MEDIA RELEASE: Ruth Davidson

MEDIA RELEASE: Ruth Davidson

by ThinkScotland
article from Saturday 29, October, 2011

SAYING YES TO THE UNION IS THE KEY TO HALTING SALMOND, SAYS RUTH

Saying ‘yes’ to the Union while the SNP is the party always saying ‘no’ is the key to stopping Alex Salmond frog-marching Scotland towards separation, Scottish Conservative leadership contender Ruth Davidson declared today. [Sat] 

‘Promoting the Union and proclaiming the positive partnership between Scotland and the United Kingdom is the way to win this debate,’ she said.

‘Simply saying “no” to independence is no longer valid or effective. Let the Nationalists be the party that says “no” and let us give a voice to the great majority of Scots who believe in the Union and want to say “yes”’.

Speaking ahead of addressing party members and activists in Banchory, Kincardineshire, in the last week of campaigning before Friday’s ballot count,  Ruth said the next leader of the Scottish Conservatives would have a duty to be not only a dedicated  defender of the Union but to be also its chief promoter.

She said: ‘For far too long, the Nationalists have been allowed to set the agenda in the on-going constitutional debate. This is because their opponents have been too defensive and have not got on the front foot in support of the Union.

‘My message to them and to Alex Salmond is that on a straight choice between independence and the Union, the Union wins every time. It’s time we started getting that message over because it’s the message that the vast majority of Scots have been waiting to hear.

‘We must proclaim loudly and proudly that the Union between England and Scotland has delivered the most peaceful and prosperous times in our two nations’ history. We must proclaim loudly and proudly that Scotland will always be better off as part of the United Kingdom and that the United Kingdom will always be greater than the sum of its parts.

Ruth has published a radical five-point plan to restiore the party to a dynamic fighting force, underpinned by much greater engagement with grassroots members at constituency and association levels.

Today she challenged Mr Salmond to bring forward the much-vaunted independence referendum and to have the courage to offer a straightforward and unambiguous single question.

She added: ‘It’s time for us – not just our MSPs but the whole party and every member - to take the fight directly to separatists and to show them and the whole of Scotland that ours is the positive case; it is the Nationalists who are negative.’

Ruth criticised those who were equivocal in their support for the Union for fear of being seen as anti-Scottish.

‘If people think the Union is worth fighting for then they need to get off the fence and starting fighting,’ she said.

‘We will win this battle by always making a positive case for the Union. Separation is not progressive, it’s regressive. Proclaiming the partnership is not being anti-Scottish, it is being pro-Scottish.  

‘I am convinced there are hundreds of thousands of equally patriotic Scots who share my view - my vision of a successful Scotland within a strong Union – who instinctively want to vote Scottish Conservative.

‘Many have been dissuaded from doing so, not because they do not identify with our values and goals, but because they do not think the party has made a strong enough case for the Union.

‘The decision to make this leadership election for the whole party, and not just the MSPs group in Holyrood, presents a unique opportunity for the Scottish Conservatives to be the principal party that takes the fight to the SNP - and to win. 

‘We can do that, not just by attacking independence, but by proclaiming the partnership and hoisting the case for the Union above and beyond Mr Salmond’s backward, separatist agenda.  

‘In every aspect of life we can make that positive case for the Union, on security and stability, both in economic and military terms, as well as socially, culturally and historically and show it to be a better, more fruitful alternative to separation and divorce every time.’

She called for this to be the decade when Scotland moves on from discussing devolution to making devolution work.  

‘Once the Scotland Bill becomes law we need to move from discussing political process to tackling real issues. That doesn’t mean there can never be any change in the devolution settlement going forward, but it does mean we should work with the powers we have before evaluating whether more powers are transferred.  And for the same reasons, Mr Salmond should bring forward his referendum now.

‘I want to use the powers the Scottish Parliament has to make my vision of Scotland a reality. That means supporting families. It means supporting aspiration, and encouraging entrepreneurs.  It means ensuring our streets are safe, our schools are the best, and that everyone receives the best healthcare available.

‘Scotland faces huge challenges over the next decade.  It is up to politicians to work on facing these real challenges, not engaging in unnecessary discourse.  Scotland deserves better.

‘As a Conservative, I am an optimist. I believe we can overcome the challenges Scotland faces.  And I have absolutely no doubt it will be easier to accomplish as part of a strong United Kingdom.’

29.10.11

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