JOHN Reid today makes his most high-profile intervention of the referendum debate so far, claiming the SNP is engaged in a “cruel deceit” by pretending there are no risks involved in independence.
Writing in Scotland on Sunday, the former Labour Cabinet minister argues that the positive case for remaining in the UK is based on the reduction of financial risk through pooling resources.
Reid claims that independence campaigners have to be more “honest” about the consequences of independence.
The former UK defence secretary’s foray into the battle for Scotland’s constitutional future is a sign that he is to become more involved in the Better Together campaign as the referendum approaches.
Reid’s involvement comes as Better Together attempts to ramp up its faltering campaign in the face of polls suggesting that its lead over Yes Scotland is narrowing.
Yesterday, Better Together announced that Frank Roy, the MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, has joined the Better Together team.
Long recognised as a formidable campaigner for Labour, Roy has been appointed to give “political co-ordination” to the grassroots Better Together campaign.
Roy undertook similar work for Scottish Labour in the 2010 general election, when the party’s share of the vote in Scotland increased from the 2005 election – despite losing the count overall.
In his article, Reid argues that the SNP wants to “gamble” with people’s livelihoods on the “pretences” that “separation from the UK” will be “all reward and no risk”.
He writes: “There are huge risks involved – in terms of our economy, finance, investment, employment, pensions, defence, security and in many other areas.
“People have a right to argue their case for separatism, but I would respect them more if they did not pretend that there are no risks involved. That is a cruel deceit.”