Alistair Darling urges No vote based on family

ALISTAIR DARLING has urged undecided voters to say No to independence, arguing that staying in the UK was the “right” thing to do for their children.

Leader of the Better Together campaign Alastair Darling. Picture: Wattie Cheung
Leader of the Better Together campaign Alastair Darling. Picture: Wattie Cheung

The Better Together leader argued that a No vote was the best way for voters to demonstrate their love for their families and their love of Scotland.

But the latest message from Better Together faced fierce criticism from the Yes camp, with Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon branding it “patronising and bizarre.”

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“We all love Scotland and we all love our families,” Ms Sturgeon hit out.

The former chancellor insisted that this month’s referendum is not a test of Scottishness but a test of common sense. He added that a No vote was a vote for Scotland and a vote for securing a more prosperous country.

In a speech that made much of his love for Scotland, Mr Darling called on people to be proud to vote No, arguing that was the best way to redistribute wealth and create a strong economy. He said: “This poll is not a test of our Scottishness – it is a test of common sense.

“If you vote Yes on 18 September and Yes wins, you won’t be any more Scottish on 19 September. None of us will be. But you will have made Scotland that bit poorer.”

Mr Darling said Scottish identity had been “emboldened” by the strength of the UK. “I don’t agree with the nationalists that our sense of ourselves is so weak that the only way to express our Scottishness is by walking out of the UK we built,” he said.

Addressing an audience of supporters at the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock, Mr Darling said being in the UK had been “no barrier at all to Scotland

becoming wealthy and prosperous”.

Scotland had contributed to building a UK single market, with no compromise to national identity, he said. He admitted the way wealth was distributed in Scotland was “wrong” and argued that new powers promised to Holyrood could help bridge the gap between rich and poor.

“That is why I want Scotland to change. That is why I want the Scottish Parliament to be stronger. That is why the Scottish Parliament will have the power to redistribute wealth from rich to poor.”

He contrasted his support for the restoration of the 50p income tax band for the country’s highest earners with the SNP’s failure to back such a move.

“We can change Scotland for the better, without throwing away the advantages we gain from being part of the UK,” Mr Darling said.

His speech marked the launch of new pro-UK billboard adverts targeting the undecided. The posters have slogans such as “I love my family, I’m saying no thanks”, “We love our kids, we are saying no thanks” and “I love Scotland, I’m saying no thanks”.

Mr Darling said: “There are a number of people at the moment who have still got to make their minds up and I’m saying by voting No, you are doing the right thing by Scotland, doing the right thing for your family and doing the right thing for your children.”

The No campaign came under fire last week over an advert depicting a woman considering the referendum which was branded “patronsing.”

Ms Sturgeon said: “The No campaign has learned absolutely nothing from their disastrous TV broadcast last week – not content with patronising women, they’re now patronising all of Scotland’s voters and their families. We all love Scotland and we all love our families – that the No campaign has tried to bring this into question is as patronising as it is bizarre. It’s clearer now more than ever that the No camp simply has nothing positive to say.”