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​Unionists rally as Scottish independence mood gains ground

Published time: April 22, 2014 08:04
Edited time: August 26, 2014 17:18
Pro-independence supporters wave the Saltire as they gather in Edinburgh on September 21, 2013 for a march and rally in support of a yes vote in the Scottish Referendum to be held in September 2014. (AFP Photo / Andy Buchanan)

Pro-independence supporters wave the Saltire as they gather in Edinburgh on September 21, 2013 for a march and rally in support of a yes vote in the Scottish Referendum to be held in September 2014. (AFP Photo / Andy Buchanan)

Opponents of Scottish independence speak of pensions being lost in the potential separation from the UK. It comes after a recent poll showed that the gap between Yes and No votes is narrowing, with unionists losing ground.

The landmark ICM survey revealed Sunday a decline of the No vote from 46 per cent to 42 percent over the past month. At the same time the Yes vote remained steady at 39 percent. With the “don’t knows” excluded from the count, the No vote stands at 52 percent, just four percent ahead of the Yes vote.

It’s the highest level of support for Scotland’s independence since last August, and with only five months remaining till the September 18 referendum, the poll opened to criticism the campaigning of those wishing to keep the union in place.

"These are very encouraging polls and show the yes campaign has the momentum because it is more positive and more trusted than the no campaign,” said Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond.

"In contrast, the No campaign is in a panic because they are seen as negative and unbelievable,” he added, saying the campaign was stuck in a "rut of negativity."

As the poll results were published, in emerged that Labour is planning to step up campaigning for keeping Scotland part of the United Kingdom.

The shadow Scottish secretary, Margaret Curran, said “This week we will be saying loud and clear that the best prospects for a stronger Scotland lie with Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom.”

Gordon Brown (AFP Photo / Aamir Qureshi)

The effort is to start Tuesday with a speech by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown in Glasgow that will focus on pensions and benefits, which Scotland would lose if it broke off the UK. He is also to mention some 600,000 jobs, which are either provided by UK-owned companies or depend on access to UK market.

Brown’s Tuesday address would be his first in support of the cross-party union campaign Better Together, which is headed by Alistair Darling, his former chancellor. British media speculated, that Brown’s personal bad relations with Darling was a major reason why he previously distanced himself from Better Together and only spoke through his party’s United with Labour campaign.

Other big figures in the Labour team will also be campaigning for the union, with Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet holding a meeting in Glasgow on Friday.

Meanwhile the dispute about the referendum is causing a split between the Confederation of British Industry, a leading UK business federation, and some of its members. Three weeks ago it announced its pro-union position, while on Friday it registered as a No campaigner.

The latest move caused a rush of resignations from CBI members, which maintained a neutral stance on the referendum. Over the weekend Scottish Enterprise and broadcaster STV quit while on Monday three of Scotland's leading universities – Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen universities – joined the exodus.

"While the University of Edinburgh hosts debate from all sides in the discussion around Scottish independence, we have a strictly neutral position on the issue as an institution. We have therefore withdrawn from membership of CBI Scotland while they are officially backing one side in that debate," the university said in a statement.

Many pro-independence members of CBI resigned right after it announced its official pro-union position.

Comments (45)


Joseph Swanson 01.05.2014 11:04

Yeah Scotland!!!!


Craig Smith 27.04.2014 20:27

What people need to realise is that if Scotland had had its way in the last general election there would be a Labour government in charge. Instead we have David Cameron and the rest of his useless Tory half-witts, further proof that Scotland and the Scottish people are at the bottom of the priorities for the English dominated sham of a Parliament in Westminister.


Sue Jones 23.04.2014 21:14

I would suggest the silly Yorkshire man does some research on Scotland he stated Scotland has inferior education as apposed to England aye in your dreams!! reading your comment it's obvious your education system doesn't work to well . FYI the people of Scotland have paid more into the UK treasury than they got back in 2011/12 we paid in 9.9% in taxes and received 9.3% back in spending 9.9% was paid by 8.4% of the UK population read up on it don't make yourself look stupid with your superior education. Roll on 18.09.14when we the people of Scotland will vote a massive YES and will build OUR country up to what we want

View all comments (45)
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