By Sean Martin
LABOUR MP Jim Murphy’s latest speech demonstrates the No campaign’s incapability to make a positive case against Scottish independence, the SNP has said today.
Following the former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy’s pleas for a more positive campaign from the Better Together camp, Murphy has been criticised by the nationalists, who say he has only reinforced the reputation for negativity the unionists have garnered so far.
In his speech, Murphy, the Labour Party’s current Shadow Secretary for International Development and former Scottish Secretary, said independence could lead to higher mortgage and shopping costs. The MP for Renfrewshire East also said the Scottish economy would be fragile without “the broader shoulders of the UK”.
He added: “We saw last week that a collapse in oil revenues would have meant a £4.4bn cut in the funding for public services in one year. Scotland’s big employers, from shipyards to Standard Life, raise the prospect of Scotland losing thousands of jobs [with independence] and the SNP’s lack of a credible currency plan is raising the prospect of a fresh period of financial upheaval.”
Jim Murphy interviewed on Good Morning Scotland
Claims by the Labour MP that a newly independent Scotland’s credit worthiness would be damaged, which would mean high interest payments on areas like mortgages and loans were recently challenged by a leading credit agency.
In an official analysis released on 27th February, Standard & Poor’s said: “Even excluding North Sea output and calculating per capita GDP only by looking at onshore income, Scotland would qualify for our highest economic assessment.”
Bob Doris, SNP MSP for Glasgow, said Murphy’s speech was simply more scaremongering from the anti-independence campaign.
“That Jim Murphy feels it is necessary to try and frighten those who stand to gain the most from independence into voting No speaks volumes about the worry running through the anti-independence campaign,” said Doris. “It is ironic that on the same day his No camp colleague Charles Kennedy called for more positivity from the anti-independence parties, Mr Murphy makes a speech designed solely to cause panic and alarm.”
He added: “The fact remains that only independence gives us a real chance to make Scotland fairer. Our plans to transform childcare will benefit 240,000 children and their families. In contrast, Westminster cuts will push up to 100,000 children in Scotland into poverty by 2020.”
A report today by Oxfam urged Chancellor George Osborne to look at introducing a wealth tax after finding that the UK’s top five families had more wealth between them than the poorest 20% of the country. The study also found that, since the mid-1990s, those in the top 0.1% of the country have seen their income rise by £24,000 a year, while the incomes of the bottom 90% have risen by only £147 a year.
Scottish Minister for Youth Employment, Angela Constance, joined her SNP colleague Doris in dismissing Murphy’s argument that the country would be worse off if it voted for independence. Scotland is one of the wealthiest nations in the world,” said Constance. “With independence we can make sure everyone benefits from our wealth, not just the Treasury.”