By a Newsnet reporter
A Yes vote in September’s independence referendum is an opportunity for Labour voters across Scotland to “reclaim their politics and their party”, Nicola Sturgeon will tell an audience of undecided voters tonight.
The Deputy First Minister who is also a Yes Scotland Advisory Board member will attend a Q&A in Renfrew along with former Labour MP and Yes Scotland chairman Dennis Canavan.
Both will join forces to highlight the opportunities a Yes vote presents for the people of Scotland, in particular Labour voters who seek a fairer more equitable society.
Previewing the public meeting, Nicola Sturgeon said: “For Labour voters seeking a fairer and more equal country, a Yes vote offers the only real opportunity of making that a reality.
“It may be an irony, but it is precisely because Labour voters in Scotland have not traditionally been motivated by constitutional politics that increasing numbers are making up their mind to vote Yes.”
A TNS poll last week showed that 28 per cent of people who voted Labour in 2011 already intend to vote Yes in September – a rise of 7 per cent in just three months. A previous poll had put the number at 21 per cent.
The Deputy First Minister added: “Defending a Westminster establishment that works for the few – and shows a contempt for the needs of the many – IS the constitutional politics of the No campaign. ‘Westminster knows best’ is the very essence of the No camp’s message – but it is demonstrably untrue, and it has a rapidly diminishing appeal among Labour voters in Scotland who want a political system capable of delivering progressive change, not propping up vested interests.
“That’s why the polls show more Labour supporters moving to Yes. People are seeing the excitement and possibility of independence to ensure that the huge wealth of Scotland works for everyone.
“We are a nation of five million, and we cannot afford to leave anyone behind. An independent Scotland will want – and need – the talents and energy of all the people, which is the guarantee of a fairer sharing of wealth.
“A Yes vote is the chance of a lifetime for Labour voters to reclaim their politics and their party – and put Scotland on a path towards the goals and ambitions they support.”
Ms Sturgeon highlighted the issue of Trident and contrasted the money spent on the nuclear weapons system with the increase in poverty.
She added: “Instead of seeing up to 100,000 more children pushed into poverty because of Westminster austerity, we can get rid of Trident nuclear weapons and transform childcare to benefit 240,000 children.
“I have canvassed many Labour voters in many elections, and failed to persuade many of them to vote SNP. But I have yet to meet a Labour voter yet who puts bombs before bairns, which is one reason why I have spoken to so many in this referendum campaign who are voting Yes.”
Former Labour MSP Dennis Canavan said: “Voting Yes in the referendum is not a vote for any political party.
“Scotland’s future is a matter which should transcend party politics and Yes Scotland embraces people of different political backgrounds.
Highlighting the recent announcement from former Labour minister Peter Kilfoyle who said he is backing a Yes vote, Mr Canavan added: “Some leading Labour figures, including former Government ministers, have recently announced their support for a Yes vote and, more importantly, an increasing number of grassroots Labour supporters are shifting to Yes.
“The reason for that is clear – Westminster politicians have lost the plot with all the unionist parties hell-bent on dismantling the Welfare State, privatising the National Health Service and spending billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction.
“An independent Scottish Parliament, on the other hand, would better reflect Labour’s traditional values of peace, social justice and a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”
Former Labour Minister Peter Kilfoyle explains why he is backing a Yes vote
A win for No, and the threat posed to the NHS and welfare, was highlighted in a recent animation