By a Newsnet reporter
The anti-independence campaign has been hit by an embarrassing blunder after its new slogan, ‘Better Together’ was revealed to be already in use.
It has emerged that the slogan adopted the Unionist campaign run by the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem alliance, has been hi-jacked’ from the Scottish NHS.
Newsnet Scotland has discovered that ‘Better Together’ is the official slogan for the Scottish NHS’s patient experience programme and has been in use for over four years.
On the NHS Scotland website the slogan sits proudly at the top of the page, beneath which it says:
“Better Together is Scotland’s Patient Experience Programme. It supports NHS Boards, frontline staff and patients in driving forward service improvement.”
The patient scheme was originally announced in March 2007 by the last Labour/Lib Dem administration, before being officially launched by health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon 11 months later in February 2008.
The official adoption of the slogan by the ‘No campaign’ was revealed by a Scottish newspaper this morning. Anti-independence campaign insiders say the name will help give a positive message to keep Scotland part of the UK.
According to the Sunday Mail the name “Better Together” has been registered with Companies House. The directors of the new company are Labour MP Alistair Darling, former Scottish Tory leader David McLetchie, Labour MSPs Jackie Ballie and Richard Baker and former Scottish Lib Dem convener Craig Harrow.
However, the hi-jacking of a slogan already used by a public health body is sure to be controversial and may in fact lead to confusion amongst some members of the public if it appears on NHS letterheads and official communications.
The anti-independence parties have faced problems in how to pitch their campaign, with insiders reported to be against using the term ‘Union’ and keen to avoid the word ‘No’.
Unionist anxiety over acceptable phrases and terms was highlighted when MP Tom Harris retweeted what appeared to be a hoax ‘@weakerapart’ tag originally tweeted by Labour councillor Stephen Curran.
Labour staffers were said to have been frantically tweeting to warn members of the hoax. The term ‘Weaker Apart’ was one half of the long standing Unionist slogan ‘Stronger Together, Weaker Apart’ used in order to counter SNP arguments in favour of independence.
However, campaign claims that Scotland would be ‘too weak’ to survive outside of the Union were ineffective at the last Holyrood election and the SNP romped to an historic majority win.