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‘Grab chance of a lifetime’

Graeme Dey MSP.

Graeme Dey MSP.

It’s now just seven weeks to Scotland’s Referendum on September 18 and arguably the most important vote in the nation’s history.

As part of our weekly countdown we have been speaking to local people to find out their views on independence.

Last week we heard from Derek Wann, the Scottish Conservatives candidate for Angus in next year’s UK election, a firm supporter of Better Together.

This week we speak to local MSP Graeme Dey of the Scottish National Party.

What do you say to those who argue Scotland already has enough powers?

“This notion that Scotland can currently make decisions on a wide-range of areas is worth examining.

“If we look at agriculture , for example. Yes, we shape a common agricultural policy here but the funding that is available is negotiated by the UK with the EU - and after 40 years of being represented by Westminster in negotiations Scotland’s farmer have the lowest payment rates of the EU.

“In tourism, most EU countries have cut VAT rates on tourism related products and have abolished or cut air passenger duty.

“The UK government refuses point blank to do this and is placing us at a competitive disadvantage with the rest of Europe.

“We are fighting with one hand tied behind our back compared with other EU destinations.

“So there are areas at face value we have control over, but crucially we don’t have absolute control.

“Surely, its better if the wealth of Scotland is put to work to build a stronger economy and a fairer society?”

What about the currency debate and fears over losing the pound?

“It’s in rest of UK’s best interests to have a shared currency, both in terms of their balance of trade and their general economy.

“If Scotland votes Yes, are the UK government going to turn round to industry in England and Wales and tell them it will cost them circa £550m in transaction charges if their is no currency union a matter of months before a UK General Election? I doubt it.”

SO WHAT HAPPENS IF IT’S A NO NEXT MONTH?

“If Scotland votes No, we will accept the decision of the people, same as we would accept a Yes vote, that’s democracy.

“But I do not believe any of the UK parties will devolve more powers, why would they have to? I don’t trust anything that is being said and there is a lack of real detail.

“Better together call themselves Project Fear for a reason, one of the few accurate things they have come up with in their campaign.

“Their entire campaign is based on scare story after scare story, and these stories are being shot down.

“One example was their assertion that it would cost £2.7bn to set the infrastructure of government in an independent Scotland but the author of the report challenged them on this and it was revealed the figure is in fact £200m.

“That is the scale of the nonsense we have been contending with.”

Finally, what’s your message to voters?

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to change Scotland for the better .

“From my perspective, if child poverty, pensioner fuel poverty, the UK’s disregard for unpaid carers, spending £130bn on a new nuclear weapons system are examples of being ‘better together’ then I say ‘no thanks’ and I believe the majority of the people in Scotland will say the same and vote Yes for independence.”

 

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