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The political parties backing Yes! Yes! tell us why we must vote for a Scots Parliament.

Scotland's main political parties have united in an historic truce to win a Parliament for the people.

Labour, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats have put aside the differences that had them at each others' throats in the General Election.

Now they are saying with one voice: Vote Yes! Yes! on the Government's plans for a Scottish Parliament.

The only party-poopers are the Tories, who are still licking their wounds after being trounced at the polls in May.

In total, the supporters of the three partner parties make up more than four out of five Scots.

They have joined together in an organisation called Scotland Forward to argue a unified case for Devolution.

It is an astonishing alliance that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

Strictly speaking, the SNP and Lib- Dems actually believe devolution does not go far enough.

The Lib-Dems want to see a federal system set up in Britain, with Scotland, England and Wales ALL having their own parliaments and very little left to a UK Parliament at Westminster.

And the SNP want Scotland to be an independent state within the United Kingdom.

But ALL three parties agree that the devolution plans put forward by Tony Blair's Labour Government are an historic step forward for the nation.

And they are ALL all backing them 100 per cent.

Here, the leaders of the three main Scottish parties, plus the Greens, tell why Yes! Yes! is the only vote for Scotland's future and prosperity tomorrow.

SCOTTISH

LABOUR - DONALD DEWAR

A Scottish Parliament will be what YOU make it. You will elect it. You will decide between the people, the parties and the policies.

Because that is what's on offer in the referendum.

Giving YOU more power, more influence over the decisions which matters in YOUR life. On health, education, jobs, law and order and the environment.

So although there will be two questions on the voting paper tomorrow, the real question you have to answer is simple: Do you believe the Scots can be trusted to run their own affairs?

I've never had any difficulty answering that question. I KNOW Scots can be trusted to make sensible decisions about Scotland's future.

But that is not the view of the Tories and the No, No campaigners. They don't trust you with decisions that affect your families' lives.

For that is what we are talking about - ordinary Scots and our families.

And who better to see Scots better educated, better cared for, with decent prospects and living in a safer, cleaner environment than the Scots themselves?

And ignore the Tory scares. Same old Tories, same old lies. There is nothing in our plans which means taxes will go up.

I make no apologies for wanting this parliament to have tax powers. Grown- up Parliaments have that power and I want this to be a grown-up Parliament.

But it is a power which the parliament might or might not use. Whether it did would be up to you when you elect the Scottish Parliament.

And remember, Tony Blair promised at the General Election that income tax will not be raised by Labour for five years. That pledge covers all the UK, including Scotland.

As for fears that our plans will be a stepping stone to independence, I don't agree.

I am confident Scots will want to see Scotland continue to prosper within the framework of the UK.

It isn't often we get the chance to make history. That is what is on offer tomorrow.

I believe Scots will seize that historic opportunity to vote for greater responsibility over our own domestic affairs - and then work together for a better Scotland.

Vote for Scotland. Vote Yes! Yes!

SNP - ALEX SALMOND

Scots have been longing for a change - and voting for it - for over a century.

Now is the time to vote decisively to take the cause of Scotland forward.

The SNP will always stand for independence.

But a devolved parliament represents a real improvement on remote control from London.

A Scottish Parliament - focusing 100 per cent of its time on what is best for Scotland - can deliver Scottish solutions tailored to Scottish circumstances.

It can invest in our hospitals, schools and universities. That is Scotland's priority, based on Scottish values.

It can step up the drive to market Scotland and our products abroad, and encourage investment in jobs and industry.

It can introduce proportional representation to local government - ensuring fairness and democracy in our council chambers - and deliver local control of local affairs.

Above all, a Parliament in Edinburgh can ensure that never again will London impose a poll tax on Scotland.

The Tories haven't gone away. They tell us that we can't afford democracy. They tell us to "Think Twice" -but fail to understand that Scotland has been thinking about constitutional change for a generation.

The poll tax and other right-wing follies like HCI in Clydebank and nursery vouchers would never have been introduced by a Parliament sensitive to Scottish needs and values.

So, far from not being able to afford democracy, the truth is we can't afford to remain under Westminster rule.

We are all proud of Scottish history.

Now we have the chance to cast a vote of confidence in Scotland's future.

Tomorrow the people of Scotland have the opportunity to decide how our nation enters the new millennium.

Vote Yes! Yes! for a better future and a new Scotland.

SCOTTISH

LIB-DEMS - JIM WALLACE

Scotland is a proud and self-confident nation.

Our sense of identity has survived Tory governments who have tried to impose anglicised solutions to Scottish problems.

Tories believe Scots can't be trusted to run our own affairs.

Well, Scotland has got rid of the Westminster Tories, but unless we get our Parliament, we could get them back.

A Scottish Parliament will make sure that Scotland is never again dominated by a minority government - Tory, Labour or anyone else.

A Scottish Parliament elected by proportional representation will give no party an overall majority, and politicians will have to co-operate.

A fair voting system will also ensure we have a Parliament which represents the whole of Scotland, from Shetland to Galloway.

Scotland is a distinct nation within the UK. We have our own education system but we aren't allowed to invest in it unless Westminster says so.

We have our own legal system, but no legislature!

Where is it written in tablets of stone that Westminster knows best? The Scottish health service was given less than half a day's debate at Westminster last year. In a Scottish Parliament it would have had days.

It's time to break free. A Yes! Yes! vote is the only vote for Scotland.

I'm voting yes to the second question because I believe the Parliament must have real power and the responsibility which comes with taxation powers.

The tax power will only be used if the people of Scotland vote for it - for investment in education, for example.

No one wants high taxation for the sake of it, but there has to be the power to raise revenue to pay for services if that's what people want.

A new, modern parliament will be fitting for a new, modern age.

Yes! Yes! is a vote worthy of a self-confident nation.

SCOTTISH GREEN PARTY - ROBIN HARPER

The Scottish Green Party has campaigned for a Scottish Parliament since 1972 to wrest control from Westminster and unelected quangos.

It is argued a Scottish Parliament would create a new level of bureaucracy and lead to the break-up of the Union. The bureaucracy is already there in the shape of the Scottish Office and the quangos that cost about 20 times the projected costs of a Scottish Parliament.

With our own Parliament, we could control the use of land, develop our industries and transport systems and improve our environment. All we need is the courage to vote for it.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 10, 1997
Words:1311
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