By Dave Sherry
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Independence referendum – No campaign gets nasty as Scots prepare to vote

This article is over 9 years, 9 months old
Issue 2419
Protesting against Tory David Cameron outside the CBI dinner in Glasgow

Protesting against Tory David Cameron outside the CBI dinner in Glasgow (Pic: Josh Brown)

Two hundred people protested in Glasgow outside a closed meeting of the CBI bosses’ organisation last week. David Cameron had chosen to address them rather than talk to Scottish voters.

Cameron also refused to debate with Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond. In the words of one prominent Scottish journalist, that made the British prime minister look “like a pusillanimous absentee landlord”.

Meanwhile Alistair Darling, leader of the unionist Better Together campaign, dubbed Project Fear, continued his efforts to frighten Scottish voters.

Darling claimed that independence would cost a million jobs in Scotland ahead of launching a new poster campaign in Greenock on Monday.

The No camp is desperately trying to regain ground as momentum continues to build for a Yes vote. Marking 18 days until the referendum Better Together’s new posters encouraged Scots to vote no if they loved their family.

Another read, “We love our kids. We’re saying no thanks”.


Not surprisingly, many independence supporters wondered if this was a spoof.

Last week was an unmitigated disaster for the unionists. The Yes campaign is winning the arguments door to door, at public meetings and on social media. 

Attempts to keep playing on the risks and uncertainties may not be enough for the No campaign. People in Scotland are getting sick and tired of the lack of any kind of positive message for why they should stick with the union.

One of the new Better Together campaign adverts

One of the new Better Together campaign adverts

The best they had to offer in a recent TV debate was the Tories’ slave labour Work Programme. 

They argue that Scotland would be “Skintland”—but Britain’s biggest “subsidy junkies” are the banks. Alistair Darling has lined up with the Tories on a series of issues—the currency, covering up for the privatisation of the NHS and defending Trident nuclear weapons.

It is vital we step up our activity in the last two weeks and fight hard for every vote on the housing estates, in colleges, schools and in workplaces. 

A month ago the astute political commentator Iain MacWhirter feared defeat for the Yes campaign. In a major feature in the Sunday Herald last week he confirmed what Socialist Worker has argued throughout the campaign.

“A Yes victory is now absolutely possible,” he wrote. We may yet see “the greatest earthquake in British constitutional history”.

“The only question is whether this extraordinary grass-roots campaign—the first truly ‘bottom-up’ political movement I have had the privilege to witness—really has the will to press home its advantage.”

Let’s do it!

The patronising ad

The patronising ad

Sexist ads spark anger

by Sarah Bates

The Better Together campaign had egg on its face again last week with the launch of an ad campaign aimed at women.

The TV and Youtube ads, called “The woman who made up her mind”, have been a complete failure.

The video prompted dozens of parody videos and thousands tweeting under the #patronisingBTlady hashtag.

The advert shows a woman sat in a kitchen. It implies that working class women are uninterested in the referendum, unwilling to research the arguments and unable to recall the first minister’s name.

In reality women have been leading the campaign for Scottish independence.

They have focused on key issues such as the welfare state, child poverty and scrapping Trident.

Instead of tackling these arguments, Better Together has patronised women and implied that their role as mothers should be the key deciding factor in the vote.

The referendum will be won or lost on the class-based arguments that the yes campaign has been focusing on.

Vote Yes and eat your cereal.

Nigel Farage and Ukip fan the flames

Nigel Farage, defender of the British union and leader of the racist Ukip party, plans to visit Scotland to campaign against independence.

Farage is reportedly planning his first visit ahead of a “British Together” march organised by the anti-Catholic Orange Lodge.

The day before the referendum Farage and Ukip are to stage a “Battle of Britain Day” in Grangemouth.

According to a Ukip Scotland circular this is to be a “special impact mass media event”.

Previous visits to Scotland by Farage have drawn hundreds of anti-racist protesters.

Cops waste cash on illegal search

Police Scotland are using stop and search procedures with no legal basis. The non-statutory searches have been banned in England and Wales. In Scotland they cost almost £10 million last year.

Over 640,000 statutory and non-statutory searches were carried out in the first 12 months of Scotland’s new police force since April last year. The rate is nine times higher than that of the New York Police Department.

No whining over bias and an egg

The Better Together campaign claims to speak for the majority—but it doesn’t half like a good whinge.

After a TV debate on independence last week, No campaigners complained about “bias” in the audience. Then prominent No campaigner and Labour MP Jim Murphy suspended his 100-day tour of Scotland. This followed what he described as a “sinister” attack—he was pelted with an egg.

Support for Yes outside Scotland

Support for Scottish independence isn’t limited to Scotland. Pro-independence campaigners from England and Wales were set to head north this weekend to help the Yes campaign. They plan to take part in a mass canvassing event along with Scottish Asians for Independence, Yes Scotland and Radical Independence Campaign activists.

Marxism in Scotland 2014. After the referendum: which way forward for the left? 
Saturday 11 October, 10am-6pm Govanhill Baths Community Trust, 99 Calder Street, Glasgow G42 7RA 
Hosted by Socialist Workers Party
email: [email protected]

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