Referendum campaign under way in Argyll and Bute

The independence referendum campaign is well under way in Argyll and Bute following the announcement by first minister Alex Salmond this week that the vote will be held on September 18, 2014.

Michael Russell, the SNP’s constituency MSP for Argyll and Bute, said he was looking forward to the debate over the next 18 months.

“We can now concentrate fully on the substance of the debate, on how Scoland can become a fairer, more prosperous and more socially just society,” Mr Russell said.

“I welcome that, it is no secret that I will be campaigning for a yes vote and I am looking forward immensly to bringing our compelling argument to every part of the constituency.”

Jamie McGrigor, Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands and an Argyll resident, said he wanted the SNP to provide detailed answers on wha taxation, pensions and defence would look like in an independent Scotland.

“Now that we have the date of the referendum confirmed, it is incumbent on the SNP to set out for voters exactly what they are proposing if Scotland were to become independent,” Mr McGrigor said.

“Many of the constituents I speak to have specific concerns about what independence would mean for tax levels here, pensions and the defence of a separate Scotland.

“In terms of defence the SNP’s policy seems confused at the very least as they say they want to push the trident submarines south of the border, yet at the same time they want to remain part of NATO which is a pro-nuclear alliance.

“Trident supports more than 6,500 jobs at Faslane and this will rise to more than 8,000 jobs when the submarine fleet relocates to HMNB Clyde. What would the SNP do to prevent the potential economic devastation of the Faslane, Helensburgh and Clyde area?

“The SNP say that Scotland will save £163 million a year if it gets rid of Trident but different SNP spokesmen have spent that money many times over on, for example, shovel-ready projects, job creation, health, education and welfare.

“And they themselves admit the cost alone of setting up and running a new Scottish tax system would be almost double any anticipated saving from removing Trident.

“I am joined with the majority in supporting the Better Together campaign to continue to make the positive case for Scotland remaining as a valued partner in our United Kingdom and we will be challenging the SNP to provide detail on their plans for a Scotland which they want to separate from the Union.”