Unionist ‘No’ campaign divided before it has started


by a Newsnet reporter

The planned Unionist ‘No’ campaign against Scottish independence was in chaos last night as division and confusion surfaced before it had even got off the ground.

In an interview with Holyrood magazine, Labour’s Jim Murphy has ruled out sharing a platform with fellow Unionist David Cameron or his party despite Labour leader Ed Miliband stating that he would do so.  Mr Miliband recently made a call for all Unionist parties to work together to defeat the independence proposal.

Mr Murphy’s comments come shortly after former Labour First Minister Jack McConnell said that the No campaign should be led by someone other than a politician.

Mr Murphy insisted that he intended to take ‘a central role’ in the No campaign, leading to speculation that there may be two separate Unionist campaigns, one with Mr Murphy in a ‘central role’, the other with Mr Cameron and those other figures from the Coalition with whom Mr Murphy refuses to share a platform.

Mr Murphy said that in order to defend the Union he planned to argue that “there is nowhere better than Scotland but there is something bigger.  The number of jobs, the ability to solve problems across the world, I mean, what problem, what genuine problem in the world, has Scotland, even Britain solved?”

Mr Murphy admitted that he was still trying to work out the best strategy for his No campaign, but identified the “big issues” facing the world and sclaimed that an independent Scotland would struggle to exert influence saying:  “Climate change, unequal distribution of wealth, children in Africa dying for lack of medicines, the movement of power and influence of economics and military to China, all those sort of things and much more besides, controlling terrorism. 

“Which of those problems could Scotland becoming independent solve?  How does Scotland exert any influence on its own?  I think our ability to influence things is much stronger by being part of the UK.”

Speaking in response to Mr Murphy’s comments, SNP Campaign Director and Westminster Leader Angus Robertson MP said: “As independence moves ahead in the polls, we are seeing complete disarray and division in the Unionist camp – they can’t even agree on what the status quo should be, and are now refusing to share a platform with each other.

“If the Unionist parties are incapable of agreeing and working with each other, they can’t expect the people of Scotland to agree with them in the referendum campaign.

“While we take nothing for granted, we are very confident that we can win the Yes case for independence and equality for Scotland in the referendum.”