Scottish independence: Yes campaign criticised after presenting Twitter followers as supporters

The Yes Scotland campaign launch in Edinburgh last week. Picture:  Ian Rutherford
The Yes Scotland campaign launch in Edinburgh last week. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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THE newly launched campaign for a “Yes” vote to Scottish independence is at the centre of “scam” claims after a string of pro-union MSPs say they were presented as supporters on its website.

Anyone who followed the Yes campaign Twitter account had personal information uploaded to the website’s database, it emerged yesterday, with their name and photograph then displayed on each page of the website below the words: “Powered by people o’ independent mind, like you…”

This included Conservative MSP and diehard unionist Jackson Carlaw and Labour MP Russell Brown.

The “Yes Scotland” campaign has now changed its wording to “following Yes Scotland on Twitter and Facebook.”

But Mr Brown said: “To claim people support separation simply because they follow the Twitter account is deeply dishonest and purposefully designed to deceive.

“This is a scam and shows no one can believe any of the numbers of supposed ‘supporters’ the Yes campaign claim to have.”

A spokesman for the Yes campaign said: “YesScotland.net is open to all people who want to find out about the many benefits of an independent Scotland, including 15,000 supporters who have already signed the Yes Declaration and followers, people of ‘independent mind’, who are not counted as supporters, and who have connected with Yes Scotland through our website, Facebook page or Twitter account simply to find out more.”

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “They tried to rig the referendum, now they are rigging the website.

“Following an individual or group on Twitter should not be misrepresented as support.

“The Yes Scotland website fails to make this distinction and implies that everyone who follows the campaign supports the campaign.

“This is an underhanded way to pad out numbers to make it look like more people support the break-up of the UK than is actually the case.”