McLeish - union is "an empty vehicle" for future

Welcoming comments today by former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish at the Edinburgh International Book festival, in which he speculates independence “may be a good thing” for Scotland and describes the Union as “an empty vehicle”, SNP MSP Chic Brodie said:

“These are very welcome, honest and forthright comments from Henry McLeish, who remains a very respected voice across Scotland – and they are a devastating blow to the Tory-led no campaign whose endless negativity is a turn-off for ordinary Scots.

“These remarks should be the 'shock' that Johann Lamont needs to start listening to the growing discontent within Labour at their anti-independence alliance with the Tories.

"Mr McLeish’s comments come in the wake of outspoken remarks attacking the Better Together campaign by MSP Neil Findlay and the establishment of Labour for Independence, and it is fair to say that Ms Lamont is now paying the price for failing to have any internal debate about Labour's constitutional vision for Scotland.

“And with the most recent poll putting support for independence ahead of both the status quo and more devolved powers, it is clear that the electorate are also giving Labour's position a big thumbs down.

“The Tory-led anti-independence campaign offers nothing to Scotland, and will only encourage more people to vote Yes to an independent Scotland.”

Notes:

At the Edinburgh International Book Festival this afternoon, McLeish said

on the union...."My concern is it's an empty vehicle as far as offering me or my grandchildren a future which could be different from what I'm seeing that we're moving into."

On independence..." We would be responsible for both good and bad in Scotland. That may be a good thing."

on the Tories...."I believe that the Conservatives bring nothing to the table because they're part of the problem...There's no great desperate need for us to be sitting round a table"