrating.”

Mr Darling added: “The choice we make will be irrevocable – if we decide to leave the United Kingdom there is no way back.”

The campaign launch came the day after Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander warned homeowners could face £1bn of extra mortgage costs in an independent Scotland.

The Scottish Liberal Democrat MP said Scotland’s budget deficit and lack of an independent financial track record could mean higher borrowing costs and a 1% rise interest rates.

The Scottish government described the claims as “economic illiteracy”.

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