By a Newsnet reporter
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has tried to invoke the memory of the London Olympics and ‘team GB’ as he pleads with people across the UK to contact friends and family in Scotland in a desperate attempt at stemming the rise in support for Yes.
Mr Cameron used the backdrop of the Olympic Park in Stratford in order to deliver his message which is intended to stoke British Patriotism.
In his speech, the Tory leader said: “This is a decision that is squarely and solely for those in Scotland to make,” and will add: “But my argument today is that though only four million people can vote in this referendum, all sixty-three million of us are profoundly affected. There are sixty-three million of us who could wake up on September 19th in a different country, with a different future ahead of it.”
In a sign that momentum is now very clearly with the Yes campaign, Mr Cameron pled with Scots to vote No on September 18th: “We would be deeply diminished without Scotland. From us to the people of Scotland let the message be this: We want you to stay.”
Commenting on Mr Cameron’s speech, which he gave in London, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“This is a cowardly speech from a Prime Minister who uses the Olympic Park in London to give high-handed lectures against Scotland’s independence but hasn’t got the guts to come to Scotland or anywhere else to make his case in a head to head debate.
“David Cameron, as the Tory Prime Minister, is the very embodiment of the democratic case for a Yes vote for an independent Scotland – and he knows it.
“A Yes vote will put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands, and will mean we will never again have to endure Tory Governments, Prime Ministers and policies we didn’t vote for.”
Mr Cameron added: “For me, the best thing about the Olympics wasn’t the winning. It was the red, the white, the blue. It was the summer that patriotism came out of the shadows and into the sun. Everyone cheering as one for Team GB. And it’s Team GB I want to talk about today. Our United Kingdom.”
The use of the Olympics as a backdrop to his speech comes on the day of the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Sochi.
Ms Sturgeon added: “As for using the Olympic stadium on the day the Winter Olympics begin and seeking to invoke the successes of London 2012 as an argument against Scotland taking its future into its own hands, it betrays the extent of the jitters now running through the No campaign.
“They see the polls closing and they are clearly rattled – but to politicise any sporting occasion is shameful.
“Unfortunately, with this tawdry bid to use the Olympic Games – past and present – as a political tool, David Cameron has exposed the utter hypocrisy and double standards at the heart of the No campaign.”
Mr Cameron is expected to visit Scotland later this month when he is scheduled to hold a Cabinet meeting in Aberdeen on February 24th. First Minister Alex Salmond is also scheduled to be in the area that same day and has again invited Mr Cameron to take part in a debate on independence.
The use of the Olympics in order to help promote an anti-independence message follows demands from fellow No campaigner and former First Minister Jack McConnell, who last month called for both sides in the independence campaign to avoid trying to politicise major sporting events like the Commonwealth Games.