Better Together challenged on blueprint for Scotland

The SNP have sought to throw down the gauntlet to the Better Together Campaign by challenging them to produce their own blueprint for a future Scotland.

The SNP have sought to throw down the gauntlet to the Better Together Campaign by challenging them to produce their own blueprint for a future Scotland.

Speaking to a packed room at St Andrews University yesterday, deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon challenged opponents of independence “to publish their equivalent of Scotland’s Future”, the document published in November by the SNP as the prospectus for an independent Scotland.

She continued:

“Doing so will involve them admitting to some grim possibilities – which no doubt explains their reluctance. It is estimated, for example, that up to 100,000 more children in Scotland will be living in poverty by 2020 if we follow the policy path Westminster is on.

“What will the implications be for Scottish families of the £25 billion of additional cuts in public spending being announced by the chancellor today?

“The inconvenient truths facing our opponents simply can’t be allowed to stand in the way of the people of Scotland making a genuinely informed choice.

“Scotland’s Future your guide to an independent Scotland is now out there for people to read, scrutinise and judge. We need the same clarity and depth of detail from the other side, so that this debate can be taken out of the hands of politicians and put firmly where it belongs – into the hands of the Scottish people.”

Ms Sturgeon also urged Labour members and supporters to join the campaign for independence, arguing that it would be completely within the “home rule traditions” of the labour movement.

The speech came as the SNP produced polling which suggested that 70 per cent of Scots would like those arguing for a ‘no’ vote in September’s referendum to publish their detailed plans for the future of Scotland.

Not to be outdone, however, Better Together yesterday also released survey data collected on its behalf by YouGov suggesting that  61 per cent of Scottish voters support devolution within the UK, including 32 per cent who support further powers for the Scottish Parliament.

Just 30 per cent of those polled favoured independence. It found also that 35 per cent of those who voted for Alex Salmond in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election support devolution rather than separating from the UK.

Responding to the deputy first minister’s speech, a spokesperson for Better Together said:

“The SNP are the ones saying that we should take the risky step of leaving the UK, however they cannot even answer the most basic questions like what currency we would use if we go it alone. People understand that devolution inside the UK works for Scotland. We have the best of both worlds.

“Our Scottish Parliament allows us to make decisions on the areas that matter most like health, education and childcare, and we get the strength and security of being part of one of the world’s biggest economies. Why should we trade the success of devolution for the risk and uncertainty of independence?”

On the attempts to woo Labour supporters, a spokesperson for Scottish Labour commented:

“Perhaps she would be better trying to persuade her own voters rather than trying to rewrite the history of the Labour movement, which has always rejected the Nationalists’ politics of division and grievance.”

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