No campaign arguments falling apart yet again
Cracks are already showing in Labour’s own campaign against Scottish independence - over the likelihood of a Tory government at Westminster following independence- just two days after the launch. The mixed messages from Labour’s senior politicians is the latest in a series of gaffes by the No campaign.
On Monday both Gordon Brown and Scottish Labour’s Deputy Leader Anas Sarwar argued Scottish independence would mean increasing the likelihood of a Tory government at Westminster- which has since been refuted by No campaign head Alistair Darling.
Darling, who was no-where to be seen at Monday’s launch, said at a press event in London yesterday that Labour can win power in Westminster without Scottish MPs if Scotland votes for independence, and he ‘didn’t buy’ the idea that there would be a Tory stronghold. The contradiction follows a new divide in the No camp as Gordon Brown launched Labour’s own campaign against independence, despite being part of the cross-party campaign.
Previously the No campaign have given mixed messages over the importance of the UK’s lost AAA credit rating, the future of Trident, currency and the Scottish Government’s timetable for the transition to independence.
Commenting, a SNP spokesperson said:
“The No campaign clearly don’t have their act together. Not only has Labour decided to launch their own, separate campaign, but cracks are already showing amongst Labour’s key players- they can’t even decide if Labour would still be able to win a General Election without Scotland.
“The No campaign has been incoherent on every issue. They argued Scots would save billions as part of the UK on mortgages due to the AAA credit rating, but then downplayed its significance when the rating was lost. Anas Sarwar tells us Labour will fight to get rid of Trident without independence, but Labour says they would be in favour of a ‘like-for-like’ replacement. Alistair Darling criticised the proposal of a Scotland - UK currency union, only to then say that it would be ‘logical’. And Darling and Willie Rennie criticised the Scottish Government timetable to independence as unrealistic, only to be discredited by the UK government’s main author of their legal opinion who described the timetable as ‘realistic’.
“Of course the case that Gordon Brown and Anas Sarwar are putting forward is nonsense. We have had 30 years of Tory governments being imposed on Scotland by Westminster - over half the period since 1959, including the long 18 years of Tory government after 1979, and the current Tory-led coalition. By contrast, for only 26 months - from the 1964 to 1966 elections, and between the two elections in 1974 - have MPs from Scotland made any difference in terms of electing Labour, every other Labour government would have been elected south of the Border anyway. It is impossible for 8.4 per cent of the UK population to dictate to the rest, and the electoral record shows that it is a totally threadbare argument.
“What is certain, is a Yes vote next year will ensure Scotland gets the government it votes for, every time.”
Notes to Editors:
Gordon Brown warned the rest of the UK would be dominated by Conservatives
Anas Sarwar told Good Morning Scotland that Scottish independence would cement Tory hold at Westminster.
AAA RATINGS: The anti-independence campaign’s first leaflet from June 2012 said the following: "Scots save billions on the cost of mortgages due to the UK's AAA credit rating." This was a leaflet that was still being distributed on the weekend of 23rd-24th February 2013.
Without a hint of irony the No Campaign’s leader Alistair Darling attacked the Tories on the loss of AAA status on Sky’s ‘Murnaghan’ programme (24/2/13) by saying: “It was very unwise to stake their reputation on maintaining the triple A rating . . It showed inexperience and maybe a touch of recklessness.”
TIMETABLE & TREATIES: Responding to the Scottish Government’s timetable for the transition to independence (5/2/2013) Alistair Darling said: “It just isn't credible. The idea that all of this will just be nodded through is just nonsense." Willie Rennie said “They would have to negotiate over 14,000 international treaties … To say they will bang all this through in just 16 months is absurd.”
Interviewed on the Today Programme (11/2/13) Professor James Crawford of Cambridge University, accepted the Scottish Government’s our timetable: “… the thousands of treaties are not going to be a major issue, … the Scottish estimate is about 18 months, and that seems realistic.”
CURRENCY: Alistair Darling had said In his John P Mackintosh Lecture (9 November 2012): “Why should the rest of the UK agree to a currency union without being asked”?
And on 6 September 2012 George Osborne had said of a currency union: “I have seen no such credible mechanisms proposed by those advocating independence. I am not clear they exist.”
And Alistair Darling has even contradicted himself on Newsnight Scotland (10/1/13) when he said: "… of course it would be desirable to have a currency union...If you have independence … of course the currency union is logical".