By a Newsnet reporter
First Minister Alex Salmond has said the failure this week of the No campaign to offer a single new job-creating power has become the defining moment of the independence referendum campaign.
Mr Salmond said the ability to create more jobs here in Scotland is crucial, which is why so many people are waking up to the opportunity of independence and moving towards a Yes vote.
The First Minister insisted neither Alistair Darling nor the Prime Minister had been able to identify a single new guaranteed jobs power that will come to Scotland in the event of a No vote – exposing, he said, the fatal flaw in the No campaign.
Mr Salmond highlighted Scotland’s considerable economic benefits and said:
“Scotland is one of the world’s richest countries, wealthier per head than France, the UK and Japan.
“But despite our great wealth, almost everyone in Scotland will know of friends and family who have had to leave to get a job or further their career.
“With less than three weeks to go more and more people are finding out about the opportunity of independence to control tax, employment, trade and other jobs powers to ensure we can make the most of our wealth and vast resources.”
Acknowledging that there were challenges ahead after a Yes vote, Mr Salmond added:
“Independence isn’t a magic wand but we’ll be able to tailor economic policy to put job creation in Scotland first instead of a Westminster policy which has consistently favoured London.
“The Scottish Government has already set out a long-term jobs plan which shows what can be achieved with control of key economic levers.
“By contrast, the failure of the No campaign to guarantee a single jobs power is important new information in the campaign as we reach decision point as a country.
“People have been alerted to this problem, over the past few days, by the Prime Minister and the leader of the No campaign, Alistair Darling, who have both confirmed the jobs gap in the No campaign’s offer.
“Westminster has created one of the most imbalanced and unequal economies in Europe and we now know there is nothing on offer to level the playing field with a No vote.
“With big cuts to investment spending and more cuts to come Westminster has consistently ignored Scotland’s needs.
“That’s why we’re better off with Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.”
The latest statement from the First Minister follows a general acceptance that momentum is now with the Yes campaign. Yesterday it emerged that the gap between Yes and No had narrowed to just six points.
With less than three weeks to go to the referendum there is increasing evidence of panic in the ranks of the pro-Union campaign, with a visit to Scotland by UK Prime Minister David Cameron coinciding with outrageous claims by a Labour MP.
Jim Murphy, who was hit with an egg this week, has accused Yes supporters of mounting a coordinated attack on his self-styled ‘tour of Scotland’. Murphy, who appears to have been side-lined by the official No campaign, has instead tried to provoke reaction from members of the public by indulging in some local rabble-rousing.
The MP, whose shirt was stained after being hit by an egg during one of his lone events, falsely claimed the attack was coordinated by the official Yes Scotland campaign. Murphy’s claims were widely reported by BBC Scotland.
The East Renfrewshire MP, who stands to lose out to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds if Scots vote Yes in September’s referendum, has been touring Scotland exchanging insults with members of the public.
Newsnet Scotland understands that several pro-Union media outlets have agreed to promote Mr Murphy’s claim that the official Yes campaign, despite growing support for Yes, has decided to turn its back on positive campaigning and instead attack the Labour MP’s poorly attended speaking events.