No indyref until 2030, says unionist group

Picture: Michael Gillen
Picture: Michael Gillen
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A HIGH-PROFILE group set up to promote the benefits of Scotland remaining in the UK will today say there should not be another independence referendum until at least 2030.

Speaking at an Edinburgh event for supporters of Scotland in Union, the organisation’s director Alistair Cameron will say that Scottish politics needs to move beyond fights about the constitution to policies that will improve people’s lives.

Cameron, a former soldier in a Scottish regiment, will say: “Despite its claims, the SNP isn’t Scotland. It’s imperative we decouple Scottishness from separation. You can be a patriotic Scot and proud to be British.”

Supporters will be told that the benefits the UK brings to Scotland need to be articulated much more loudly and clearly in Scotland.

Cameron promised that in the run-up to the Holyrood election next year and beyond, Scotland in Union would remind Scots of the benefits of being part of the UK in terms of economic advantages, jobs and national security, social justice, welfare and rights.

In his speech he will say: “We don’t want to obsess about a new referendum, but if we need to have that fight then we will lobby the UK government to ignore any calls for one until at least 2030 – 16 years from the last one.”

Cameron said he believed movements like Scotland in Union should hold the SNP accountable to deliver using the powers Holyrood already has and that are set to increase.

“Scottish politics should be about improving lives, not relentless constitutional reform. It is beyond doubt that pooling and sharing rewards and risks across the UK has benefited Scotland in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.

“We will remind people that political debates should be about tax, spending, health, welfare, security and the other functions of the state, rather than indulging empty separatist gestures at the expense of running the country properly.”

Scotland in Union was formed in the aftermath of the referendum and during this year’s General Election urged people to vote tactically against the SNP in an attempt to secure the Union.

SNP Business Convener Derek Mackay said: “This is the same group which urged people to elect anyone but the SNP – so its views were rejected by voters in 56 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies – and it predicted before the election that tactical voting would save Labour, LibDem and Conservative seats in Scotland.

“Nonetheless, despite how out of touch this group is with the electorate, it is significant that Cameron is anticipating another referendum. But the timing of a referendum is a democratic matter for the people of Scotland to decide – not a self-appointed body whose platform was overwhelmingly rejected across Scotland last month.

“As the First Minister said last week, the level of support for independence will be determined at least in part by how the Tory government at Westminster acts, as well as what the SNP in government does.

“There is no question that the great disrespect shown to Scotland by David Cameron’s Evel plans, and his decision to ignore Scotland’s voice on more powers, will have more people asking whether Westminster is capable of representing Scotland’s interests at all.”