The Better Together campaign, the campaign to keep Scotland part of the United Kingdom, hosted a dedicated Ross-Shire launch event at the National Hotel in Dingwall on August 31st. The event saw senior politicians from across political parties join together in a public Q&A session. An informative event with thanks to the three speakers; Mary Scanlon MSP (Conservative), Rhoda Grant MSP (Labour) and Charles Kennedy MP (Liberal Democrat).
It is great to see the upcoming referendum as a catalyst for political debate in our country. Indeed, it is even better to see so many young people engaged with politics and extending the right to vote to 16 & 17 year olds, which Liberal Youth Scotland campaigned for, has certainly helped to ensure issues relating to young people are central to this debate. It should be emphasised further how very few issues would have attracted such a turnout for a political Q&A. Therefore, special thanks should go to the members of the public who packed out the Seaforth room in Dingwall and made the launch such an occasion.
The feeling of the room was very clear. Indeed, it was a direct reflection of the response we have been getting in both the Highlands and across Scotland. So many local people have expressed their support and wish to remain in the UK. However, no campaign must allow itself to be complacent. There is no doubt it will be a tough vote. Indeed, the Better Together campaign will fight hard to ensure that local people have the facts to make this decision.
A key issue raised by the public was on the case for more powers. It is clear from the polling data released by the DevoPlus Scotland group that 59% of Scots are firmly against independence. Furthermore, it indicated that a large percentage of Scots want to see more powers. Indeed, the people I speak to are calling for action to deliver more local decision making here in the Highlands. This is crucial. Independence would only geographically move centralised decision making from London to Edinburgh. Independence would not empower rural communities here in the Highlands. If we are to really deliver local decision making by local people we need a settlement that works. There is a growing political consensus for more local powers. I believe that can only be delivered if we vote to stay ‘better together’ in the UK. A ‘No’ vote does and will mean change.
However, this campaign can only be won with the support of the public. Whether you’ve campaigned before or not; if you believe Scotland is stronger as a part of the UK – we need you. To get in touch please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
David is currently President of Liberal Youth Scotland and former Constituency Organiser for Charles Kennedy MP and the Highland Liberal Democrats. David is in his 4th year at the University of Aberdeen, studying Politics. You can follow him on twitter at ‘DavidMGreen92’.