The Better Together launch event on Monday was a great success and we couldn’t have wished for a better start or better reaction from the media. It was all a marked contrast to the celebrity soaked SNP event of a few weeks earlier and recognised as such because what we had were real Scots proclaiming their belief in the value of the Union to them as Scots and saying so unashamedly and directly.
This is an all party campaign and attempts to portray it as Tory front organisation will get nowhere. Alistair Darling is no patsy and I would argue one of the few figures to emerge from the last Labour Government with an enhanced reputation not least because of his willingness to stand up to Gordon Brown and show himself to be his own man.
We are now building a campaign team backed a non Executive Board and putting this in place over the summer months. The launch gives us a focus for this work which will be taken at a steady pace to ensure we have the right people in place. We already have an excellent Campaign Director in Blair McDougall and will shortly announce our Director of Communications. Other appointments will follow.
As the ODN report on the launch event correctly pointed out this is going to be a marathon and not a sprint. Alex Salmond’s preferred referendum date is not until October 2014. The SNP was formed in 1934 – if they don’t know what independence means after all this time you have to worry about the credibility of their overall message and what it says about their vision of Scotland’s future. It is of course a ludicrous time scale designed to maximise Salmond’s political room for manoeuvre and allow him to keep the pot boiling with demands for 2nd questions and the like which are irrelevant to the main issue which is separation or not.
One of our key tasks is to build a research base to support the campaign and demonstrate to the value of sticking together as One Nation – to make explicit all that is taken for granted because it so familiar to us – and to ask all the difficult questions that the Nats don’t want to answer.
We now have some strategic decisions to take on how to link up with organisations like ODN which share our commitment to the Union and bring together the volunteers who have already offered to support the campaign since the launch event. We welcome the support which has already been given and the positive reaction to our efforts.
This week was a good start for our campaign but there is a long way to go .We will execute a campaign which inspires and informs. It’s about winning hearts and minds and reminding Scots that we can have the best of both worlds.
David McLetchie MSP
Director, Better Together
Better Together is a cross party initiative launched on 25th June 2012 as a focus for all the other groups campaigning for Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom. At ODN we would encourage you to give it your active support.