September 18th 2014 | Scotland

With so little time left until the vote, what is your final message to the people of Scotland?

no inside

By Blair McDougall

We do not need to be a separate nation to be a better nation.

The vote on the referendum is the biggest decision we will ever take as a country. It is not like a general election where we can change our mind in four years. If we leave the UK, it will be forever. There will be no going back.

Leaving the UK means taking on a whole load of risks. Risks to jobs, pensions, prices, our pound and public services like our NHS.

Why take the risk when faster, better, safer change is coming with a No vote?

As part of the UK, we fought fascism, created the NHS, built the welfare state and delivered the minimum wage.

With our Scottish Parliament, we have full control over the NHS, over education, policing, housing, transport and even more powers are guaranteed. More powers over taxation, more powers over welfare, and more powers to borrow to invest in our economy. Change is coming.

Faster, better, safer change. Guaranteed.

The reaction of major employers in Scotland to the possibility of independence makes clear the risk involved. Billions were wiped off of the value of Scottish companies, the pound fell sharply, and employers announced contingency plans to move their headquarters to London if we leave the UK to protect their businesses.

We saw retail bosses announce that prices would rise. We saw phone companies say costs would rise. Times are tough enough for hard pressed families across Scotland – why make them harder.

And when the eyes of the world looked at the nationalists’ plans, they recoiled in horror. Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman looked at the SNP’s plans and concluded that the people of Scotland had been misled.

We deserve better than to be misled. We deserve straight answers to basic questions.

Then came the NHS.

The nationalists’ campaign on the NHS was simply shameful. An attempt to mislead the most vulnerable on our communities. An attempt to win votes through sheer fear.

Then the impartial, independent experts at the Institute for Fiscal Studies looked at their claims on the NHS. They concluded that not only where they wrong, but that the best way to protect the NHS in Scotland is a strong Scottish Parliament backed up by the strength, security and stability of being part of the UK.

They found that leaving the UK would create an extra £6 billion deficit. It would mean an extra £6 billion in spending cuts.  That is half of our entire NHS budget. That is austerity plus.

Then yesterday it emerged that the entire time the SNP were planning cuts to the NHS worth nearly half a billion for after the referendum.

They have shamefully politicised the NHS whilst planning to cut it.

We don’t need to take these risks.

We can have what most of us want – more powers for Scotland without taking on all of the risks on independence or losing the opportunities that come with being a part of the UK. We should vote no tomorrow, because we do not have to be a separate nation to be a better nation.

Blair McDougall, Better Together Campaign Director