The SNP’s vision of Scottish independence is a “pale imitation” of what nationalists used to dream of, the Scottish Secretary will say today (Wednesday).
Michael Moore, who is spearheading the UK Government’s campaign to keep the UK together, will accuse the SNP of “creatively” redefining independence.
The SNP has gone from arguing for a new way of running the country to trying to assure people in Scotland that the benefits of the UK will be maintained, he will say in a speech in the Wallace Suite of Dunfermline’s Carnegie Conference Centre this morning.
“We’ve looked carefully at the Scottish Government’s overarching arguments and their approach, and you have to give them credit for some creative thinking about what independence means,” Mr Moore will say.
“I have always taken it to mean a separate country making its way in the world, choosing new and different policy paths, which the proponents of independence have argued are necessary.
“The simple truth is if we break up the United Kingdom, we will have turned our backs on our shared interests so that we can instead develop separate interests.
“Doing things differently and creating differences is at the heart of separating Scotland from the rest of the UK. It is the inherent logic of creating a separate Scottish state, even if the advocates of independence spend rather a lot of time trying to assure us that all the good things we have as part of the United Kingdom can be maintained under independence: that there will be no change to speak of.
“That is a creative approach, but it doesn’t really add up. Those who advocate independence are surely not saying to people in Scotland, ‘vote for independence to keep everything the same as it is now’?
“And more to the point, it is something that they cannot faithfully promise or deliver. Indeed, even its own supporters are starting to question this vision of independence as a pale imitation of what they used to dream of.”
SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing said Mr Moore was “aping the language of the Tories” in the speech.
She said: “A Yes vote for independence means completing Scotland’s home rule journey, so that we have the political and economic powers in Scotland to take the decisions that are right for Scotland.
“Leaving decisions in the hands of Westminster is what is causing real upheaval to tens of thousands of families and vulnerable people in Scotland right now, though unfair measures such as benefits cuts for hard-working families, while the tax for millionaires is cut.
“Independence means having the powers we need in Scotland, and a new relationship of equality with our friends and neighbours south of the border, including sharing arrangements where that makes sense – such as currency and head of state. That is the best of both worlds.”