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Independent Scotland’s ‘Thatcher-style economy’

George Galloway says a yes vote would result in resentment. Picture: PA

George Galloway says a yes vote would result in resentment. Picture: PA

  • by ANDREW WHITAKER
 

GEORGE Galloway has warned that Scotland could be dominated by the politics of “grudge and resentment” if the country votes for independence.

The politician claimed an independent Scotland would have a Thatcherite-style economy and be forced to compete with the rest of the UK over low wages in a “race to the bottom”.

Mr Galloway, the Respect MP for Bradford West, attacked suggestions independence would deliver more left-wing policies as one of the “great myths” ­promoted by Alex Salmond.

His remarks came ahead of a series of speeches attacking independence which the former Glasgow MP is due to deliver in Scotland this month.

Mr Galloway, who was expelled from Labour over his opposition to the last Iraq War, warned ethnic and religious minorities would be the target of “hostility” if independence failed to deliver social justice.

He said: “I wouldn’t like to be a religious or an ethnic minority in an independent Scotland. This malignant resentment can take the form of resentment against minorities.”

Mr Galloway claimed the economy of independent Scotland would be closely tied to England’s due to the SNP’s plans to retain the pound and keep links with the Bank of England.

The Dundee-born politician said: “At best, independence would be a blind alley but when people discover that it’s not some Eureka moment, it could lead to the politics of grudge and resentment. Taking all Scotland’s MPs away from Westminster would leave Labour with an Everest to climb if it was to win at Westminster.

“The Tories would pursue a right-wing agenda and Scotland would have to follow that. It would induce a race to the bottom in Scotland and a Thatcherite economy. It’s one of many of Alex Salmond’s great myths that an independent Scotland would be a more Labourish country.”

Mr Galloway said he would use speeches in Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen to “puncture” the SNP’s case for independence.

He went on to accuse the anti-independence Better Together campaign of complacency and warned the Yes campaign could win despite trailing in polls.

He said: “The No campaign is dangerously complacent and the referendum could still go either way. Alistair Darling is an admirable fellow, but he’s no-one’s idea of a leader. Alex Salmond is good, but he’s not that good.”

Mr Galloway, who unsuccessfully stood for a seat at Holyrood in 2011, said he would never again stand in Scotland.

Last night, SNP MSP John ­Wilson dismissed Mr Galloway’s remarks and insisted Scotland would be a more equal society under independence.

Pointing out Mr Galloway was “overwhelmingly rejected” in 2011, Mr Wilson said: “Only a Scottish government ­independent of the UK can possibly bring about the introduction of policies that will protect and enhance the well-being of those on the lowest incomes.”

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