Sunday, 30 December 2012

Hogmanay "Will Continue Under Independence"!


Reflecting on some of the scare stories peddled by anti-independence politicians this year, the SNP has said Better Together’s New Year’s resolution should be to raise the tone of the referendum debate in 2013 – and assured them that Hogmanay would continue under independence.

Despite their promise to ‘make the positive case for the Union’, claims emanating from politicians from the so-called Better Together campaign include – that an independent Scotland would lose the pandas from Edinburgh zoo, that an independent Scotland would lose its NHS, and even that England would be forced to bomb the airports an independent Scotland.

SNP MSP Bruce Crawford - who convenes the Referendum (Scotland) Bill Committee - said:

“After this year of silly scaremongering, it’s surprising the anti-independence campaign hasn’t claimed Hogmanay would stop under independence.

“Just as our great traditional New Year celebrations would continue in an independent Scotland, the NHS would carry on, ‘English’ would still be taught on the school curriculum and there would be no custody battle over the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo.

“A Tory peer even suggested that England could be forced to bomb an independent Scotland’s airports in the event of a terrorist attack.

“As they reflect on the campaign they have been running this year, anti-independence politicians should make it their New Year’s resolution to raise the tone of the referendum debate in 2013. Some of the stuff that the people of Scotland have heard this year has frankly been an insult to their intelligence, and they deserve better.

“People have legitimate questions to ask, which is why we need an open platform – not one congested by the most bizarre claims, including saying our friends and family in the rest of the UK would become foreign.

“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.

“Being independent is the best option for Scotland, because the people best placed to take decisions on all issues that affect Scotland are the people who choose to live and work here. That is the fundamental truth which resonates so powerfully with people across this nation.

“A country that earns its wealth and shares it more fairly, where every child has the chance to grow up and fulfil their potential and that enjoys excellent relations with its friends across these islands."

Notes: Some examples of the claims made by politicians from Better Together parties:

- Claims by Lord Fraser, the former Tory Solicitor General, that England could have no choice but to bomb Scottish airports in order to defend itself from attack if Scotland became independent.

- Speaking on Radio 4 on 13th January, Westminster Education Secretary Michael Gove asked: “Do they [Scotland] want to be part of the same nation that has a National Health Service?"

- Claims by Home Secretary Theresa May that passport checks would be issued at Scotland’s border with England.

- Questions published by the Westminster Scottish Affairs Committee querying if people could still buy wine form The Sunday Times Wine Club or whether the school curriculum would include ‘English’? These can be found in their Sixth Report of Session 2010-12: The Referendum on Separation for Scotland: Unanswered Questions.

- Claims that the Westminster Government would seize custody of the giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo post-independence.

- Claims by anti-independence campaign leader Alistair Darling that friends in the rest of the UK would become foreign. Alistair Darling JP Mackintosh lecture: “Apart from meaning that your friends in Wales, your family in England and your workmates from Northern Ireland will, effectively and overnight, become foreigners."

- AnasSarwar has claimed that in an independent Scotland we wouldn’t have access to our favourite television shows or current affairs programming. “What programmes are under threat and would not be available in a separate Scotland after the break-up of the BBC? There will be no “Strictly Come Dancing", “Frozen Planet", “Holby City", “Match of the Day", “Doctor Who", “News at 10" or “Question Time". I will not read out the entire list as it is endless."

- According to Ian Davidson MP and Michael Kelly, former Labour Councillor and Lord Provost of Glasgow, individual constituencies could stay part of the UK if Scotland voted for independence. Writing in the Scotsman, Michael Kelly said: “He is arguing that, no matter the outcome of the national vote, those constituencies that vote No be allowed to remain part of the United Kingdom. However, based on past local election results, it is not fantasy to envisage a scenario where a peculiar coincidence of widely varying turnouts and patterns of voting resulted in, say, the whole of the west of Scotland – Glasgow, North and South Lanarkshire, East and West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire and Ayrshire – voting No while Yes squeezed out an overall national majority. The same thing might happen in Edinburgh and its hinterland, or Aberdeen. If this were to be the result in any significant part of Scotland, both geographically and economically the political leaders in those areas would certainly demand that the situation be reviewed."

- Lord Caithness suggested that the northernmost Scottish Isles and Rockall be ruled from London in the event of independence.

- A Tory MP says that an independent Scotland would face an economic crisis similar to Greece. He said: "A separate Scotland simply wouldn't have been able to survive the global banking crisis on its own…Had it been separate it would now be heading the way of Ireland and Greece."

- In a press release, dated on December 27th, the Scottish Tories suggested that independence would increase the number of sick days taken by public sector workers – on the basis that there were fewer absences during the two-week period of the Olympics, when compared with the same period last year. Scottish Conservative deputy leader, Jackson Carlaw said: “This is firm evidence that the UK team’s success in London had a real impact on people in Scotland…the signs from these figures are people enjoy being part of a successful, productive United Kingdom."
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