LibLink: Willie Rennie: Alex Salmond’s future looks bleak so he turns to the past

st Andrews flag saltire scotland Some rights reserved by Fulla TWillie Rennie has been writing for the Daily Express in response to Alex Salmond’s invocation of Robert the Bruce yesterday. The First Minister has obviously given up on the detail and is sticking with the Big Picture aimed at emotional appeal. I’ve always been one for tugging on the heartstrings. I go on about it all the time. You do need to have some facts in there somewhere, though. It helps if those facts have some relation to the truth, as well.

It’s been annoying me for some time that the pro UK side has not been quick enough to rebut the ridiculous claims that the pro-independnece side makes about the NHS. They claim that it’s been privatised in England. I’m no fan of the changes in the Health and Social Care Act of 2012, but I know that health care is still free at the point of need as it should always be.  It’s been annoying that few senior Labour figures have rammed that home to the SNP, perhaps because it doesn’t suit them to do so in a Westminster General Election context.  Willie makes it perfectly clear who calls the shots as far as the Scottish NHS is concerned:

Devolution means that the only person with the power to privatise Scotland’s NHS is Alex Salmond. It is wrong of him to suggest otherwise. Our NHS provides excellent care and this will continue if Scotland votes to remain part of the UK family.

The only threat to this critical service comes from Alex Salmond’s plans to divide our country, which independent experts estimate will leave us with a £6billion black hole in public spending. That would inevitably affect our NHS.

In fact, increasing health spending in other parts of the UK means that the money Scotland receives through the current funding formula has increased since 2010. That’s something the SNP admitted in their last manifesto but now want to ignore when they need different facts to win the referendum.

He then goes on to outline how being part of the UK is the best option for Scotland.

I simply do not accept that the maximum potential of the people of Scotland can only be achieved if we create a separate nation. Our United Kingdom family of nations has given Scots great opportunities to achieve our ambitions and meet our aspirations for three hundred years.

The UK record is an impressive one and I regret that the Nationalists seek to undermine that achievement in order to win their argument. Whether it be the NHS, the BBC, the state pension or the open, free market we should be confident about what we have built together.

My questioning of the practical problems with creating a separate country is not symptomatic of a lack of belief in the ability of the Scottish people. It is the Nationalists who conflate national identity with national independence and their policy of independence with the ability of the Scottish people.

Of course we can all achieve more. There is no doubt about that. But being part of something bigger, with global reach, in a country of 60 million people, with an economic base with broad shoulders and with a compassionate outlook on life is the best possible platform from which we can fly.

You can read the whole article here.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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One Comment

  • Gareth Edwards 22nd Aug '14 - 1:34pm

    Willie, you can scare-monger via the Express (a very right-wing paper) as much as you like, but North Sea oil revenues should be kept in Scotland for the Scottish, and I hope once they gain independence that they make a back-dated claim from the UK government.
    Since your party got in to bed with the nasty party and have helped them vote through such obscenities such as the Welfare Reform Act and lowering taxes for the higher earners, I’d imagine that the future of the LibDems is looking pretty bleak. You’ll be lucky to gain enough votes to keep your deposits come next May. Just a thought.

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