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Darling Salmond Article

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Darling Salmond Article

  1. 1. Issue 1 08.09.15 Price: free For more exclusive, up to date and interesting student content, check out our website: www.thegaudie.co.uk The Gaudie now has an app which can be downloaded from the Apple and Android Stores. facebook/thegaudie | @the_gaudie News Opine Sports Corbynmania p. 7 UoA is new living wage employer p. 3 Iran in the 21st century p. 13 Women with balls p. 15 IV MAGAZINE Brave Battle Juicy Plums Cyber Threats Scottish Festivals p. 4 p. 7 p. 8 p. 10One Year On:The Interviews Turn to Features where the two titans of the referendum debate, Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond, speak to us about the aftermath of the vote. p.8
  2. 2. 08.09.15 p.8 There is little love lost between the two sides of the referendum. When two men so passionately campaign for polar opposite results it is no surprise. Almost a year has passed since the 18th of September, a defining day in Scottish history. That day the people of Scotland voted to remain as part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The margins of victory were slim, 55.3% to 44.7%, a difference of only 383,937 voters. However, the aftershock of such a close and bitter battle between the Better Together and Yes campaigns was felt long after the end of the referendum, in the general election which took place eight months later. On May the 7th the SNP decimated all parties north of the border, taking all but three of the Scottish seats at Westminster. It is fair to say the leaders of the two campaigns have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in the past year. Alistair Darling experienced the victory as leader of the Better Together campaign while Alex Salmond was left devastated by the loss, only for their emotions to be reversed a matter of months after the referendum, in the general elections. Following a turbulent year and matching political careers, both men have elected to step away from the spotlight. Darling has retired and Salmond stepped down as First Minister of Scotland and will not run for re-election to Holyrood in 2016. A year on from that landmark day in Scottish politics, Thomas Danielian sat down with Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling separately, to gauge their views on the battle that drew interest from across the world. Among other topics covered were the general election, student fees, the bitter labour leadership battle and their opinions on each other. Similar questions were asked, but very different answers were given. The Referendum: One Year On UK General Election 2015 Results Yes 44.7% No 55.3% Scottish Independence Referendum Results Scottish Independence Referendum Results (Scotland) SNP 50% LAB 24.3% CON 14.9% LD 7.5% UK General Election 2015 Results (Scotland) “It was a cry for something better. In Scotland they went for nationalists, in England they went for UKIP” A. Darling Infographics by Marketa Slukova; Photos left to right: by Wikipedia Commons; by Graham Dargie How 20-24 year-olds voted in the Scottish Independence Referendum 48.6% 51.4% 48.6% 51.4% How 16-20 year-olds voted in the Scottish Independence Referendum 37.5% 62.5% 48.6% 51.4%
  3. 3. p. 25 p.9 08.09.15 DARLING It is nearly a year on from the referendum. Are there any moments that stick in your memory above all others from this incredible political moment? Not anything one thing that sticks out except the result. I always thought we’d win, I always thought it would be closer than everyone said at the beginning. What was my abiding impression? The very long, slow, hard grind of the campaign. It was like a two and a half year election campaign. The Nationalists wanted a long campaign to grind down opposition and to rubbish anything or anyone who attacked them and fight on emotion. How do you think the nation of Scotland has changed since the 18th of September? In the General election, particularly in Scotland, you had people following their safe decision in the referendum who then said: “well I’m going to vote for change”. It was a cry for something better. In Scotland they went for nationalists, in England they went for UKIP. In continental Europe you are seeing worrying signs. In France for example it is not inconceivable that a far right President may take power. In Germany it is the same and Greece have the Syriza. A lot of people want something different. Why are we (the students) better off as part of the UK? Are tuition fees safe? The universities benefit massively from being part of the UK, not least because of research funding. We would not be part of that if we were independent. If we want our universities to remain globally competitive then they need more money to compensate for subsidized tuition. This is why they have cut free education places. 130,000 places have gone. If free tuition is (the SNP’s) policy and funding will come through the tax payer, then either taxes come up or you cut your spending elsewhere. What changes have taken place that would change No voters minds? The SNP point to the Smith commission as an indication of the ‘failure’ of staying united. What Smith came out with after the election was never discussed during the referendum. The commission was really set up in advance of the referendum to iron out the differences between the three unionist parties about what powers can come to Scotland. How much of an impact do you think the referendum had on the General Elections this year? We did not have a credible economic policy or a good welfare policy. This and the people wanting change from the way politics is, is what led to such a big change. Do you think the SNP landslide defeat of all parties above the border is a mandate to pursue a second referendum? Absolutely not and if they stick to what they said during the referendum they will not. A lot of the people in the Labour party lost their confidence. Edinburgh and Aberdeen were 60% No, then switched to majority SNP constituencies. Who is your preferred Labour leader? What are your views on the Leadership race and especially Jeremy Corbyn? Liz Kendall. She is asking the right questions and challenging why we lost. It is gong to be tough to win in 2020 regardless of who is the candidate. People like Corbyn because he is ‘Non- Mainstream’, but his views have not changed in 30 years. Corbyn is harvesting the same crop of change seekers as the SNP. If you look at the track record of his backers in the past, you have every reason to be apprehensive. Should the UK stay in the EU? Would the UK leaving the EU lead to another referendum? I am entirely consistent on this. I think we are Better Together as part of the UK and Better Together as part of the EU. We are influencers. It is not just a question of trade and economics; it is also about where we stand in the world. If you believe you can achieve more by working together, like I do in Scotland, then it makes sense to think they same for Europe. I think so much would change within the body politic of the UK. Whether or not it would lead immediately to a referendum I don’t know. What is your most memorable moment as a politician? I always say it is up to someone else to write my obituary. The most memorable moment for me is the banking crisis in 2008. I have only had one really scary call in my life and that was when I had to speak to the then chairman of RBS. (It was the) 7th of October 2008, when the bank was just hemorrhaging money. We had a plan almost read to go. We asked the bank “How long can you last?” and were told “About two or three hours.” If it had come down, all the others in the world would have come down with it. The entire system would have collapsed. This was one of those moments where I could make a difference, an irrevocable difference. SALMOND It is nearly a year on from the referendum. Are there any moments that stick in your memory above all others from that incredible political moment? I very clearly remember a moment from the campaign on Monday the 1st of September. We were in Dundee campaigning next to the statue of Desperate Dan and I noticed a queue of people. I went up to a man at the back of the line and asked him why they were standing there. He told me that it was their last opportunity to register to vote. The man said it was the first time since the introduction of the poll tax that he had felt like there was something worth voting for. That moment, when someone felt compelled to do something they had not done in a long time, was a special moment for me. How do you think the nation of Scotland has changed since the 18th of September? The referendum really galvanised the population. In other votes you have to go and ‘chap on their door’ and make them vote. Yet, for this vote, there was incredible interest across all age groups from all backgrounds. The vote really galvanised the population and the excitement carried on, through to the general election. The change in interest in politics is like going from monochrome to Technicolor. 98% registration and 85% turn out is unheard of and that’s what we had. How much of a difference would being independent make for the student population? Are tuition fees safe? Let me put it this way: ‘The rocks would melt in the sun’, before there are tuition fees in Scotland. I don’t think any SNP government will ever introduce tuition fees. Practically it is far better not to have barriers to education for an economy and a society, but also free education is a fundamental part of Scottish history. The Scottish stance on education is what makes it a truly special country. What changes have taken place that would change No voters minds? The failure of the Smith commission has already demonstrated why we should be independent. When the unionist campaign won David Cameron came sauntering out of No. 10 Downing Street as if that was that and Scotland would no longer ‘be a problem’. How much of an impact do you think the referendum had on the General Elections this year? The failure of the Westminster parties to stick to what was discussed in the Smith commission was a big factor. Those who changed to vote SNP at the General election changed because of buyers remorse. Do you think the SNP landslide defeat of all parties above the border is a mandate to pursue a second referendum? No. We didn’t ask for a second one. It is no mandate. Only a mandate if you ask. It is a mandate for many things that were clearly demanded: 1. That ‘The Vow’ that was made in the last desperate days of the referendum, fronted by Gordon Brown, be upheld. They said there would be Devo(lution) to the max, home rule, whatever you want to call it. They say the Smith commission fulfilled these promises. The Scottish people have said that was not the case. It is a mandate for the delivery for ‘The Vow’as it was stated last autumn. 2. A mandate against austerity economics. Another key aspect of the election was Nicola (Sturgeon) taking a stand against this. Clearly the Scottish people agreed with us about this. Which of the Labour leadership candidates would you work with in Parliament? Who is your preferred victor? A long time ago when this leadership battle started that ( Jeremy) Corbyn was not to be underrated. I have known him for 30 years. He is not a fool. I don’t agree with Jeremy on a lot of things, he doesn’t know anything about Scotland and he will freely admit that. He is a long-standing supporter of Irish republicanism, but has never supported Scottish nationalism. However, I agree with him on a lot more topics. Kezia Dugdale said he should not be leader because he had rebelled against Labour so many times, but that was all about the Iraq war on which we lobbied together. I think there would be more areas we could co-operate on. His main problem will be internal politics. Co-operating with the SNP will be the least of his problems. Should the UK stay in the EU? Would the UK leaving the EU lead to another referendum? Yes and Yes. What is your most memorable moment as a politician? The 45% in the referendum was a proud thing and so in a sense my resignation speech. It sounds a strange thing to say but it was a good speech. How you resign is very important in politics I think, because it tells a lot of what you want to do and who you are. My proudest achievement would be the abolition of student fees. That was important to me, really, really, really important.

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