Countdown to Scottish Independence Referendum with Less than 100 days to go

Yesterday marked just 100 days to go until the referendum on Scottish independence. There will obviously be an increased media focus on the campaign in the weeks ahead. With all to play for, the pro-independence Yes supporters have continued to present a positive case for Scottish independence. They highlight the economic, cultural and social benefits that would result from an independent Scotland. Despite some hostile media coverage, not least from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), whose coverage has been seen by many to be heavily biased against a Yes vote, it is clear that in terms of the issues and debate so far the pro-independence campaign has been far more effective.

Meanwhile the anti-independence No campaigners under ‘Better Together’ have been condemned for the negativity of their arguments so far. Scottish voters have been angered by the constant attempts at bullying and misinformation presented by the anti-independence supporters. It has been startling to see the UK Treasury having to row back on misleading figures presented by Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury.  He had presented figures purporting to prove that an independent Scotland would start out worse off than the rest of the UK. HM Treasury claimed that an independent Scotland would need 180 government departments at a cost of £2.7 billion to set up. This was a remarkable difference to the £215 million that the Scottish National Party had suggested. 

It wasn’t long before the Treasury figures were criticised by Professor Patrick Dunleavy from the London School of Economics on whose research the Treasury claims were based. He said: "It is very important, if you are contributing to a public debate, to contribute accurate information and not, as in this case I'm afraid, very crude misinformation."  Professor Dunleavy said he believed that the Treasury had taken his figure and "made it ludicrous" suggesting that Treasury officials had not read his report before they quoted it.  He pointed out that the Scottish government is run on a more modern and efficient system than that of the UK government and that the SNP figure of £250 million sounded like a "more realistic figure".

This is just one of many, many attempts by anti-independence campaigners to misinform Scottish voters and in doing so they are really treating the people of Scotland with contempt. Even within their own ranks are many who realise how their tactics have backfired. We now need those who want to make a case for Scotland to stay in the United Kingdom to change tack and present positive, truthful arguments. This is an important issue for the people of Scotland and yet still British Prime Minister David Cameron refuses to enter into a face to face debate on independence with Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond.  It begs the question why and the answer seems clear-he is afraid. So much for having the courage of your convictions! Now it even seems that anti-independence ex-British Prime-Minister Gordon Brown wants such a debate. Another example of splits emerging in the No camp?


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