Referendum vote should not be based on ‘bedroom tax’, says Darling

Head of Better Together campaign insists 2014 about more than next government

by Mar 16, 2013 5 Comments

Issues like the ‘bedroom tax’ should not be the basis for people to decide whether to vote for independence, the head of the Better Together campaign said today.

Labour MP Alistair Darling made an appearance at the Scottish Liberal Democrats conference as part of the campaign to keep Scotland in the Union.

Speaking to Holyrood ahead of a joint speech between him and former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy, he said the vote next year was not just about choosing the next government.

His comments came after Scottish Lib Dems voted to defer and reconsider the controversial social housing under-occupancy charge.

He said: “I keep making the point that we are deciding in a referendum on the future of the next 300 years.

“This is not about electing the next government which if you don’t like you can kick them out after five years.

“I think the bedroom tax is unfair, unjust. But Better Together is on a much wider basis. People will elect several different governments both in Scotland and in the UK over the next 300 years , but we are talking about a lifetime, not something for the next parliament.”

Darling added that Better Together, which has had a stall at the conference, was attracting people who had never been involved in politics before, but just wanted to preserve the United Kingdom.

He said: “The thing is, right from the start we have said, we won’t win if this is some kind of political ding-dong between the parties. People don’t want that. This is an opportunity for people who for understandable reasons don’t want to be involved in party politics. Better Together is deliberately set up to include people from different political backgrounds and some with none at all.”

Neil Evans Neil Evans

Neil joined Holyrood as Environment Correspondent in 2012, covering issues including climate change, the rise in renewable energy and protecting Scotland's wildlife and natural environment. In 2013 he was named Best Journalist in the Scottish Green Energy...


  1. LisaR

    How damned flippant of Darling to say about kicking out a Gov after 5 years if you don’t like what they are doing. How many people suffer in that five years? how many folk die.commit suicide in that five years and how much damage to the country does that Gov make in five years? Maybe Scots are sick and tired of being battered from anyone that’s in power in Uk Government and Independence is about choosing a party and that party knowing they have to listen to the Scots, unlike the UKGovs of the past especially Darling’s one….Scots have never been listened to! Darling away down south and preach to those that believe your distorted rhetoric because Scots have seen through you and London Labour!

  2. Norrie

    Was there a stand for the Yes campaign at the conference?

  3. RevStu

    If we’re not supposed to decide about independence according to policies, why does Darling’s party keep telling us that “togetherness” is the only way to achive political goals like social justice and wealth redistribution?

  4. Tony

    Well if the referendum is NOT about electing a government for Scotland – and it isn’t – perhaps Mr D can explain why he and his fellow pro-dependency campaigners keep insisting that Alex Salmond states what the Scottish policy will be on defence, or taxes, or education, or … you get the picture. All of these are POLICY CHOICES for a future Scottish government. The difference is that if Scotland becomes independent again, those decisions will be made IN Scotland, and not in London.

    So let’s drop the hypocrisy shall we.

  5. Michael

    It shouldn’t be about issues that show how miserable and unjust the Union is. No, I don’t expect that that would suit Darling at all.

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