Scottish independence: ‘Yes’ campaign chief only arranges seating plans, claims Alistair Darling

Alistair Darling: criticised Blair Jenkins
Alistair Darling: criticised Blair Jenkins
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ALISTAIR Darling has claimed that the BBC executive recruited to run the “Yes” campaign refuses to answer questions on the policies that will define an
independent Scotland.

The former chancellor and leader of the Better Together campaign suggested that the role of Blair Jenkins, the Yes Scotland chief executive, was confined to making the seating arrangements at events.

Mr Darling dismissed Mr Jenkins’s contribution when he argued that Alex Salmond “really calls the shots” in an interview with ­Holyrood magazine.

“The ‘Yes’ campaign only exists because Alex Salmond said it would exist… The only thing I do notice is that Blair Jenkins refuses to answer any policy questions, and you won’t get through a campaign by doing that,” Mr Darling said.

“At the moment, Blair Jenkins’s view is to run the campaign and, unless we are discussing the seating arrangement or something technical like that, he is going to say nothing,
and I want to debate with Alex Salmond, or whoever, from that side.

“The people of Scotland will feel cheated if there isn’t such a discussion. In my view, this can’t be about anything else other than policy.”

Yesterday, the “Yes” campaign indicated that it would not get dragged into personal attacks.

A “Yes” campaign spokesman said: “We are focused on running a positive campaign, and over the next two years we shall be providing people in Scotland with the high-quality information they need to make the right choice about Scotland’s future.

“Our aim is to deliver a Yes vote for independence. Once that is achieved, there will be an election to choose a Scottish government and it will be for the political parties to lay their policies and priorities in an independent Scotland.

“Our policy is to give people in Scotland the opportunity to make their own decisions.”

In the interview, Mr Darling claimed Mr Salmond’s plans for a currency union with sterling would lead to a political union.

“Why on earth would you go through all the trouble of breaking from the UK to arrive back where you started?” he asked.

On the issue of more powers for Holyrood, Mr Darling said Britain as a whole and UK parties will have to define what extra levers Scotland should get in the event of a “No” vote.

The SNP MSP Kenny Gibson claimed Mr Darling’s remark amounted to a “veto” on new powers for Scotland.

Mr Gibson said: “It is only fair that they come clean what a “No” vote means – which is now confirmed as effectively nothing for Scotland.”