Scottish independence: Murphy says Yes ‘for rich’

JIM Murphy will today claim that the SNP are concentrating more on wooing the rich and powerful than helping ordinary Scots, who are struggling to make ends meet.
Labour MP Jim Murphy. Picture: Robert PerryLabour MP Jim Murphy. Picture: Robert Perry
Labour MP Jim Murphy. Picture: Robert Perry

In a speech for the Better Together campaign in Glasgow, Labour’s Shadow International Development Secretary will argue that Nationalists have been neglecting hard-pressed families. “Desperate to avoid a battering from business the SNP have invested lots of political capital and limited post-independence resources on promises aimed at bigger businesses,” Murphy will say.

“They’ve made their choice and their mistake. Contrast the lengths they go to offer clarity for the most powerful and then compare it with their lack of openness on Scottish pensions, workers holding down two jobs to pay a small mortgage, families juggling multiple store-cards and credit cards as well as shoppers worried about the rising costs of their post-independence food bills. On pensions, the Nationalists have been criticised by the body representing Scotland’s accountants for not even having a plan for the payment of Scotland’s pensioners.

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“On welfare, their own expert group, set up to look at the payment of benefits and tax credits in a separate Scotland, warned that they had no workable plan to make sure people still get the money they need.”

The front-bencher will say victory in poll will go to the side which reaches out to the 300,000 undecided working and lower middle-class Scots. “We are that campaign and that is why we have been asking the difficult questions about what separation would mean for hard-working Scottish families,” Murphy will say. “In layman’s terms, the voters who may make the difference in the referendum are more likely to be nurses and teachers, plumbers and joiners, checkout operators and cleaners.

“These are busy and clever Scots, warm-hearted and hard-headed, patriotic and pragmatic. They want to do what is best for our country. But as this referendum campaign heats up more and more people are starting think that the SNP seem to care more about their own nationalism than our nation.”

Murphy will say that the SNP are “too worried” about trying to make history to pay attention to struggling Scots.

But Kenneth Gibson, an SNP MSP, said: “After weeks in which his own leader Johann Lamont has been keen to proclaim the views of big business at every opportunity, this is utterly ridiculous from Jim Murphy.”

He added: “We live in the 14th wealthiest nation in the world. There is no doubt that with the powers of independence we will be able to make Scotland a fairer place and ensure that the decisions affecting communities across Scotland are made in line with Scotland’s priorities – not the agenda of the Tories in Westminster.”