Jo Swinson launches “Scotland should stay!” petition

st Andrews flag saltire scotland Some rights reserved by Fulla TJo Swinson, Lib Dem MP for East Dunbartonshire, is inviting those who “think Scotland should be [sic] stay part of the United Kingdom” to sign a petition saying so ahead of the independence referendum on 18th September. Here’s the text of the email circulated to party members last night:

In just over a month my fellow Scots and I will cast the most important vote of our lives.

I’m hoping there’s a resounding vote for Scotland to stay as part of the United Kingdom.

Our shared values, our history and our economic success show that Scotland is best placed as part of the United Kingdom.

This referendum is crucially important for Scotland, but it doesn’t just affect Scots: it’ll affect everyone across the UK.

Do you want Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom? Add your name now.

People living south of the border may not have a vote, but they can have a voice and encourage Scotland to stay.

It only takes a minute to show your support:

Best wishes – and thank you,


Jo Swinson MP
East Dunbartonshire

It’s a campaign strategy which apes the Let’s Stay Together campaign, which last week published a letter signed by more than 200 celebrities and public figures also urging a No vote. I’m not sure that any of these letters will have any influence on the way those living in Scotland actually cast their votes. But I can’t help feeling the gentle tone of the Let’s Stay Together letter, below, hits a better note than the Lib Dem petition exclaiming “Scotland should stay!”

The decision on whether to leave our share country is, of course, absolutely yours alone. Nevertheless, that decision will have a huge effect on all of us in the rest of the United Kingdom. We want to let you know how very much we value our bonds of citizenship with you, and to express our hope that you will vote to renew them. What unites us is much greater than what divides us.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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This entry was posted in News and Scotland.


  • I respect Jo Swinson. As a Scottish MP her judgement is important, but I do feel that this is for the Scots to decide. As a non-Scot, I will not be signing this petition.

    However, I do have misgivings, though about the Lib Dem position. I would have preferred a more relaxed laissez faire, ‘plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose’ approach. We could have said that it is for Scotland to decide, but that we would support measures that would minimise disruption and would promote continuity. Let the Scots have independence, but support negotiations that would maintain integration of structures and services that are mutually beneficial.

    The main difference would be that Scottish representation in Westminster would be replaced by democratic representation on structures that oversee bilateral agreements. Nonetheless, in the same spirit if Jo Swinson, Danny Alexander, Charles Kennedy, Ming Campbell etc wish to support a more uncompromising NO campaign, then who am I as a non-Scot to disagree with them? However I do fear that a NO victory will produce a severe rebound effect in 2015.

  • Alex Dingwall 16th Aug '14 - 11:14pm

    As a party member in a neighbouring constituency I’m presuming that the email to members you mention Stephen only went to non-Scottish members.

    Not sure a ‘petition’ urging that Scotland ‘should’ stay is particularly useful or tactful. It is after all our decision to make.

    So huge respect and admiration for Jo but like Andy Myles, Dennis Sullivan, Judy Steel, Alan MacRae, etc, etc, and at least 20% of Scottish Lib Dem support, I’ll be voting YES on 18th September.

  • It is, without question, a decision for those resident in Scotland to decide*- but the result will impact all of us in the UK. As such, it seems perfectly valid to, in the least, raise a voice in the matter. I can’t vote myself, but with a Scottish Father and an English Mother (the Union is a living reality in our household!) I can’t help but feel strongly and many of the issues the debate has involved.

    One of those issues has been about identity. Given my heritage, it is simply not possible for me to feel that the debate and result – regardless of a Yes or No vote – is about who I am. If the vote goes Yes, in practical terms, much of my family will suddenly be from and live in a foreign country. It many not be rational or logical, but the thought of that being the case fills me with saddness.

    I have family I adore from the far East and Eastern Europe, there is no divide in my mind between non-UK and UK relatives. Family is family. As such, I shouldn’t rationally be filled with sadness at the thought of Scotland leaving the UK- but it does. My family teaches me about how much the better life is when people come together and move forward. Having family born behind the Iron Curtain and with roots in Communist China, I’m glad barriers have fallen between nations. Fifty years ago my family couldn’t have existed. Go back even further and my parents wouldn’t have been allowed to ever marry. The thought of a new divide between people, well intentioned or not, goes against the grain of what has brought me true happiness.

    So yes, the residents of Scotland have the final say – but I am sure I am not alone in being voteless but not wanting to be voiceless. In practical terms, the issues that face us all in the future will require greater international and inter-national cooperation, but there is also an emotional argument for the Union. As such, and given the persoal reflections I have outlined, I have no hesitation in supporting the petition and will glad to sign.

    *When people say it is for Scots to decide, this isn’t quite true. Many, many Scots live elsewhere. It is, more accurately, for Scottish residents to decide. That only those living in Scotland have a vote is quite correct, but deep personal interests in the vote go beyond the border.

  • “It is for the Scots to decide” – yes, but this is based on residency at the time that the electoral roll was last revised. Thus Scots (and people with Scottish ancestry) resident in the rest of the UK (and elsewhere in the world for that matter are disenfranchised, whereas English, Poles and all others currently resident in Scotland have the vote. At least the French give the vote to their nationals resident abroad. A momentous constitutional change of this nature is far too important to be left to electoral vagaries and the disenfranchisement of so many concerned parties. What particularly concerns me are the major implications for all of the UK nations if Scotland should vote to become independent, I highly recommend watching Andrew Neil’s superb documentary “Scotland Votes: What is as stake for the UK”, BBC”, August 12, at 21.30.

    I hope that Scotland votes yes to stay in the Union (I do not like the way that this has to be trumpeted as a NO vote – something intrinsically negative. Moreover, I will be the first to fight in our party to carry through our constitutional reforms for the entire UK if Scotland votes to remain in a federal UK (viz our approved policy paper “Power to the People”).

    Please vote FOR THE UNION MY SCOTTISH BRETHREN!! I agree with Stephen that the Better Together campaign wording is spot-on this point but fully endorse Jo Swinson’s petition. I have signed it and encourage everyone to do so.

  • Angela Davies 17th Aug '14 - 10:04am

    I am not Scottish and I do not live I Scotland so I will not Sign this petition

  • Why on earth start another petition ? Surely it would be better to jon the existing one mentioned in this article & actively promote it.

    Anything for attention lately isn’t it.

    Sad, very very sad.

  • In a few weeks this will be over, Scotland will stay in the Union, and the charade (on both sides) can stop, one hopes, for a little while.
    Scottish independence would most likely be disastrous. On the other hand, the status quo is a disaster as well.
    I suppose the most positive outcome would be that No win, but by such a narrow margin (and perhaps not even a true majority) that unionists cannot pat themselves on the back for having won a famous victory.
    The countries need union, yes; but not union under the forms heretofore pertaining, and even an increase in devolved powers is far short of what is needed. It is time and past time to create a new constitutional arrangement which would bring together the countries on equal terms.

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