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Tory IndyRef Speech - Better Together, Stronger as One
My dear friends thank you for coming and welcome.
This referendum is the single most important decision that may ever face the voters of Scotland, a once in a lifetime chance to decide whether your future lies in the UK or if your future lies outside. Now I believe very passionately that Scotland's future and people are best served inside the United Kingdom with a "no" vote, I believe that the United Kingdom will be able to better serve the Scottish people's interests in terms of growth and aspiration, I believe Scottish businesses will be better placed in terms of investment and opportunity inside the United Kingdom, and I believe that the Scotland as a political entity will be best served as an equal member of our family of nations. This referendum is a once in a lifetime choice, there are no take backs or second chances, if you vote "yes" to leave the UK then that will be the end of the discussion and Scotland will leave, if you vote "no" to remain then that will be the end of the discussion and Scotland will remain in the UK. Either way the decision is final.
Now I believe that Scotland should remain in the United Kingdom because I believe that Scotland is best off inside our family of nations. Take the economy as but one example. As a result of the difficult decisions made by the previous Government the UK economy is growing by 2.7% this year, real wages are growing, and inflation is kept steady. The UK has a large, dynamic, and vibrant economy with many moving parts including cutting edge manufacturing, finance, and service sectors. Now as a part of that economy Scotland has access to all the benefits that that entails. When British the economy grows as it has been Scotland sees the benefits, the increased investment, the lower unemployment, and the stronger pound. If Scotland were to go it alone then the Scottish economy would not have access to these benefits, it would need a new currency, it would need to forge its own fiscal path, and it would need to generate its own investment. The Scottish economy is better off inside the United Kingdom, no matter how many dodgy oil forecasts the SNP trot out to try and promote their flimsy case for independence.
But there are so many other reasons why Scotland is better off inside the United Kingdom. The Conservative Party have long been saying that a "no" vote to remain inside the United Kingdom does not mean a return to the status quo, it means a genesis of a new constitutional settlement for the entirety of the United Kingdom. At the last election I led the charge with my party for a new devolutionary settlement for the Scottish people, a devolutionary settlement where Holyrood would be given far more of a say over the running of the Scottish people's lives than they are currently. Our manifesto included measures to fully devolve income tax variation to Holyrood giving the Scottish Parliament the power to generate additional revenues or cover the cost of an income tax cut for every single one of you, we pledged to devolve a 5% variation on the rate of corporation tax giving the Scottish Parliament the chance to entice business to Scotland with a cut, or again generate additional revenue with a raise, and we pledged to ensure that devolution cannot simply be unpicked by Westminster with our double lock ensuring that Holyrood can only be abandoned by referendum or by 2/3rds majority in the Scottish Parliament. Voting to remain in the United Kingdom is not only not a vote for the status quo it is a vote for an empowered Scotland with the chance to take ownership of the issues that most effect you, the Scottish people.
An empowered Scotland with a strong economy is the vision put forward by those of us who believe that Scotland should most definitely remain inside the United Kingdom, it is a message endorsed by every single party in the Better Together campaign in some form or another. This is what the SNP want you to forgo in return for their nationalist experiment. At the end of the day this campaign has been hotly contested but know this, if you vote "yes" to leave then that is it. This isn't your average run of the mill election where this time you can vote to give the Tories a bloody nose whilst next time you vote to throw Labour out of power, this decision sticks. As I have said before if you believe that Scotland should be an independent country then vote for it, that is your right and it is your prerogative, but if your vote is based on an aversion to myself, the Prime Minister, or Westminster in general then you have got to vote "no" to remain in the United Kingdom because there is no second chance. Scotland will not become independent after the referendum, wait a couple of years, and then hold a referendum on rejoining the union, that's not how this works. If you are not 100% committed to the independence cause come rain or shine then vote for the future with growth and investment, a future where Scotland is a member of the United Kingdom rather than alone.
That is the choice ladies and gentlemen, as Scotland goes to the polls tomorrow it is a choice between narrow nationalism and broad opportunity, revolution or evolution, but at the end of the day whichever choice is made it will be final. I believe passionately that Scotland is better off inside the United Kingdom, our family of nations, because I believe that the best opportunities for Scotland and her people are in the United Kingdom. As a member of a G8 country Scotland will be able to enjoy lower unemployment, higher growth, and far greater investments than if it went it alone, this will benefit the people of Scotland no end making the Scottish people better off in terms of income and in terms of quality of life. The greater devolution promised in some form by every party in the Better Together campaign will give Holyrood the power to work in the interests of the Scottish people in a meaningful way allowing them the chance to generate additional revenues or to pay for tax reductions for the people and for small business allowing the Scottish economy the chance to grow. This referendum is a once in a lifetime decision, I pray that the people of Scotland choose to vote "no" and remain in our family of nations.
Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire
Leader of the Opposition (2014-16)
Prime Minister (2014)
Parliamentary Experience: Novice (25)
Media Experience: Experienced (62)
Policy Experience: Novice (29)