Kennedy warns on referendum tactics

Charles Kennedy says Scottish people won't be bullied

Charles Kennedy says Scottish people won't be bullied

First published in National News © by

Unionist warnings that Scotland "could never go it alone" are unlikely to resonate with voters in the independence referendum, a veteran MP has said.

The Scottish response to the Westminster-led Better Together campaign's warnings about the economy and declining oil revenues will be "Who are they to come up here and tell us what to do?", former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said.

"We'll make our own minds up, thank you very much," will be the likely response, according to the Highland MP.

He has called on Better Together to be "more positive" and set out "a more coherent blueprint" in the event of a No vote.

"If you take, for example, the recent figures on the state of the Scottish economy, the decline in the oil revenues and so on and so forth, I'm not sure that the right response to that from our point of view is to say 'There we are, we told you so, Scotland could never go it alone'," he told the BBC.

"I'm not sure that's a resonance that you can establish with the people and I'm not sure it's the right one anyway."

He added: "I don't think that the Scots will feel bullied."

Better Together launched in 2012 with the message that Scotland could be a successful independent country but it is stronger in the UK.

Since then, unionist parties have said Scotland could not formally use the pound, and its rising deficit following a recent dip in oil revenues points to a volatile economy.

All parties have offered stronger devolution if Scotland votes No but have not said what powers Scotland would get.

The Liberal Democrats unveiled their latest "home rule" proposals last week, insisting devolution discussions should begin no less than 30 days after a No vote.

But Mr Kennedy believes the Better Together parties should set out a clearer vision ahead of the referendum.

He said: "I think it would be better if we had a more coherent blueprint to put to people, to say 'Voting No means Yes to this distinct proposition', as opposed to, well, something that will be worked out in due course.

"Because then you're open to exactly the accusation that we're making of the other side."

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