Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has express her concern at the political direction of Westminster following UKIP’s success in last week’s local elections in England, where they increased their councillors from 8 to 144.
“This result has steered an already right-wing Government further to the right encouraging senior Tory backbenchers and Lords, as well as London Mayor Boris Johnson, to call for a quick EU exit. Instead of pursuing an alternative platform at Westminster, Labour are softening to a Tory agenda by failing to promise to undo the disastrous Welfare Reforms if they were ever to regain power and the Tories in turn are caving in to UKIP.
“It is a looming disaster and the danger of a No vote in Scotland’s independence referendum is there for all to see. Scotland’s 59 MPs will not determine the Government of the UK, they never have. It is impossible for 8.4 per cent of the UK population to dictate to the rest, and the electoral record shows that. Scotland’s fate will be decided outwith Scotland and the result could be Scotland isolated outside Europe under Tory Westminster control. What Scotland needs is to be independent in Europe with a Yes vote. It is becoming clearer that the only threat to Scotland’s membership of the EU, and investment in the Scottish economy, comes from Westminster and a No vote.
“Better Together scaremongering claims an Independent Scotland would be a new state outside of Europe. However, research by Professor Matt Qvortrup on the No campaign’s claims that the rest of the UK is entitled to all of the assets built up by all parts of the UK would mean that Scotland would be entitled to become independent without having to take on any of the UK’s debts.
“I suspect after a YES vote, Westminster would not wish to go down this road. Westminster wouldn’t want to be left to carry all of the debt without Scotland’s economic muscle – is actually the reason why, the day after a yes vote, the UK Government will be only too keen to strike a deal giving a fair share of both assets and liabilities. We would remain in Europe. We have been European Citizens for over 40 years and there is no mechanism or will to revoke our European Rights.
“Scotland faces a choice of two futures in 2014 – stick with Westminster and endure whatever Tory/UKIP monstrosity that emerges from the 2015 General Election, or taking control of our future and give ourselves the right that every other modern democracy has to be governed by the party it elected.
“A recent YouGov poll shows that 47 per cent of people in Scotland would be more likely to vote Yes, or already plan to vote Yes, if they can persuaded that Scotland will be fairer and wealthier compared to the UK. I believe that Scotland, governed from home, in our own Parliament, holding the powers to shape a nation can deliver our ambitions of fairness and prosperity. That is the message I will be delivering to the people I meet in East Kilbride.
“I understand the concerns some people have about independence but there are some really important questions for those campaigning for the status quo. Will the UK be a member of the European Union, or even of the single market? How much more means testing will be introduced into the Westminster benefits system? How many more children in Scotland will live in poverty by as a result of Westminster welfare cuts? How much more money would be spent by Scottish taxpayers on keeping UK Trident nuclear weapons on the Clyde?
“My concern is that with a No vote we are condemning ourselves to ever greater cuts in public spending, a welfare state dismantled beyond recognition, people working longer for less, higher levels of child poverty, a growing gap between rich and poor, billions more wasted on nuclear weapons, and no real prospect of any more powers for our parliament. That is the real gamble over Scotland’s future.
“Instead of Tory governments that we don’t vote for, a Yes vote will ensure Scotland will gets the government we do vote for. Governments which pursue fairness and prosperity for all its citizens. I believe Scotland will chose this better option when asked to vote next year and we can be a beacon for progressive policies across these islands and throughout the world.”
Notes to Editors:
At the last European election in 2009, UKIP moved into second place UK-wide in their share of the vote – while in Scotland they came last behind the Tories, Lib Dems and Greens. UKIP lost their deposit in every seat they contested in Scotland at the 2010 UK general election and in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election.
People much prefer the Scottish Government to the UK Government The 2011 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey – published December 2011 – found that over 71% of people trust the Scottish Government to act in Scotland’s best interests, up from 61 per cent in 2010. This compared to just 18% who trust the UK Government.
People in Scotland are more supportive of the EU Ipsos-Mori – when asked in February 2013 how they would vote in a referendum on whether Britain should stay in or leave the EU, just over half of Scots said they would vote to stay in (53%), compared with a third who said they would vote to leave (34%). This is in contrast to November 2012 data on attitudes in England, where half said they would vote to leave the EU compared with 42% who would vote to stay in.
UK’s vote on Europe ‘puts off investors’ http://www.scotsman.com/business/economics/uk-s-vote-on-europe-puts-off-investors-1-2926498
Westminster row over Europe grows: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/10051740/Tories-in-revolt-over-EU-referendum.html
SNP MPs to block move for early EU vote http://www.scotsman.com/scotland-on-sunday/snp-mps-to-block-move-for-early-eu-vote-1-2926560
The details of YouGov poll finding commissioned by the SNP can be seen here: http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/c288p3zcpl/YG-Archive-SNP-results-030513-currency.pdf