Alistair Darling has launched the Better Together campaign against Scottish independence - warning there will be “no way back” if Scotland votes for separation.
In a speech at Edinburgh Napier University, he said “the choice we make will be irrevocable”, adding:
“If we decide to leave the United Kingdom, there is no way back. It is like asking us to buy a one-way ticket to send our children to a deeply uncertain destination…
“We can have the best of both worlds: a strong Scottish Parliament and a key role in a strong and secure United Kingdom. The truth is Scotland’s future, our future and our families’ future will be economically, politically and socially stronger as a partner in the United Kingdom.
“The truth is Scotland’s future, our future and our families’ future will be economically, politically and socially stronger as a partner in the United Kingdom.
“The truth is that this coming together of family, friends, ideas, institutions and identities is a strength, not a weakness. It is an ideal worth celebrating.”
Earlier, the former chancellor told the Today Programme:
“You can’t scare people out of it and my argument isn’t that Scotland couldn’t go it alone – I mean most countries can – and we would be quite heavily dependent and exposed to the fortunes of north sea oil if we did that, but you could do it. My argument is actually what’s best for Scotland?
“We are part of a social union, underpinned by an economic and political union – all parts mesh together.
“Friends, neighbours, families – across borders – share ties that bind us together. What does this mean for us? It means that after centuries of common endeavour we should value those ties that bind us together and celebrate the diversity that exists around us.”
• MPs accuse SNP of “biased” independence question 8 May 2012
The Better Together campaign will distribute half a million leaflets promoting the social union between Scotland and England, highlighting the one-in-five workers employed by English firms in Scotland, in addition to the many Scots working for the UK government in places such as the Department for International Development offices in East Kilbride.
The campaign will also point to the 800,000 Scots who live and work in England and Wales “without the need for papers or passports”. The 500,000 leaflets will be distributed at train stations across Scotland, from Fort William to Dumfries. In total, a series of 10 leaflets will be produced looking at different areas where Scotland benefits from being part of the United Kingdom.
The campaign website – www.bettertogether.net – is now live. It was built by Blue State Digital, who ran Barack Obama’s web campaigns. We will have more reaction to today’s launch later on Left Foot Forward.