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Kennedy calls for highland voices in referendum debate

February 10, 2014 2:35 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, CharlesCharles KennedyCharles Kennedy Kennedy, has said that a distinct tone and voice is needed to urge people in the Highlands and islands to vote for a stronger Scotland within the UK.

Speaking at a Better Together Regional Training meeting at the Thistle Inverness hotel over the weekend, Mr Kennedy said:

"As the referendum campaign nationally becomes steadily more engaged I want to offer a couple of reflections from the perspective of the Highland & Islands.

"First, the need here is for a distinct tone of voice. Ours is not a mirror image of the essentially Labour - SNP battle taking place across the Central Belt.

"While all the same essential questions being posed of the Yes campaign apply, both the political geography and campaigning history across our unique area of Scotland requires even more emphasis on the constructive and the positive.

"Second, there is a pressing need for those of us in the Better Together vanguard to set out our post referendum scenario for the Highlands & Islands.

"This, I believe, must focus on the necessity for more devolution - but within and across Scotland. And nowhere more so than here.

"This SNP government has centralised within Scotland to an extraordinary extent - and to the specific detriment of the Highlands & Islands. We are seeing it over fire and police services; we have previously experienced it over the Crofting Commission and Highlands & Islands Enterprise. Even Mrs. Thatcher, at the peak of her powers, would have baulked at such political audacity.

"These messages and this approach will resonate with voters from across the political spectrum and across the Highlands & Islands. I recommend them to our campaigners."