By a Newsnet reporter
Despite a New Year’s resolution to begin fighting a positive campaign, anti-independence politicians have started 2013 with seven days of negativity in the first full week alone, performing a U-turn on their promise to raise the tone of the debate, say the Scottish National Party.
Anas Sarwar, deputy leader of Labour in Scotland and a key figure in the anti-independence campaign, had promised to ditch negative campaigning in a Daily Record article published Sunday 6 January.
Mr Sarwar wrote: “We will be raising the level of debate and ensuring that Scotland gets the level of debate it deserves.
“I’ve never said Scotland couldn’t be successful under independence. But I believe Scotland will be better off as part of the UK and I will be making a positive case for it in the campaign.”
Mr Sarwar then immediately broke his own promise, claiming in the same article: “Alex Salmond hasn’t been honest and transparent about advice on an independent Scotland joining the EU.”
Since then, every single day this week the anti-independence camp has pursued a scaremongering campaign, spreading misinformation on such subjects as renewables, interest rates, border controls and defence.
The following is a selection of scare stories and negative campaingning from the last week. There were many more examples.
- Monday – Alistair Darling claimed: “If there was a different immigration and asylum regime from the rest of the UK there would have to be border controls”;
- Tuesday – he claimed an independent Scotland could not meet its renewables targets;
- Wednesday – Mr Darling said an independent Scotland ‘would not be like North Korea’;
- Thursday – Mr Darling said Scotland would be at the mercy of interestrates they had no say over;
- Friday – the anti-independence campaign claimed Britain would not protect an independent Scotland if it is hit by a nuclear strike;
- Saturday – Willie Rennie said taxes would go up in an independent Scotland;
- Sunday – Michael Moore said the Westminster government would play hard-ball if Scotland voted for independence.
SNP MSP Bruce Crawford, convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Referendum (Scotland) Bill Committee, said:
“After a year of silly scaremongering, the anti-independence campaign were called upon – and promised – to have a more positive debate in 2013.
“But their actions speak louder than words – and after the first full week of the new year we have found this is simply not the case.
“We have had seven days of negative comment after negative comment – do No politicians simply have nothing positive to say about Scotland’s future?
“The SNP called on the anti-independence campaign to make its New Year’s resolution to raise the tone of the debate but this has simply not happened.
“People have legitimate questions to ask of both the Yes and No camps, which is why we need an open platform – not one congested by the most bizarre claims, including Alistair Darling claiming an independent Scotland could not meet its renewable targets.
“It is a disgrace the leader of the No campaign is using such ridiculous examples to scare people.
“In contrast, the Yes campaign is rooted in a positive approach that represents all of Scotland’s communities – young and old, job-creators, Labour movement figures, civic Scotland, the Arts and urban and rural Scotland.
“The SNP believes Scotland’s people – and its future generations – should be in charge of their own fate and know that the alternative to a Yes vote in 2014 would be to see the achievements of devolution being rolled back.”