2007 - 2021

That Alistair Darling speech in full:

BeH5CHUIAAA3y0XI want to just mention Sir Chris Hoy’s Thighs while gently spreading smear and innuendo, if you will. Because we are, in so many ways, Flipper Together.

My great friend Gordon Brown and I are proud to lead two very different campaigns for a twin-track Union, separate, yet closely linked, his disastrous leadership with my fiddles, because if we vote for independence this September, there is no going back.

You can’t just give democracy a try. Independence is forever. It is a one way ticket.

Where must, therefore, ask ourselves, whether we are prepared to give up the opportunities and the security of austerity for a real chance of social justice?

As Scots, we are fiercely proud of our nation, but we are also pragmatic, and self-loathing. Proud but shamed. That is the British way.

When someone makes us an offer that seems true, we ask hard questions. Why amn’t I being lied to?

Not just questions for today – but questions about what this decision means in a world that is changing more rapidly than ever. A changing world, a world where things change. Change is wrong.

When I was a sixteen year old, Apollo 11 went to the moon guided by a computer 8000 times less powerful than the iPhone I carry in my pocket today. Now I can stand you before you talking this nonsense whilst playing Angry Birds on my phone. Me and my iPhone, together, in my pocket, like my expenses.

The revolution in technology has been matched by profound economic social and political change.

When those sixteen year olds who get to vote this autumn were born, they were not able to serve in the armed forces or get a civil partnership.

There was no minimum wage. There was no Scottish parliament. Now they can be trained t die i our legal wars anywhere. Tony made the call, I backed it.

The world has grown ever closer but ever more complicated.

Climate change. Extreme poverty and conflict around the world. Terrorism. Words. Spoken separately. In a Blair way. Competition from new economic powers like Brazil, India and China. A banking system that was capable of bringing down the world’s economy.

But there is also more opportunity than our parents could ever have dreamt of.

But now we’re being told that our children can expect a free education, like they have for years. This is a nonsense, part of the something for nothing culture we’ve grown to believe in.

The idea that you can give free education to students is absurd.

The close relationship between British universities, their strong research record is one of the many strengths of the United Kingdom.

Throughout this campaign I will continue to point to the opportunities and the security that come from being part of the United Kingdom. In many ways, we have the Best of Both worlds. We live in  nirvana.

We have a Scottish parliament AND the strength and security of the UK.

We have weapons of mass destruction here on the Clyde where we can threaten people at will.

But what we are being offered here is something quite different.

It is a risky proposition, with too many unanswered questions.

There could be peace, there could be a more equal society to replace this shared austerity dream. Don’t be fooled by the idea that anything could change. It can’t. Ever. It mustn’t. Ever.

There has been a lot of talk on this campaign about who has the positive and who has the negative message.

Well let me tell you this.

I can think of little more negative than demanding that Scotland leave a three hundred year union that generations of Scots built with our neighbours without the idea of change. Nothing.

Every household in the country knows what it is to try to balance the family budget.

Every person in the country knows how Gordon Brown and I almost destroyed the British economy. That is the past, and, in a very real way, the future. Our shared future. Together, in increasing poverty.

But Alex Salmond cannot guarantee even one household in this country what currency they would be budgeting in after a yes vote. Perhaps as my friend Kirsty put it, the Pibroch?

Alex Salmond asserts we would keep the pound through a Eurozone style currency union, but that seems increasingly unlikely.

Does he not accept that a currency union needs both Scotland and the rest of the UK to agree to enter into it?

Will he not accept a currency union means both sides have to agree each others budgets?

That is what is happening in Europe.

And that is why it is difficult to see anyone signing up to it.

That is why it is increasingly dead in the water.

And if he doesn’t get that agreement, what is his fall-back position? We need to know.

Is it a brand new currency? Is it the Euro? Is it monopoly money for this stupid wee country which we will crush if you have the temerity to expect better?

Of course Salmond asserts that Scotland would keep the pound.

Indeed he goes further and threatens that if an independent Scotland was denied a currency union he would default on Scotland’s share of debt.

What kind of start would that be to a new state?

We would be pariahs in the international markets. We would be like Albania only worse. We would be hounded out of every civilized body in the world and shat upon.

What bank lends to someone who refuses to pay their debts?

Even before Alex Salmond’s threat to default, experts said that a new state would borrow at rates far higher than we do now.

And let me explain what that means. It means Scots families would face higher mortgage rates.

Scots homeowners would pay more for their mortgages than families in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

And for what?

I don’t doubt Scotland could leave the United Kingdom but for the life of me I cannot see why we should when we don’t know what currency we would have.

I don’t know why we should leave when we don’t know if, when or on what terms we would be members of the European Union.

It is not just that Alex Salmond doesn’t have answers to fundamental questions he doesn’t even pose them.

He might think in his heart that Scotland should separate, but there is nothing in his head to justify it.

And here is one of their worst tricks.

For months the Scottish Government refused to answer fundamental questions, airily saying all the answers would come in the White Paper.

The White Paper, when it came, it answered all my questions and more. This is typical.

It was based on facts. Much of them relying on a belief that the rest of the UK and Europe – and indeed the rest of the world – would treat Scotland by laws that others might be.

Now don’t get me wrong.

Almost every nation in Europe is struggling with a deficit right now. Particularly Britain, that’s mired in debt.

The key question then for our politics is how to maintain our commitment to bank bonuses while getting our national finances back in order.

How we do that is something we can debate.

But the difference between the Nationalists and everybody else is that they try to tell people that they deserve democracy. You don’t.

Let’s be clear.

The decision in the referendum isn’t about the flag you raise or the colour of your passport. It is not a test of Scottishness.

This is about you having a say. You can’t and, let’s be clear, you won’t.

No matter what the cost.

A vote to separate from the rest of the United Kingdom will be unchangeable. You will have democracy forever.

This generation of Scots will have bound the hands of generations of Scots to come.

Be in no doubt about the gravity of this decision.

Scotland deserves better.

I do not believe that Scotland is a small country.

I believe we are as big as our ideas and values, and ours are limited and shameful.

Comments (17)

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  1. Abulhaq says:

    ..Unchain your mind…Feel the buzzz…Vote Yes..
    do we really need to told?

  2. A wee piece of brilliance seems so good and its true.

  3. BillfaeDenny says:

    Liked the photograph. That must have been taken when he had a socialist conscience and nae bools in his mooth!

    1. Looby Dopp says:

      He always had bools in the mooth. He was a Trotskyite in order to have something shocking to tell the Loretto FPs’ annual dinner. That’s all.

  4. Oh he had the bools even then! I remember him from his days on Aberdeen University Students’ Representative Council.

    1. setondene says:

      Me too. He always exuded an aura of entitlement. Disliked him from the moment I first set eyes on him in the old Student’s Union. Mind you, I really fancied the small exquisite blonde that always trailed after him.

    2. Graeme Purves! How very nice to see you’re still around. I remember you on the Aberdeen SRC at the same time in the mid 1970s. I had the honour of being formally censured by AD because I attended a faculty meeting in my capacity as the SRC science faculty convenor when, according to AD’s Broad Left, we were all meant to be out marching in a protest for higher grants. I must say, I thought AD was a good president of the SRC. A good manager and very fair. But I’ve often thought of that 3 line whip on that march, and the irony of where student grants stand today even after all the years of prosperity under Blair.

      1. I’ve been skulking deep in the bureaucratic machine, Alastair, but was released for good behaviour in September.

      2. Looby Dopp says:

        I remember AD’s revolutionary workers’ grouping always amazed me because they were forever having dinner parties and talking in la-de-dah accents in flats their parents bought for them. We students from ordinary backgrounds hadn’t yet been to dinner parties and didn’t own flats.

    3. Well do drop by for a coffee if in Glasgow. Re Alistair Darling, I hear folks saying he was a Trot at Uni. My memory is that he was pretty much moderately left, probably where the maiinstream of the Labour party was then. But as for I and thou, Graeme, the less said the better methinks. What days! Let’s hope they never archived The Gaudie.

  5. We have weapons of mass destruction here on the Clyde were we can threaten people at will.To my mind this statement says it all about this bam pot.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      To be fair though this may not be an exact word for word account of his speech …

  6. Ken MacColl says:

    Alasdair is nothing if not contradictory and complex.
    Coming from an established grand Scottish Tory family he attended Loretto before going to Aberdeen Uni where he switched to become a particularly scruffy “socialist” with reputedly Trotskiite tendencies which he carried with him to Edinburgh Council before joining the gravy train as a Scottish Labour MP. There he trimmed and flipped between Edinburgh and London on a regular basis embracing New Labour with boundless enthusiasm. . After sinking with Brown he is now back as a pillar of the UK establishment the hand that once held the Westminster economic tiller, though not too surely, through our stormiest seas is not slow to share his financial genius with his compatriots.
    How can we resist him?

  7. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

    We Scots are a giving selfless people. We give and expect nothing in return. We happily give up millions of our citizens to populate colonies, we give hundreds of thousands to fight in civilizing wars, our talent we offer unquestioningly to make England and her fair capital rightfully rich, we accept quasi-third-world social deprivation as our due, we expect our leaders to act in their own career interests and not trouble themselves with our petty regional concerns, we are happy to play the betartaned lap-dog, to be an also ran, slavish and invisible….NOT!

  8. Yesnaby says:

    Did I not hear him also say that the oil around Scotland doesn’t really have bools till the UK cooks it? The export markets wouldn’t crawl out of bed without it has a touch of UK world-alarming prestige. Who’d fill up with something that’s nothing better than wet haggis? And that’s a fact the younger generation would not hear coming from the likes of John Swinney.

  9. Joe Boyle says:

    I am amazed at the amount of brain cells being wasted on what to call a curency. It quite frankly does not matter. What matters is how well value is attached to an idea and how the value of that idea is accepted by the rest of the planet. At the end of the day value is only relative and it will ofcourse be almost in a constant state of fulx one way or another. In fact the whole ….how do we name a currence is really just a nonsensical waste of time….because at the end of the day its not the name that is important…..it is how it is valued by the rest of the world over time.
    ..if there is confidence in it ….its value will increase….and of course ….vice versa. …the conceptual argument is in fact a red herring……lets face it ….what if we called it herring…at the end of the day ….would it be more valuable. …or less valuable. It is only a name that has developed out of habit and familiarity

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