Better Together campaign needs more positives

Wed, 27/11/2013 - 19:00
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By Shetlandman-Government Minister Alistair Carmichael is quite right to warn of complacency in regards to next year’s Scottish independence referendum. Pointing out many still feel deeply affected within their communities after the collapse of the manufacturing industry under Margaret Thatcher, which still leaves a bitter taste when it comes to thoughts of London.

He warns that the pro-independence lobby and campaign groups are tapping into those feelings and to ignore that large block of the vote would be complacent.  

Speaking to the media Alistair Carmichael said “I am convinced that this is a fight that still can be lost – winning with a 49-51 split actually resolves nothing. Don’t assume we will get the 51% - we could end up with the 49%.”

Mr Carmichael also stated in his interview, “The general approach of the SNP is to de-risk what they are offering. So on the currency they used to want the euro, now they want to keep the currency, the Bank of England as the lender of last resort and the capacity to build warships on the Clyde.”

Mr Carmichael has raised the feeling amongst those down in England that complacency is starting to creep in due to the majority of polls showing support for the Union is holding out.

He is quite correct in his warning when the same said polls show an awful lot of voters still to make up their minds. What that should be seen as is that many voters have not been won over for keeping the Union yet.

The Better Together campaign has been based on fears, of what will or might happen, if independence actually happens. Fears over pensions, hospitals and work on the Clyde have not increased pro Union percentages in the polls much.

The recent argument that if Scotland was independent that the Clyde shipbuilding industry would not get orders to build navy boats thus workers would lose their jobs was a poorly aimed argument of fear.

The British Government has had naval vessels built in the UK and abroad for decades and fails to report on the skills the Clyde workforce has. Their argument falls flat on its face and this was supported recently by a high ranking Navy Official.

Talk of when the oil runs out have been targeted to make the Scottish public have visions of a nation in poverty so better together. Yet new oil fields and technology to obtain oil from deeper waters actually means that the supply of North Sea oil will continue for around 100 years.

As for currency, a country can use whatever currency they wish to. This was done by Zimbabwe’s government who converted to the American dollar.

The Better Together campaign needs to change its tactics. They need to confirm and push the positives of Union with Wales and England. The strength each nation gains economically and socially worldwide by being the United Kingdom.

Alex Salmond is one of Britain’s shrewdest politicians and is a past master of delivering a knockout blow. He should not be under-estimated with his campaign, which has been so far fairly quiet. He is biding his time and planning when to strike. When the vote is taken, between February to Autumn, will be the biggest and loudest time for the two camps.

The expected high turnout, which analysts believe will be at least 90% of the voters, will mean an awful lot of people still need to be persuaded that the Union is worth keeping. Especially those who suffered when Scotland’s manufacturing industry, which employed so many Scots on decent wages, collapsed under a very London idealistic government back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.

They have to be convinced that for a better economic future then being together will deliver those chances. People are most concerned how much money they will have in their pockets and that argument must be won with positives by the Better Together camp.

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