‘Grumpy Old Men’ could lose No the referendum warns Labour peer


  By a Newsnet reporter
The Better Together campaign is run by “grumpy old men” and is in danger of alienating undecided women voters, a Labour peer has warned.
Speaking at the Fortune Most Powerful Women event in London, Baroness Shriti Vadera said the No campaign risked losing a referendum it should win comfortably.

In an interview with Fortune’s Deputy Editor Stephanie Mehta, she said: “There is no reason for us to lose this referendum but it is true that the Better Together campaign is certainly testing that thesis to destruction, and I think it’s because it’s run by grumpy old men and the really undecided voters are women…. 

“In Scotland it’s women, young women, young professional women in an upwardly mobile way, there’s women in the service sector worried about their families, and they’re kind of really listening to the debate and we’re not reaching out to them.

“But I think we’ll win, I think it’ll be alright, but really it doesn’t have to be this close, it’s completely unnecessary for it to have been this close.”

Vadera was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for International Development by Gordon Brown in 2007.  Her comments will be seen by some as criticism of the negative and highly divisive line currently being adopted by Better Together.

In the same interview, Vadera, who was made a life peer in 2007, also criticised David Cameron’s approach to Europe and the PM’s role in the argument over the replacement for former EU President Jose Manuel Barroso.

“I am not happy with the way we are handling our diplomatic relationship with Europe and creating the constant sense of a row over things that people don’t really care about.” She said.

Accusing Cameron of having orchestrated a row, the peer added: “You know, if you take Juncker, the President nomination for Juncker, it is rather odd that you should have something that should be a private diplomatic discussion really out there in public, huge debate, that’s not the way things are done. 

“So you have to assume that either they don’t know how to do things, they don’t know how to handle Europe, or you have to assume they wanted to have the row, because why else would you do this?”

The UK Government’s handling of the replacement process has already witnessed stinging criticism from the Polish Foreign Minister.

Radoslaw Sikorski called David Cameron’s behaviour “stupid propaganda” and accused the UK PM of trying to appease domestic Eurosceptics.