Opinion

Are We Better Together?

Alistair Darling MP is the Chair of Better Together, the “No” campaign in the Scottish Independence referendum. He was formerly the Chancellor of the Exchequer, at the time of the global banking crisis.  To read more from Better Together, you can visit their website at http://www.bettertogether.net

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I believe that Scotland is stronger and better as part of the United Kingdom. By working together with people all across our isles we can achieve so much more than we could apart.

Working together is the core message of our campaign. Tackling injustice, poverty and inequality doesn’t stop at Carlisle. I care about preventing unemployment in Glasgow but I also care about working people in Grimsby and Glamorgan.’Looking out for each other, regardless of where people are born, is the Scottish way.

With over 800,000 Scots living down south we all care about what happens in the rest of the United Kingdom. Whether it’s a sister in Newcastle, a brother in Blackpool or a friend in London, the idea of breaking away from our loved ones and building borders between us makes no sense to the majority of people in Scotland.

Recently the steel workers trade union Community became the latest union to back Scotland staying in the UK. They argued that only by working together across the whole of the United Kingdom can we make progress on fighting injustice and reducing poverty.

They are right. Scotland has always been an outward looking and welcoming country. But now the SNP want us to turn our backs on friends and family in the rest of the United Kingdom. There is nothing positive about creating division and building barriers rather than working together for the greater good.

The United Kingdom, with Scotland at its heart, has achieved so much.

Together we created the NHS, the BBC and the welfare state.

People from across the United Kingdom came together as part of our Armed Forces to defeat the Nazis and prevent genocide in Kosovo.

Workers in East Kilbride, through the Department for International Development, administer billions of pounds of aid and support to the Third World on behalf of the whole of the United Kingdom.

Campaigners and trade unionists throughout the United Kingdom worked side by side to argue successfully for a National Minimum Wage.

Why would we want to put these achievements at risk by separating Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom?

There are strong economic reasons for Scotland staying in the United Kingdom. Pooling the resources of more than 60 million people, rather than just over 5 million people in Scotland, allows us to spread the burden and share rewards.

The SNP have completely failed to answer the legitimate questions that people are concerned about – on the Pound, pensions, welfare, jobs, savings and so much more.

But there are equally strong emotional arguments for staying together.

Andy Murray’s spectacular Wimbledon victory brought the whole nation together. Just as during the Olympics last year people across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland sat on the edge of their sofas, and sometimes hid behind them, cheering on one of the UK’s own to sporting greatness.

Although he was born in Scotland, trained in Spain and now lives in England, he was representing all of us in the United Kingdom. The Saltires and Union flags flying together on Murray Mount symbolised this sense of togetherness.

I am proud to be Scottish and proud to be British. Like the majority of people in Scotland I don’t want to choose between the two.

The ties that bind Scotland to the rest of the United Kingdom are deep and long lasting. I love my country and want to see us fulfil our potential. That is why I am so passionate about Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom. We are stronger and better together.

Alistair Darling MP, Chair
Better Together
http://www.bettertogether.net

To read the Yes side of the debate visit: “Why a Yes Vote is Vital”

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