Scottish independence is ‘better deal for elderly’

Veteran nationalist Winnie Ewing. Picture: Donald MacLeod
Veteran nationalist Winnie Ewing. Picture: Donald MacLeod
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THE veteran Nationalist Winnie Ewing yesterday said she would be voting for independence to create a fairer society for her grandchildren as the Yes movement launched a bid for pensioners’ votes.

In a rare public statement, the 85-year-old grandmother, who gained political immortality when she won the 1967 Hamilton by-election for the SNP, said that Yes was a “meaningful” vote for every older person.

“I will be casting my vote of course for Yes with great pleasure, because I have waited all my life for a meaningful vote and this is a meaningful vote for every older person,” said the former SNP President, MP, MSP and MEP.

“Make it Yes because there is so much at stake; a fairer, democratic Scotland which we all want. I’m old enough to appreciate having grandchildren, so I’m in a position to realise that it’s vital for them to grow up in a fair society where their aspirations are listened to and where they’re afforded the chance that they need – and that’s what I hope the young persons in this country will get in a democratic Scotland.”

Ewing, nicknamed Madame Ecosse when she served in ­Europe, is the matriarch of a formidable SNP dynasty which includes her son Fergus Ewing, the Energy Minister, and her daughter Annabelle, a SNP MSP and former MP.

Polls have consistently shown that older people are more likely to favour No over Yes. In an attempt to win over the older population, two of the Yes movements groups Generation Yes and National Collective, joined forces yesterday to encourage young people to urge their grandparents to vote Yes.

Young people around the country are being asked to ­visit or get in touch with their older relatives today and explain why they should back ­independence on Thursday.

The groups have created a special campaign pack, under the hashtag title Yes Generations#, that can be used to help them move their older relatives to Yes. It includes suggestions for writing poems, handwritten letters and other ways of engaging grandparents in an independence chat.

Graeme Sneddon, speaking on behalf of both groups, said: “The polls convey that the only demographic that still needs a nudge to Yes is the over-60s.

“On Thursday we could take the first step in creating a new future towards a fairer, nuclear-free, democratic society. We need to pull together to strive to overcome the scare stories and effectively put our message across to our loved ones.

“So, tomorrow, with just four days before the referendum, we are asking each and every one of our followers to take a break, and reach out to older family members and loved ones by going to visit them.”

He added: “The key messages are pensions are not just guaranteed but set to improve and that Yes is an opportunity of a Yes vote for their children and grandchildren’s future.”

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