The Scottish press’ verdict on the launch of the “Better Together” campaign


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Following the launch yesterday of the Better Together campaign to retain Scotland’s place at the heart of the union, the Scottish press is unanimously praising the approach it is taking.

better-togetherHowever, coverage has been tinged with calls for the campaign to outline an alternative vision for Scotland, particularly around what new powers Holyrood should enjoy.

In the Herald, whilst welcoming the heading of the campaign by Alistair Darling, a warning was made that the campaign needs to win both the emotional and intellectual arguments. In its editorial, the paper explained:

“Alistair Darling, recalled from his political back seat to front this pro-UK campaign, is a good choice for the job, not only because of his undoubted commitment to both Scotland and the UK but also because he is a well-respected political heavyweight, capable of taking on Alex Salmond .

“There is steel beneath that calm and apparently mild-mannered exterior. As a former chancellor, he is well-qualified to make the UK case on the economy, the area where this campaign is likely to be won or lost.

“Yesterday’s launch provided a solid start, avoiding the razzmatazz of the Yes Scotland event. Instead of a star-studded line-up, its focus was on the “quiet majority”.

“Mr Darling had a fine line to tread, both accentuating the positive reasons for staying within the United Kingdom, while implying the potential risk and uncertainty of going it alone. His emphasis was on what unites us – “the ties that bind us”: not merely friends and family, but institutions such as the NHS, the BBC , the Bank of England (founded by Scots) and the Army.

“And like the child who gives the address “Scotland, UK, Europe, The World”, he argues that being passionately Scottish and passionately British are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, his case is that we can be citizens on all these levels.

“He also asserts that Scotland’s membership of the UK provides clout on the world stage at every level from Britain’s impressive foreign aid budget to a seat on the UN Security Council. An independent Scotland could not match that clout.”

For the Scotsman meanwhile, it’s leader highlighted what it perceived to be a “gap in the unionist camp”, arguing that the campaign needs to set out what the future “shape” of Scotland should be. It noted:

As this is going to be a long, long campaign, it is important to learn the lesson of recent British and Scottish political history in terms of what attracts – and what repels – voters. It was perhaps expecting too much to see a sparkling sprint start to what will be a marathon but both sides have to realise how voters perceive their respective campaigns.


See also:

Darling launches campaign for the Union: ‘Better Together, united not divided’ 25 Jun 2012

Alistair Darling: An independent Scotland will weaken its strength in Brussels 20 Jun 2012

Salmond’s independence campaign lurches from one problem to another 19 Jun 2012

“Yes Scotland” campaign in chaos as fears spread of an SNP hijack 11 Jun 2012

Ed Miliband: The future of the UK is ‘too important’ to be decided only by Scotland 7 Jun 2012


“After yesterday, there continues to be a gap in the unionist campaign. This debate is about Scotland’s future, but it is unclear what shape the unionists propose devolution should have should they win the referendum vote.

“It is a gap which has to be filled, a lesson which can be learned from some recent constitutional history. Through the Conservative years in the 1980s and 1990s, the Tories were mystified why, according to the polls, devolution was an exceedingly low priority with the voters and yet seemed to cause them so much pain in elections.

“One interpretation of what they failed to understand is that the electorate, while primarily concerned about such matters as unemployment and the health service, increasingly viewed devolution as a barometer which could be used to judge how committed political parties were to Scotland. Since the Tories were opposed to devolution, many concluded they were not interested in Scotland and thus the Tory vote fell to extinction levels.

“The unionist parties risk repeating this history. True, they can point to the passage of the Scotland Act as the most significant piece of fiscal devolution that has happened since the Act of Union. But so little has been made of this constitutional development that the opportunity to gain political capital from it looks to have been lost. More is now needed.

“The best that can be said for the “no” campaign’s start was that it matched the “yes” launch for lack of lustre. The opportunity is still there to develop a story for Scotland’s future that will win hearts and minds.”

For the strongly pro-Labour Daily Record meanwhile it was the contrasts between the two campaign launches that got it excited. Its leader today argued:

“The contrast between Better Together, the pro-UK campaign which was launched yesterday, and Yes Scotland, the pro-independence bid which kicked off a month ago, could not be greater. The SNP-led campaign gave us plenty of glitz and showbiz glamour. Hollywood A-listers Brian Cox and Alan Cumming made speeches and there were video messages from the likes of Sir Sean Connery, the Proclaimers and Elaine C Smith.

“The audience at Edinburgh’s Cineworld cinema were even treated to Dougie Maclean singing Caledonia live on stage. There was no such razzmatazz from Better Together. Their supporters heard a thoughtful, measured speech from Alistair Darling and saw a video in which 40 ordinary Scots explained why they wanted to stay in the UK.

“The down-to-earth approach was quite deliberate. In a key passage, Darling said their campaign would ensure “the patriotism of the quiet majority will be heard alongside the voices of the committed few”. .

“No fuss, then. Just understated pride in being Scottish and British at the same time, and sensible arguments about why Scotland benefits from being in the UK. Darling was at pains to stress the positives. Scotland’s economic prospects and global reach will be so much better as part of the UK, he argued.

“The Better Together organisers have obviously learned the lessons of Labour’s recent election setbacks and steered well clear of silly scare stories. Of course Scotland could go it alone, Darling said, as if to spell it out. It just that we’re better off together with our neighbours and colleagues in the rest of the UK.”

 


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  • charles

    You lot at leftfootforward are delusional, Wee Eck would probably choke on his gruel but in laughter at the site of this lot jumping into bed together!
    Labour, libdems, and tory’s together!, shock horror, the yes vote is doomed!, doomed i tell you!!
    Then again, maybe not, the “Bitter Together” campaign is fooling no one. On most of the media forum’s, it’s being laughed at, ridiculed and indeed some posters even say that the site of that lot together have made it even easier for the public to vote yes!, keep up the good work :)

  • Gerard

    Yeah on all those non-partisan fora such as newsnetscotland?

    I think your labelling the union campaign ‘bitter’ is both juvenile and shows the inherent bitterness in your own ideology.

  • charles

    Ach grow a pair gerard!

    And if you think that it was laughed at in only newsnetscotland then you are just as delusional, numptie

  • charles

    Ps gerard, i’m not bitter in my own ideology, just want to see a fairer Scotland without all the unionist crap foisted on us and the scaremongering!
    Many other country’s have become independent, imperialism is dead, the commonwealth (lol) is dead, time for rule Britannia to be put to rest, simples really!

    Enjoy your delusion :)

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  • Gerard

    Charles you’re missing some big points.

    No-one has said Scotland can’t go on its own; that is why the campaign is by ‘Better Together’.

    Where is the scaremongering? I know nationalists love to claim any searching question directed at them is just scaremongering but the people of Scotland are getting tired of that old chestnut. We want answers and simply brushing off what the opponents of your view say as ‘scare stories’ tells me you simply have no answer or are afraid to say what you think in case the horses bolt.

    Sorry Charles but Scotland was the imperialist force we were not a colony.

    What you clearly fail to realise is that the union works to the benefit of all members. When we are doing well we help out the other parts of the UK that are struggling and vice versa. When we all succeed the results are magnified and when we all do poorly (as we do just now) we stand up better to the hits and take them together.

    The policies being advanced by the current UK government (and the Scottish government) are not the fault of the union; they are the fault of Labour (so people like me) not getting the correct message out there to achieve the support required to take a different path to the one the Tories, Lib Dems and SNP are following.

    As a nationalist you may be blinded by bitterness but as a socialist I am comforted by the co-operation within the union and the capacity for that co-operation to improve still further.

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  • Alexmissionary

    If you are a Socialist Gerard why are you supporting this lot? None of them are!!!

  • Anonymous

    Kill, kill, kill, kill…not bitter my ass.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Spammo-Twatbury/100002426967566 Spammo Twatbury

    Unionist newspapers in “praising Unionist campaign” shock!

  • Mr. Sensible

    This is in contrast to the increasing vacume within the ‘Yes’ campaign…

  • Wallace1298

    Bollocks!!
    You call yourself a Scot With pish like that?
    Scotland has been downtrodden by The English Parliament for century’s, in the last 50yrs it has had it’s Wealth!, cherry picked by those in wasteminster for far too long, your an idiot!!, i don’t even want to continue this debate with you because you are such a fucking idiot!, but i will, just to enlighten you?!!
    You hang on to the coattails of a band of thiefs that have no shame!!
    You give the SNP a bad name for colluding with others yet your party do exactly the same!!, hypocrites!!
    Awayandbeilyerheidnugget

    Let me tell you what the last labour government has done to Scotland!
    It has insured that Scotland will not run at a profit, when it was well in the black!
    It has insured that it’s son’s, uncles fathers, not forgetting their daughters, sisters and mums, will be fighter wars that are illegal!!

    And you give me BS about how much i am blinded by bitter nationalism?!, your a fudd, probably about 12 years old!
    you have no clue as to what is right and wrong, and all because of a Union that has well served it’s purpose!

    Socialism does not work!!, ask the russians about socialism, your a twat!
    Now go back to your keyboard and try and learn some things!, there is a wealth of knowledge at your finger tips, try and study it!!

    And PS
    You may find my tone abrupt but i just can’t help myself with such Stupidity!

  • charles

    Newsbot9, you can’t even join in on a debate when facts are laid at your feet!, your talking gibbirpish!
    My gawd man!, i gave you info about how my loyalty’s lay and my reason’s for, yet you still discounted them because they did not suit your agenda?!
    I have a sneaky suspicion that you are just a troll!

    There is no bitterness!, just clarity!, and if the people of Scotland put in charge the correct persons to run our country then hopefully!, that will be a catalyst for all!

  • Anonymous

    If course I’m not conforming to your views, so now you’re crying foul when I disagree with your clichés.

    There’s a reason you picked the words you did, even though you deny it.

    VERY bitter indeed.

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