Gordon Brown Launches ‘No’ Campaign

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FORMER Prime Minister Gordon Brown has tried to steady the Better Together campaign by urging them to lay out clearly what the devolved powers Scotland can get in a No vote.

BETTER Together were urged to come up with a new deal for Scotland last night after a shock poll showed the country is heading for independence.

The No campaign was plunged into disarray by the survey, which led to calls for the Unionist parties to get their act together and promise Holyrood new powers.

Former PM Gordon Brown was among those calling for a joint statement from the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems with less than two weeks until the key vote.

He said: “I have been pressing, as have the Labour Party, for some weeks now for a more definitive statement about the timetable for the delivery of extra powers.”

Brown said the changes must be guaranteed so that “a No vote doesn’t mean nothing happens – a No vote means we move quickly to the delivery of extra powers”.

Panicked Chancellor George Osborne took to the airwaves to promise extra powers in a bid to halt the swing towards a Yes vote.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr: “You will see in the next few days a plan of action to give more powers to Scotland. More tax powers, more spending powers, more plans for powers over the welfare state.

“The timetable for delivering that will be put into effect the moment there is a No vote. The clock will be ticking for delivering those powers, and then Scotland will have the best of both worlds.

“They will avoid the risks of separation but have more control over their own destiny, which is where many Scots want to be.”

The reforms would include much greater fiscal autonomy, control over tax rates and more powers over welfare rates, he said.

But First Minister Alex Salmond said: “This is a panicky, last-minute measure because the Yes campaign is winning on the ground.

“The next step is to try and bribe us but it won’t work because they have no credibility left.

“What it shows is the chaos, confusion and total disintegration of the No campaign. Are we expected to believe, after hundreds of thousands have already voted, that there’s a radical new deal?”

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The week ahead will now be a crucial test for the Better Together campaign, with senior Westminster politicians coming north to drum up support for a No vote.

The Tory promise of extra powers follows a YouGov poll showing Yes Scotland has overturned Better Together’s 22-point lead in just a month.

Support for a Yes vote stands at 51 per cent compared with 49 per cent for No when “don’t knows” are stripped out.

A Panelbase poll put the result at 52-48 for a No vote.

The Better Together parties were still mired in confusion last night about what extra powers Scotland will be offered.

Lib Dem Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said: “What Osborne was talking about is a plan of action. You will get the announcement when it comes.”

A Labour insider admitted that no new powers have yet been agreed, adding: “This is about setting out the process for change.”

There are just 10 campaigning days until voters go to the polls to decide Scotland’s future.

Labour leader Ed Miliband is due to share a platform with Brown and Scottish leader Johann Lamont in Glasgow on Friday.

Brown was out knocking doors in Kirkcaldy yesterday before a six-day tour in Midlothian.

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Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is in Aberdeen today and former deputy PM John Prescott will rally Labour voters this week.

The party have been spooked by polls showing Labour supporters are drifting towards the Yes camp.

YouGov now say 35 per cent are ignoring the Better Together call – up from 18 per cent in a month.

The No campaign also risks being undermined by visits from UKIP leader Nigel Farage and the Orange Order are planning a controversial march through central Edinburgh and Holyrood on Saturday.

Miliband will address union members in Liverpool today on the UK-wide fight for social justice.

He will tell them: “It is the Labour party and the Labour movement that says the choice in this referendum is not change with Yes or no change with No – it is what kind of change will come to Scotland.

“By working for a Labour government across the UK, we can freeze energy bills, raise the minimum wage, introduce fairer taxes and put our young people back to work.”

Better Together leader Alistair Darling said: “I believe we can build a better and stronger Scotland without breaking up the country.

“We should be spending the next 10 days doing everything we possibly can to make sure we can get that fairer and better Scotland and avoid the risks of separation.

“It’s clear now that every voter in Scotland can tip the balance in this referendum – it’s that close.”

Published on 07th September 2014 on the Daily Record

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