100 days: campaigns gear up for final push

Posted on 09/06/2014 by

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One hundred days and counting …

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Both sides in the Scottish independence debate are today marking the milestone of 100 days to go in the referendum campaign. Yes Scotland campaigners say that the momentum is with them and that poll gaps are narrowing but the Better Together campaign says the campaign for independence is ‘running out of time’.

The referendum will be held on 18 September, with voters asked the straightforward  Yes/No question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

Opinion polls consistently suggest that the “No” campaign is still ahead, but the “Yes” campaign claims the gap has significantly narrowed over recent months – and, crucially, many people have said they have still to make up their minds.

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The nationalists are running out of arguments and running out of time, Alistair Darling, the leader of Better Together, said this morning. The former Chancellor was speaking at the Better Together event marking 100 campaign days to go until the referendum vote in September.

He said that the strong, positive offer of further powers for Scotland by the three main parties backing a No vote means the ground has shifted under the nationalist case for breaking up the UK.

The Glasgow event featured messages from ordinary Scots making their 100 day pledge – a commitment to do what they can over the next 100 days to make sure Scotland stays in the UK.

The Better Together leader went on to say that the choice facing the people of Scotland isn’t one between Scotland and Britain or change and the status quo: the choice is between two competing Scottish visions of Scotland’s future.

Alistair Darling told supporters: “Our opponents have spent months trying – and failing – to come up with evidence to support their goal of separation. And now with just one hundred days of campaigning left the nationalists are running out of arguments – and they are running out of time.

The choice on September 18 will not be between Scotland and Britain. It will be a choice between two competing Scottish visions of Scotland’s future.

“And something fundamental has changed in that choice since I launched our campaign two years ago. At that time some of those who were still undecided saw the referendum as a choice between change and the status quo. Now – with 100 days to go – the terms of trade have changed. And with it the ground has shifted under – and against – our nationalist opponents.

“For it is now clear that a No vote will bring more powers to Scotland within the UK. Last week, the Scottish Conservatives produced their proposals for the enhanced powers of the Scottish Parliament. All three main Scottish parties backing a No vote now have broadly similar proposals in place.

“There is much that divides us on other issues. But on the constitution – the framework within which legislation is made – we are all now pretty much on the same page.

“And that leads me logically to my 100 day challenge.

“I want to use these 100 days not to see Scotland divided further but to bring together most of us in this nation around a common vision of Scotland leading the United Kingdom after September 18 – not Scotland leaving the United Kingdom.

“I want to use these 100 days to plan for Scotland’s positive, possibility-rich future as part of the United Kingdom with substantially enhanced powers for the Scottish Parliament.

“It is a vision that the overwhelming majority of us want. And so when voters go to the polls on September 18, I want every voter to understand that within the United Kingdom change and progress is coming to Scotland, under-pinned by the commitments of all three parties.

“We will be offering the guarantee of a constitutional future for Scotland which corresponds with what the great majority of Scots have told us they want.”

However Yes Scotland believes the country needs more than concessions from Westminster and argues that, to reach it’s full potential, Scotland must take control of it’s own destiny.

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Yes Scotland today urged its volunteers and supporters to make every one of the next 100 days count as the nation heads towards its day of destiny on September 18.

Chief Executive Blair Jenkins paid tribute to the hundreds of thousands of volunteers and supporters who have built the largest grassroots movement in Scottish political history. And he appealed to them to make an even bigger push to help the independence campaign cross the winning line on Referendum Day.

He said: “In only 100 days from now we will be presented with the greatest opportunity our nation will ever have to create the kind of country we all know Scotland can and should be. It is a prize that that we must do everything in our power to secure for the people of Scotland.

  • In only 100 days from now we will be presented with the greatest opportunity our nation will ever have to create the kind of country we all know Scotland can and should be
  • We have the wealth, the wisdom and the will to create a fairer and better country, where all who live and work here
  • There has never been a country better equipped or better placed to become independent

“To every one of our hard-working supporters I want to say an enormous thank you for your hard work, dedication and determination for getting us to this point – but we still have much to do and I know that with your continued support, enthusiasm and tremendous industry we can, we should and, indeed, we must do it for Scotland and for future generations.”

Mr Jenkins said that during two years of campaigning as head of the Yes movement his belief that Scotland will vote Yes has never wavered.

And he revealed that voters are moving from ‘undecided’ to Yes at the rate of more than two to one compared to those declaring for No. Research for Yes Scotland shows that for every 10 people who have moved from the undecided middle ground since the autumn, seven have become Yes voters, while three have shifted to No.

Mr Jenkins said: “The campaign is well positioned for success in September. Our people are our most powerful asset, and in these final weeks we will take full advantage of this strength.

“We have the wealth, the wisdom and the will to create a fairer and better country, where all who live and work here share the benefit of our nation’s prosperity and vast resources.

“We are a more prosperous economy than the UK, France or Japan, but we need control of economic and welfare powers to make sure that the wealth of Scotland works for all the people.

“I know there are many people who remain to be convinced and it is by talking with them in millions of conversations that we will win them over to Yes.

“Over the next 100 days I appeal to every single person who believes in Yes to make it their business to talk with and persuade those who remain undecided to come our way.”

As a symbol of the strength and depth of the Yes movement and to mark the 100-days-to-go ‘milestone’, 100 Yes Scotland volunteers gathered in Edinburgh where they formed a gigantic human YES and displayed 100 reasons for voting Yes.

The breadth, scale and diversity of the Yes campaign has created an interest in politics never seen before in Scotland, said Yes Scotland’s Operations Manager Sarah-Jane Walls.

She said: “In terms of energy, positivity, optimism and ideas for Scotland’s future we simply cannot be caught and we are convinced that with that vital support we can continue building momentum. We know that more and more people are moving to Yes and that many remain open to independence. We have the economic strength to be a successful and vibrant independent country and Yes is an opportunity simply too good to pass up.

“There has never been a country better equipped or better placed to become independent and over the next 100 days we will be redoubling our efforts to spread that good and compelling message.”

Ms Walls said it was clear that the referendum campaign comprised two very different narratives about Scotland’s future.

“The Yes story is about creating a social and economic model that matches our aspirations and priorities for a fairer, more progressive, outward looking nation -where we can craft the policies we need to tackle the scourge of child poverty, and narrow the gap between the richest and poorest in our society.

“By contrast, what No offers is a story based on doubt, fear and a lack of confidence in our people and our country.

“On the one hand the Naysayers accept we have the wealth and means to be a successful independent country, but at the same time urge us to forgo that opportunity because there are too many risks. The truth is that the risk to Scotland’s progress as a better, fairer and more prosperous country stems from a No vote and sticking with a Westminster system that simple does not work for us.

“Over the next 100 days we will continue to counter Project Fear by giving people the facts in conversations that will take place in every corner of the country, in the locations where people want to talk in the company of people they like and trust, in their own communities. This is the underlying strength of the Yes campaign and with the continued help from our supporters we will continue to build on that over the next three and a half months.”

One hundred days to decide Scotland’s future …

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