Profile will increase, says Mullay

Pro-union campaigners say they are playing the “long game” ahead of September’s referendum on Scottish independence.

Representatives from the local Better Together group insist they will become more vocal as time ticks by towards this year’s vote on the country’s constitutional future.

Maurice Mullay:
Maurice Mullay: “We don’t want people to get sick and fed up of it.”

Member Maurice Mullay has dismissed claims the group are acting in a reactive – rather than pro-active – manner as debate rages on whether or not Scotland should remain within the UK.

His comments follow calls this week by isles MP Alistair Carmichael for people to engage in the constitutional debate.

Mr Mullay insisted there was merit in biding time. He referred to the recent public Yes Shetland meet­ing in Hamnavoe which attracted around a dozen people.

Mr Mullay said Better Together would hold events highlighting perceived benefits of staying in the union as the referendum draws closer. Those, he said, would present a positive argument to staying part of the UK.

“We’re not exactly trying to rush at things. We’ve still got some time to go. Frankly we’re trying to main­tain a steady pace and we’ll build up to it later on rather than try and overdo it initially.

“There are plans – I won’t say we can give you a detailed programme at the moment, but there are various things being looked at.

“We will have a higher profile as the months go by. We will be build­ing up to September. There’s still an awful lot of discussion to be had about what the proposals for an independent Scotland might be.

“We don’t want people to get sick and fed up with it and put them off voting altogether. The view we’re getting from the public is that we are playing it sensibly and at a reason­ably logical pace.”

Mr Mullay admitted he had heard arguments the Better Together camp­aign had been too reactive.

“But our noses haven’t been put out of joint by the fact that a Yes campaign meeting only attracted 12 people. Is there such huge merit in these things at this stage?”

Mr Mullay said “facts” missing from the SNP’s white paper on indep­endence needed to be estab­lished. He dismissed the “project fear” description of the pro-union camp­aign group, insisting voters only sought clear information of what separation would mean.

“It’s the details and the informa­tion that’s critical – as well as whether we’re going to be in the union, what currency we’re going to be using and all these questions. There are a huge number of un­answered questions at the present time.”

One thing which may play into the hands of Yes campaigners is the increasing gap between rich and poor, the growing propensity for food banks to appear in communities and a Westminster government ac­cu­sed of being top-heavy with elite, privately educated MPs who are out of touch with the real world.

Mr Mullay said: “Certainly, as far as the percentage of rich and poor are concerned, there are going to be a whole lot more poorer people if independence were to come our way.

“It’s not fear, it’s uncertainty over what’s coming out from the SNP and the Yes campaign at the moment. It’s a wish list rather than a realistic assessment of how Scotland is going to be run – what currency are we going to use? how are our pensions going to be affected? what’s going to happen to mortgages?

“There are fundamental issues that are completely unknown at the moment.”

Yes Shetland spokesman Brian Nugent said the pro-independence campaign group were attempting to answer calls for more information.

“Obviously there is lots of stuff on the internet, but we are going out to meet people. We have been at the Toll Clock Shopping Centre and we are going to hold meetings in local areas. We think we are answering a need.”

Asked whether there was a lack of information he said a lot of details “can’t really be firmed up” until there are negotiations between the governments in Edinburgh and London.

“Better Together keep pointing out there’s vague stuff, but a lot of it is down to the fact that Westminster will not negotiate.”

Referring to the project fear label he insisted: “Project fear is not a name that we gave Better Together. Better Together gave themselves that name. That’s what they called themselves internally in their Glasgow offices, and it was let slip and became public.

“If you want to compare the information I would suggest they go and have a look at the two columns on the currency and the economy that were in The Shetland Times (21st February).

“They can see which one is trying to give information, and which one is just trying to instil worries.”
Better Together may have been bolstered this week by a MORI poll report which showed only 32 per cent of respondents believed Scotland should be independent.

Fifty-seven per cent disagreed with the SNP’s flagship policy, while 11 per cent were undecided. Mr Nugent said it may have been a “rogue” poll.

“The polls have been tending to increase the percentage for Yes. In the end, the only poll that will matter is the one on 18th September.”


Add Your Comment
  • Brian Smith

    • March 7th, 2014 12:12


  • Sandy McMillan

    • March 7th, 2014 23:22

    The only way forward for both Shetland and Scotland is with the YES vote, we have to get rid of Westminster.

    • Neil Anderson

      • March 8th, 2014 21:34

      With fiances based on a finite resource !

      No chance the yes vote will win !

  • Vernon York

    • May 7th, 2014 23:05

    I have recently come across an article on a website with purported to show that smaller countries are richer than larger countries. You may be interested in my reply . Especially in respect of the Shetland Islanders.
    Geography has much more to do with the riches of smaller nations. The Maldives , Cyprus and the Seychelles, and the West Indies, for example, are not particularly rich. So the graph given, herein, which purports to show that small countries are richer than larger countries, is what is known, in the trade of disinformation, as perversion by selection, i.e. do not select those figures that contradict the theory you are trying to get people to believe !

    In the case of Luxembourg it exploits its surrounding neighbours, and creates tax and legal benefits . These are snapped up by international firms who wish to do business just across its borders on all of the bearings of the compass. In the case of Scotland, unfortunately, geography is against it. It could be argued that the Scot’s could create a favourable tax regime, so that multi-nationals could exploit the larger population, of the rest of the United Kingdom. Regrettably for Scotland it is very doubtful that they will be allowed to join the EU. However, there are two scenarios, both of which are not good for Scotland:-

    The’ First’, Scotland is out of the EU and rUK is in it. The Treaty of Rome will insist that there are border controls on the rUK side and import duties on incoming goods from Scotland. Thus, Scots manufactured goods will cost more than can be brought from EU sources. The Treaty will also prevent Scot’s migration South. .

    The ‘Second’ scenario is that rUK votes to leave the EU , but Scotland manages to join the EU. In the event the same principle will apply, only this time customs controls and immigration controls will be on the Scottish side of the border. But Scotland has a very small population, so the loss of that market will not overly affect products and services produced in rUK.

    Neither scenario is attractive for businesses either in Scotland now, or those looking for a nation to relocate to.

    In my opinion the whole Scottish referendum is something of a big joke, lead by people who did not have a clue what independence really meant to Scotland. Indeed, its all wrapped up in an asset grab for North Sea oil, which mostly belongs to the Shetland Isles, anyway. So effectively they expect, through independence, to automatically grab off Shetland’s oil, for the rest of Scotland. The Shetlander’s are not fools, and its pretty much, odds on, that the rumblings of independence from Scotland will be circulating amongst the crofters, right now !

    In terms for rUK. The defence jobs will come South, military ship building will come South. As time goes by the national pensions paid to Scottish people, will inevitably decrease as a rUK liability and from the offset they will not be entitled to year on year increases. Certainly they will be affected by monetary exchange rates

    There are some quarter of a million Scots living in rUK. They will not have to leave, but there will be no newcomers. Thus, more jobs in rUK. There is the emerging shale gas, and shale oil industry. England, in particular, has an abudance of this commodity. We will not have to share the revenues and taxes with Scotland. So all, in all, rUK stands to benefit immensely from Scot’s independence.

    Last, but one. Oil, upon which the SNP pins their hopes. The Shale gas and Shale oil industry is set to reduce to a trickle the import of fuel oil from eastern countries. Inevitably this is going to impinge upon the price of oil. Some say it will fall, in price, by 25 to 40% in the next ten years. At those levels, the deep sea rigs and the inhospitable North Sea may well prove too expensive to recover oil from. So apart from oiling their bicycle chains, there will not be much call for North Sea Oil

    Finally I fear for Scotland and the totalitarian attitude of the SNP . Even though Scot’s people may have a birth certificate issued in Scotland, they are not allowed to vote in the referendum if they currently live in the rest of the UK…Oh dear we have seen that before, by declaring illegal the rights to vote, of those who may oppose you, is a sure way to win an election. There is a hint where Alex Salmond recently Praised Present Putin, for his statesmanship. A little bit of tweaking at the rules of democracy to keep somebody in power is not unknown in Russia, so of course Alex Salmond may see a kindred spirit in Mr Putin


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