September 18th 2014 | Scotland

Better Together Response: With 50 days to go until the referendum, do the public have enough information to decide how to vote?​

no inside

The people of Scotland deserve to know the facts before they walk into the voting booth on September 18th. 

Sadly, the nationalists have failed them. On the key issues, Alex Salmond simply doesn’t have the facts people need.

On the big questions we see an army of independent experts on one side, and on the other Alex Salmond crossing his fingers.

We do not know what currency we would use. A currency union wouldn’t work for a separate Scotland or the rest of the UK. Yet the nationalists refuse to come up with Plan B - would we rush to adopt the euro or set up a separate Scottish currency?  

They have no answers on pensions.  The fact is that, even with our ageing demographics, pensions in Scotland are more affordable by being spread across the shoulders of 63 million people rather than just 5 million people.

They have no answers on the EU. The experts, such as President Juncker, his predecessor Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy have all been perfectly clear, if we vote to leave the UK, we vote to leave the EU, and would have to reapply to get back in.

We have no idea how we would gain re-entry, how long it would take and on what terms. 

Experts such as Sir David Edward and the Law Society of Scotland have questioned the nationalists proposed timeframe, and called on them to outline a contingency plan. They have been met with silence from Alex Salmond. 

Finally, there is no answer on public services. Our schools and hospitals are protected by funding from across the UK, with all of the decisions taken in the Scottish Parliament. 

A No vote protects this.  The expert Institute for Fiscal Studies said that a separate Scotland would be facing tough choices on day one – having to find £6 billion from either spending cuts or tax rises.

When asked which it would be Alex Salmond was silent, leaving ordinary Scots in the dark because he has no answers.

Devolution has been a huge success for Scotland, giving us the best of both worlds: a Scottish Parliament with more powers guaranteed backed up by the strength, security and stability of the United Kingdom. The nationalists don’t have answers to the big questions, and the longer they dodge these questions, the more there is uncertainty and risk. Little wonder then that people are increasingly saying No Thanks. 

Jackie Baillie MSP, Scottish Labour