Darling's smoke and mirrors mired in negativity

Responding to Alistair Darling’s speech at the launch of the No campaign, SNP leader and First Minister Alex Salmond said:

“Alistair Darling’s use of smoke and mirrors during his speech exposes a campaign mired in negativity. His threadbare case against independence has been exposed by the weakness of his arguments, and his presentation suffered from three devastating failures.

“Firstly, he claimed that the Union was a ‘celebration’ of Scottish values, on the very day that the Prime Minister of that political union is proposing to eliminate housing benefit for young Scots.

“There is no celebration of Scottish values in this Westminster Government’s policy toward young people, nor in the last Labour Government’s pursuit of an illegal war in Iraq.

“Secondly, the anti-independence campaign’s claim to be making a positive case has been exposed as a fraud. Alistair Darling’s presentation was littered with words such as ‘borders’, ‘division’ and ‘upheaval’ – expressing arguments better suited to the 18th century than to the 21st.

“No rational person seriously believes that England would cease to be a major market for Scotland’s goods – and Scotland for England’s – following independence.

“And equally no informed person would be unaware that Scotland is playing a world-leading role in tackling climate change – but Alistair Darling seemed to be unaware that it was the Scottish Parliament that was responsible for this, or indeed that our efforts have been praised by the UN Secretary General.

“Clearly, if it was up to Mr Darling, he would take these powers back to Westminster.

“With achievements like these, it is no wonder that the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey has found that seven in ten Scots trust the Scottish Government to act in Scotland’s best interests, compared to just 18 per cent who trusted Westminster.

“Thirdly, Alistair Darling said not a single word about the anti-independence campaign’s alternative vision of more powers for the Scottish Parliament.

“That is because – at heart – this is a Tory-led campaign, which is intent on conceding nothing to the people of Scotland, and hiding behind its refusal to spell out an alternative policy before the referendum. Urging people to vote no with only vague Tory promises of something else will only encourage more people to vote Yes to an independent Scotland.

“On all three counts, the No campaign has had its weaknesses exposed, and Alistair Darling is operating as the frontman for a Tory-led campaign of relentless negativity toward Scotland and its prospects.

“As we learned last year in the Scottish elections, negative campaigns are only successful when they face another negative campaign.

“Yes Scotland will be relentlessly positive as a winning antidote to the depressing negativity of the No campaign.”