Scott bullish ahead of referendum meeting
Voters in the isles will overwhelmingly reject independence, according to isles MSP Tavish Scott.
Speaking a month before Scotland goes to the polls to decide its constitutional future, Mr Scott said he was confident the electorate would reject the Yes campaign and the SNP’s desire for an independent Scotland.
Mr Scott is due to speak to an audience in the Whiteness and Weisdale hall tonight as part of his Ferry to the Referendum series of open meetings in the run-up to 18th September.
Speaking ahead of the meeting he said people were worried about the prospect of independence and “all the uncertainty that would bring”.
“My intention has been to create an opportunity for folk across the islands to listen to the argument for Shetland and Scotland being better in the UK,” he said.
“I think the majority of Shetland folk made up their minds a long time ago. They’re not voting for independence. I’ve fought enough elections to know where the population is on fundamental issues.”
He described as a “fundamental miscalculation” of First Minister Alex Salmond and the Yes campaign the notion that young people – including, for the first time at the polls, 16 and 17-year-olds – would buy into the nationalist message.
His experience, he said, was “actually quite the opposite”.
“Not just from Shetland but across the country.”
Mr Scott said there was “no doubt” the Scottish parliament would enjoy greater powers in the event of a no vote.
“That will be welcomed by people across the political spectrum. I suspect it will be welcomed by plenty of people in the nationalists as well.”
He strongly rejected reports that Westminster may reign in powers and effectively renege on any power sharing agreement in the event of a no vote.
“That’s exactly what Alex Salmond said about the Labour party in 1997. He said Labour couldn’t deliver pizza in 1997, and Tony Blair and Donald Dewar delivered the Scottish parliament.
“So, if you listen to Salmond and the nationalists, that the Westminster system has never delivered anything, well, actually, it’s delivered the Scottish parliament with all the powers over health and education that are there.
“It’s also delivered the reforms carried through in the Calman Commission, which is the new Scotland Act, which will introduce more tax responsibilities that will have to be decided on by the Scottish Parliament in 2016.
“The nationalists … never get behind the case for more powers, and that’s what I think is so depressing about nationalism. In the past it’s always been the progressive parties … who have worked hardest to make things happen.
“I think what will happen after the no vote on 18th September is that the sensible nationalists – and there are lots of sensible nationalists – will get behind the campaign to strengthen the Scottish parliament within the United Kingdom and we can do that on a cross-party basis.”