Pro-UK rally in Trafalgar Square at 6pm TONIGHT

If you’re in London and you want Scotland to stay in the UK, head for Trafalgar Square at 6pm. A rally is taking place to show solidarity across the UK. Fraser Nelson wrote about it in the Spectator:

What’s the point of holding a rally in London? It’s true that no one there will have a vote, but this is for those who still love this county and can’t bear to sit back and watch it fall apart. Those who want to do something, no matter how small. The rally should enforce a point : that the UK is an extraordinary union of peoples, and that those outside Scotland do hope they’ll vote to stay. Alex Salmond talks about the referendum as ‘Team Scotland against Team Westminster’ – as if Scots are pressing the ‘eject’ button on a reviled political elite. We need to tell a different story: about an alliance of countries which, acting as the United Kingdom, has been the greatest force for good that the world has ever known.

The Yes campaign’s veneer of positivity and froth and happiness hides a thoroughly negative heart. They try to portray our country as some sort of hellish wasteland for which the only cure is going it alone, that the problems we face can e solved by putting up barriers. It makes me so angry to see the wonderful place where I live portrayed in such a dishonest way.

The Liberal Democrats will be out with banners and placards and all sorts. If you want Scotland to stay in the UK, please go along.

Please also feel free to help the campaign. The power of several thousand people each making 10 calls to voters in Scotland would be very helpful indeed.

You can find out more about the event by following the #Unity2014 hashtag on Twitter.

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

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22 Comments

  • Denis Mollison 15th Sep '14 - 12:36pm

    Dear Caron

    You should try harder to see both sides of this debate.

    The main negativity I see is the No campaign trying to scare us out of voting Yes by portraying a post-independence Scotland as “as some sort of hellish wasteland”.

    Of course various protagonists drag their own political angle (whether socialist, capitalist or environmental) into the debate, but at heart it’s simply about how we are governed. I would like political independence with social union, and despite unionist threats, I trust both sides to cooperate on maintaining our social union whichever way Thursday’s vote goes.

  • @Denis: “I trust both sides to cooperate on maintaining our social union whichever way Thursday’s vote goes”.

    What sort of shape do you think the social union will be in after 18 months of what amounts to divorce proceedings?

  • ‘Team Scotland against Team Westminster’ – as if Scots are pressing the ‘eject’ button on a reviled political elite…”

    This is exactly why many English and Welsh people hope Scotland votes YES.

    Anything that undermines the reviled political elite in the Westminster Bubble is worth support.

    But then I would not expect this to be understood by Fraser Nelson the right wing Conservative editor of the Spectator and certainly no friend of Liberal Democrats.

  • Denis Mollison 15th Sep '14 - 2:28pm

    JUF – From clause 30 of the Edinburgh Agreement –
    “The two governments are committed to continue to work together constructively in the light of the outcome, whatever it is, in the best interests of the people of Scotland and of the rest of the United Kingdom.”

  • No nation-state, and I fear perhaps no political structure can be truly said to be a force for good. With these things, we’re always going to be looking for the lesser of two evils. So we construct a narrative history that paints an Empire that could callously preside over the starvation of millions, that would massacre peaceful protests and that would fight wars of aggression to break open markets we now consider inherently immoral as ‘good’, because the evil it eventually opposed was so much greater.

    But we shouldn’t allow the exigencies of past wars cloud our decisions today. Is the British state still a force for good? Or has it allowed itself to become a tool for stoking conflict abroad in the name of a missionary foreign policy, while causing misery and poverty at home in the name of fiscal austerity? And is that enough to break a nation over?

    For me, it is. I’m not a nationalist, so I’m not going to cling to the British state out of attachment, nor clamour for a Scottish state out of sentimentality. I simply can’t vote No to change when I am certain that every No helps to reinforce the status quo. Even though the change on offer is distinctly second best.

  • @Denis – that’s easy to say. It’s very difficult to do when what are common interests today will be conflicting interests if Scotland becomes independence.

    The it really will be Team Scotland against Team Everybody Else.

  • sorry, typo – “Scotland becomes independent” (edit button please?)

  • Gordon Kennedy 15th Sep '14 - 5:30pm

    Okay let’s look at both sides of the debate:

    The NO campaign has said the Union is good for the United Kingdom, The YES campaign says Independence is good for just Scotland

    The NO campaign says spending £100Bn on Trident is the only thing that can save 8000 jobs, The YES campaign says there are 800 jobs and the salaries mostly paid to USA & England…….& can spend money better else where

    NO campaign says you need a Nuclear deterent and its only the USA that can provide this super weapons system, The YES campaign says Trident is over priced obsolete leaky weapons system and if you like it so much have it in Portsmouth ……..Not next to Scotland’s population centre

    NO campaign says you can’t be in NATO, YES campaign wonders why NATO would not want a strategic base in North Atlantic and if it will renamed MATEY (Mid Atlantic Treaty Excepting Youzoatmealsavages)

    NO campaign says you have no GDP to support your economy, YES campaign says ‘look at your own treasury figures Scotland is a Net Exporter of pretty much everything, even if you don’t count the oil

    NO campaign says your oil will run out in 40 years, YES campaign says “Aye but yours is running out in 2 days”

    NO Campaign says you cant use our currency and we will put border guards at Gretna, YES campaign says ‘Yer whateva’ Keep your failing banks Scotland if you make it difficult we can make our own currency and with the wealth be the safe haven for currency like Switzerland but backed by Oil instead of Toblerone

    NO Campaign says “yer but you haven’t Oil so there” , Yes campaign says “Try reminding the Oil companies that Scots have the internet too, and when BP announces to its shareholders billions of investment in Scotland…we hear about it too”

    NO campaign says think of our history together we are good together, YES campaign says “tell that to the Jocks that fought for you in the wars that are now selling the Big Issue on the streets”

  • Well, it may not be popular on this site … certainly all the emails from the party and LibDem bigwigs I’ve received seem to take it for granted that we’re all rooting for ‘no’ – but as an Englishman through and through, I am backing the ‘yes’ campaign and will be delighted if they win this week.

    As a Liberal I respect the Scots’ desire for self determination and believe in devolution of decisions. I don’t profess to understand all of the economics, and realise that a ‘yes’ vote will create some short-term instability, but expect that all of the “no you can’t use the pound, no you can’t join the EU” stuff is mostly electioneering and will be replaced by a much more positive and pragmatic attitude should yes win the vote. And there will be few issues that the Czechs or Slovenes haven’t addressed and overcome in their time.

    From a political viewpoint, I joined the Liberal Party in part because the UK is governed is inadequate in so many ways. Despite all our achievements in government, our ‘great hope’ that we could use balance of power to achieve so-long-awaited constitutional change has been almost entirely dashed, and a ‘no’ vote for the constitutional status quo is as a consequence hugely unattractive. The ‘shock’ of a yes vote would force the UK to address a whole host of constitutional issues that it will otherwise be impossible to prevent from being buried – such as decision-making in England, the balance of power between local/regional/national government – since there will be Scottish peers the membership of the Lords will also need to be reviewed – and I would predict that a ‘yes’ outcome would produce a miraculously swift conversion of the English Labour Party to the cause of electoral reform. With Labour, the LibDems and UKIP all supporting a fairer voting system, a ‘yes’ Scotland vote presents probably the only chance of re-visiting the issue of how we elect our parliamentarians before I’m putting in for my LibDem Image gravestone…

    So what’s to fear?

  • paul barker 15th Sep '14 - 9:22pm

    I am so glad I went to the rally with my daughter, it was a really inspiring experience, I hope that footage will be available. It was a small crowd, a few thousand I suppose. We werent in a good position to see the whole Rally though as we were at the front.
    There were some very moving speeches, especiaaly from Bob Geldof & Haydn Gwynne read Audens Poem The Night Mail.
    I would urge everyone to watch any footage of the Rally, I had been getting really depressed about my Country being torn apart by a bunch of Con-Men & tonight has lifted my spirits. This Rally was all about our joint acheivement in building our Family of Nations together. The Future lies with breaking down barriers, not putting up new ones.
    My Daughter wnt on to the phone bank at LibDem HQ but I went home feeling drained.

  • Peter Chegwyn 15th Sep '14 - 9:45pm

    Paul – It was indeed “a small crowd”, just two thousand ‘including a few bemused tourists’ according to Huffington Post, just a few hundred according to Associated Press. Were you the only two Lib. Dems. there? Caron’s article said: ‘The Liberal Democrats will be out with banners and placards and all sorts.’ Were they?

  • By the time I got there, the square was jam packed. There was a little standing room on the east side of the fountains, but the rest of the square, including all the steps and balustrades, was completely full, so full that I was unable to see where the speakers were. I am no good at counting crowds, so I am unable to give a figure. But it was very much more than a “small crowd”. It was a very, very big crowd. There were no party banners that I could see.

  • John Tilley wrote:

    “Anything that undermines the reviled political elite in the Westminster Bubble is worth support.”

    What?!
    The stance that you have just articulated, John, is known colloquially as cutting off one’s nose to spite one;s face.

  • Stuart Wheatcroft 15th Sep '14 - 10:35pm

    If Associated Press think there were only a few hundred, they clearly weren’t there. I haven’t seen the I’m sure there were a few bemused tourists, but if you hold an event in Trafalgar Square that’s pretty much a given! For an event that was promoted over the course of just three days, it’s nothing short of remarkable that there was such a huge turnout.

    There were plenty of Lib Dems there. As far as I’m aware there wasn’t any effort to get all Lib Dems present stand in the same part of the square, so it’s impossible to say how many.

  • Sesenco
    So far face and nose still in tact. On Friday morning I very much hope that a YES majority will have dealt a major blow to the Westminster elite.
    The Daily Record front page VOW signed by Cameron, Miliband and Clegg reminds me of Clegg ‘s PLEDGE on tuition fees. I am sure that this irony will not be lost former Liberal Democrat supporters north of the border.

  • paul barker 15th Sep ’14 – 9:22pm
    There was some footage on Ch4 News with Paul Mason interviewing Dan Snow and Eddie Izzard against a background of union jack wavers which included Mr Gove the former secretary of state for english education. Although by the time the interview took place , just after 7pm, only a few hundred people were left. It looked like a bad day out for the Last Night of the Proms crowd. If the ‘stay with the UK’crowd was so small and as The Huff Post report suggests quite a lot were curious tourists we can make our own judgements. I don’t know what time it started but if people did not have the stamina to go on beyond 7pm it seems like a bit of a damp squib.
    As a veteran over the years of AAM and CND marches to Trafalgar Sq I have to say that your figure of a few thousand is not very impressive.
    One million plus marched against Blair’s invasion of Iraq.

  • The first time I heard of the Rally was 12.03 when this article was put up, there was an email from Mike Tuffrey 40 minutes after that. To get a crowd of thousands in a few hours seems quite impressive to me. The sea of Union Jacks was also a sea of Saltires but they are harder to see in the photos. As Geldof pointed out, we are all angry with Westminster Establishment, Liberals, SNP, UKIP, BNP all angry. So what shall we do, try to get Reforms to make life better or just smash everything up to make ourselves feel better ?
    Salmond & Farage are peddling the same sort of Snake Oil that Enoch Powell was selling when I was young, it always ends with vulnerable people getting hurt.

  • paul barker 15th Sep ’14 – 11:35pm
    You make a fair point about the time to arrange although that does make the event sound like another London based last minute panic measure. This referendum has been known about for two and a half years.

  • Shambolic to give people less than 6 hours’ notice of this! I would have gone and so would a lot more people if it had been planned properly. The no campaign make ‘yes to AV’ look good…..

  • The Rally was nothing to with The No Campaign, it was organised by Dan Snow, the Historian. None of the speakers were “Political” in the narrow sense, with the possible exception of Eddie Izzard.

  • paul barker 16th Sep ’14 – 12:11pm
    Paul, where did all those flags come from? I have not seen so many union jacks for along time.
    Did everyone bring their own or was someone handing them out?
    And what were the little white flags about? It was impossible to read what was written on them on the TV.

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