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Liberal Youth Scotland backs Fred Mackintosh

Thank you for visiting our website.

The Lib Dem team is campaigning for communities across all of south and south-west Edinburgh. Our Citizen and Focus teams have been actively campaigning in the city for over 40 years.

The Edinburgh South seat at Westminster remains one of the most marginal Lib Dem / Labour battlegrounds in the country and we are determined to win back the Edinburgh South seat at Holyrood.

On this site you will find information on what is happening in south Edinburgh (that's Edinburgh South and Edinburgh Pentlands, and at Westminster, Edinburgh South and Edinburgh South West). And you can find out about the work we're doing on behalf of the people and communities amongst which we live.

STOP PRESS: A record of delivery - read what the LibDems have delivered in government (click here)

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Recent updates

  • Article: Aug 19, 2014

    Former Liberal Democrat leader and member of the House of Commons Sir Menzies CampbellSir Menzies CampbellForeign Affairs Committee, Sir Menzies Campbell, has said that there can be no guarantee that every other member of the NATO alliance would be willing to accept the terms the SNP would seek in the event of independence.

    The comments come after NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that an independent Scotland would need unanimous agreement from all 28 member states in order to gain entry to the defence union.

    Sir Menzies Campbell said:

    "The NATO Secretary-General has spelled out in black and white the entry process for membership of the most successful defensive alliance in history. Since NATO operates by unanimity an independent Scotland would require to satisfy all and every one of the other members of its willingness to accept not only the benefits but the obligation of NATO membership. To do the latter it would require to accept NATO's Strategic Concept (mission statement) which sets out clearly that the deterrence is based upon conventional and nuclear means.

    "Removing Trident from Faslane and accepting the strategic deterrence at the same time would be, to say the least, contradictory and inevitably feature in consideration of an independent Scotland's application. There can be no guarantee that every other member of the alliance, particularly those who have joined recently and accepted the strategic concept, would be willing to cut an independent Scotland the slack which the SNP government optimistically anticipates.

    "The fact that Denmark is in a different position from other members does not automatically mean that the alliance as a whole would accept any further dilution. To impose in advance conditions for joining is hardly likely to encourage the existing membership to accept unanimously an independent Scotland's application."

  • Article: Aug 18, 2014

    Commenting on news that former Scottish Government Minister Sam Galbraith has passed away, Lord Jim Wallace said:

    "I am very saddened to learn of Sam Galbraith's death.

    "As a colleague in Scotland's first government after devolution, I got to know Sam as a man whose robust opinions commanded respect and whose judgement I could readily trust. His resilience in tackling his health challenges matched the commitment he showed to public service, throughout his life.

    "It was a privilege to work alongside him in coalition, and I very much wish to recognise the significant contribution he made, in helping our fledgling Parliament to mature and work well for Scotland.

    "My thoughts and condolences are very much with his family, as they mourn his loss."

  • Article: Aug 18, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrats will be making the case for a stronger Malcolm BruceMalcolm BruceScotland within the United Kingdom from Shetland to the Borders as the referendum campaign enters its final month.

    Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs and MSPs will be working with activists in their local areas to contact hundreds of thousands of voters over the next four weeks.

    The final stage of the grassroots Scottish Liberal Democrat referendum campaign will include:

    - Hundreds of thousands of leaflets delivered across Scotland
    - Public meetings and referendum Q&A's across the country
    - Conversations with tens of thousands of voters

    Commenting, Scottish Liberal Democrat party president Sir Malcolm Bruce said:

    "This is the longest campaign that I have ever been involved in and Scottish Liberal Democrats have been working hard to make the case for a stronger Scotland within the United Kingdom.

    "As a party, we have always championed home rule and Liberal Democrats were at the heart of efforts to secure the creation of the Scottish Parliament.

    "From the Borders to the north of Shetland, we have been knocking doors, hosting public meetings, delivering leaflets and speaking to undecided voters about what being part of the UK means for Scotland. For jobs, for families and for the opportunities available to Scots.

    "With the vote now just one month away the pace is picking up and so is the enthusiasm we are seeing in our teams across the country. We will be working tirelessly to make the positive case for a stronger Scotland within the UK between now and September 18th."

  • Article: Aug 18, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP today said that timeWillie RennieWillie Rennie is running out for the First Minster to give Scots the answers they need over what independence would mean for them.

    Mr Rennie was speaking after the First Minister unveiled a new Declaration of Arbroath this afternoon.

    Commenting, Mr Rennie said:

    "Invoking the spirit of Robert the Bruce and the Declaration of Arbroath is something that is likely to hit home with hard-line supporters of independence. But preaching to the Nationalist choir like this is a clear sign that he is losing the big arguments. Harking back to a very different world fails to address the needs of a modern, forward looking nation. Partnership, not past divisions is something that people in Scotland want.

    "With one month to go until the referendum the First Minister has given up on giving people the answers they need about what independence would mean for them. Instead, we are seeing photo opportunities heavy on historical symbolism but light on substance.

    "The First Minister has deliberately kept Scots in the dark over currency and has been found out on his NHS claims. With less than two weeks until postal voters begin to cast their ballots, time is running out for answers from the SNP."

  • Article: Aug 15, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume MSP has calledJim HumeJim Hume for action after figures revealed thousands of older patients may have been discharged from hospital in the middle of the night.

    Figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats through freedom of information laws showed that last year over 7000 patients over the age of 65 were discharged from hospital between 9pm and 9am. 2641 patients over the age of 80 are also recorded as having been discharged late at night.

    Responses from Scotland's health boards also revealed that the online system used to monitor patient records does not record the specific time of which the inpatient was discharged. Instead it reflects when the data was entered into the system. Scottish Liberal Democrats have warned that the lack of accurate information prevents hospital managers from providing the highest standard of care to patients.

    Mr Hume said:

    "People deserve to know that their loved ones are receiving the highest standard of care. It's worrying to learn that over 2,500 patients over the age of 80 may be being discharged late at night from some hospitals.

    "Our figures show that in NHS Grampian there were 953 patients aged 80 or over, and 2513 patients aged 65 or older who were recorded as discharged between 9pm and 9am. It's concerning that the patient records system means so many health boards are unable to provide clarity over the true scale of late night discharges. This is unacceptable and prevents hospitals from providing the highest standard of care to patients.

    "In some cases patients may have self-discharged or staff may have updated their record in the quieter times in the evenings. However I don't believe that a single older patient should have to face returning home from hospital in the early hours of the morning. That is why I want to see action taken to rule against the practise of late night discharges for inpatients. This is in line with the good practise already seen in hospitals in Shetland, Tayside and Forth Valley.

    "Being admitted to hospital is a tremendously distressing experience without the added upset of being discharged late at night. In light of these new figures I am sure that patients and their families will be keen for health boards across Scotland to adopt a robust policy on discharges."

  • Article: Aug 14, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie has called on FinanceWillie RennieWillie Rennie Secretary John Swinney to explain why he exaggerated in his claims that the Scottish Government had technical discussions with the Bank of England over its independence proposals for a formal currency union with the UK.

    The call comes after the Bank of England issued a statement today which said that it has not entered into discussions with representatives of the Scottish Government about proposals for future monetary arrangements.

    Mr Rennie said:

    "The Nationalists have repeatedly sought to inflate the credibility of their currency plans. It is very serious that the Bank of England has taken the unusual step of correcting the statement from John Swinney.

    "We need John Swinney to explain why he exaggerated. He must now provide complete clarity over those claims and be upfront with the people of Scotland."

  • Article: Aug 14, 2014

    As a review of policy on the routine deployment of armed police isMike CrockartMike Crockart announced, Edinburgh MP Mike Crockart reflects on his time in the police and examines the debate on armed officers:

    Twenty-four years ago I joined Lothian and Borders Police Force, making an oath to "faithfully discharge the duties of the office of constable".

    Even then there was a debate about whether officers were properly equipped to defend themselves and others. For me, then as now, the answer does not lie in routinely arming our police.

    The wording of the oath I took with such pride is important. It reinforces the nearly two-centuries-old idea of policing by consent laid out by Sir Robert Peel in his nine police principles. It's a principle which, to this day, has guided us against routinely arming our police in contrast to much of the rest of the world.

    Peel said: "The police are the public and the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare".

    So it's extremely worrying that a departure from this founding principle has happened quietly in Scotland. There has been no opportunity for public debate, no chance to say no. It was a decision taken at police headquarters. But it is a choice which fundamentally changes the relationship between police and communities. The change moves us away from the idea that police officers operate with public consent and collaboration.

    Chief Superintendent Mark Williams, Local Police Commander for Edinburgh, has argued that the routine arming of even a small number of officers is "justifiable" and "necessary" because "serious incidents are sufficiently common in Edinburgh that it's not a disproportionate or unjustifiable response".

    It's worth pausing for a moment to examine that claim.
    Look up Edinburgh Division on the Police Scotland website and it proudly boasts that the city was ranked recently by YouGov as "one of the top five safest cities in the UK". In 2013-14, officers in Edinburgh only had cause to present or discharge weapons, including Tasers and baton rounds, 13 times. There are nine such incidents for this year - roughly one per month.

    Undoubtedly our police officers face very real dangers, but serious incidents make up a minority of police call outs. Are we really prepared to arm our officers routinely to deal with a tiny proportion of cases? As an officer I didn't believe that we should and as a MP I certainly don't.

    The far-stronger case is to issue non-lethal options like CS or pepper spray to frontline officers. By doing that we answer the threat they face on our behalf without destroying Peel's fundamental principle.
    Some people, including serving officers, will disagree. I respect that.

    But we need to have that conversation. So whatever we decide to do, whatever we accept as a society as being reasonable, it must only happen following a proper public debate and it must be proportionate to the threat officers face on our behalf.

  • Article: Aug 14, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrats have today applauded a decision by HM Alison McInnesAlison McInnesInspectorate for Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) and the Scottish Police Authority to undertake a review and inquiry into Police Scotland's policy on armed policing.

    After weeks of calling for a full and formal review into armed police attending routine duties whilst carrying guns overtly, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes said the decision was a victory for local communities.

    The SPA inquiry and the HMICS assurance review will both report to the SPA at a public meeting on the 17th December.

    Ms McInnes said:

    "This is a victory for local communities. After months of pressure from Scottish Liberal Democrats up and down the country, the public and campaign groups, the SPA and HMICS have belatedly recognised that this fundamental change must be formally and thoroughly scrutinised. We need to know if the Scotland-wide policy on armed policing is proportionate to the risks in individual communities in Scotland.

    "After months of dismissing our concerns, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill must now change his tune and publicly back this review."

  • Article: Aug 14, 2014

    Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie has welcomed aWillie RennieWillie Rennie significant contribution from the Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy to the debate on allocating powers effectively across Scotland.

    A report from the Commission published today after a year of taking evidence set out a range of measures which suggested how local authorities could become more accountable to their communities.

    Mr Rennie gave evidence to the Commission last year, putting forward key findings from his party's Campbell Commission. A number of the Scottish Liberal Democrat plans to strengthen local communities have been carried forward in the report today, including calls for councils to raise more of what they spend.

    Commenting on the report, Mr Rennie said:

    "I gave evidence to the Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy last year. I'm pleased that this significant report contains the proposals Scottish Liberal Democrats have made on equipping local government with powers to better serve their communities. Giving local authorities powers over their own business rates means they can work more closely with local businesses and boost their local economies. This is the kind of local and responsive decision-making we need in order to build a stronger economy for all of Scotland.

    "Sadly, SNP ministers have presided over the most centralising government we have seen. Police, fire, council tax, hospital funding, colleges and enterprise support have all seen their local accountability stripped away in the last seven years.

    "This new contribution reflects the chorus of people in Scotland who feel that the SNP's centralisation agenda is out of touch with the real ambitions of local communities across Scotland today."

  • Article: Aug 13, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP today gave a speechWillie RennieWillie Rennie
    in Glenrothes setting out the opportunities that remaining in the UK offers Scotland and how the UK family serves as the best platform for achieving our ambitions:

    *Check against delivery*

    I was brought up not far from here in a little village called Strathmiglo. Characterised by Knights Templar, lands of Falkland Palace, agriculture, linen factories and Hogg's shoes. It's a fine community with a long, if simple, past.

    My parents still live there and I'm delighted they are here today even though I have a sneaking suspicion they are just checking if my laces are tied. In fact I can see my mother now looking to check that my shirt is tucked in.

    I am proud of where I come from. Not with some sort of romantic misty eyed recall of my past but because it is what shaped me and made me who I am.

    I am not perfect, Strathmiglo is not perfect, Fife likewise is not without criticism. It's perhaps brave to declare but Scotland has its faults too.

    Some nationalists would like you to think that Britain is why we are not perfect - the root of all our ills. Of course Britain has made mistakes. Some I bitterly regret.

    But we have made those mistakes together - Scotland, together with the rest of the United Kingdom family of nations.

    After all the Scottish Parliament voted for the Iraq war.

    The slave trade was here too.

    But just because I recognise those mistakes and our imperfect nature, does not make me any less Scottish or British or even any less a Fifer.

    And just because we have made some mistakes together does not mean I want to reject all the achievements we have forged together.

    The UK is seen as a force for good around the world.

    We hold tremendous soft power

    as a family of nations we are using that to tackle gender based violence;

    to campaign against the death penalty;

    to fight for religious and sexual freedom;

    and to champion the rule of law.

    Together we have the second largest aid budget in the world - 0.7% of GDP goes to international development. For a relatively small country it's a great achievement.

    These are things which we can all be proud of.

    From penicillin to the latest advances in medical science.

    From creating the welfare state to establishing the BBC.

    From fighting and falling together in two world wars to the founding of the NHS.

    Whilst the narrow ambition of the Nationalists seeks to dismiss shared achievements I will always cherish our joint accomplishments.

    And across the UK, few things unite people like our belief in the NHS.
    Founded on the principles that it should meet the needs of everyone, that it should be free at the point of delivery, and that it should be based on clinical need not the ability to pay, it remains a source of pride in which each and every one of us has a stake.

    These principles are unique and they are enduring.

    For the Nationalists to claim that they are under threat is dishonest, desperate and disgraceful.

    It is also factually wrong.

    Despite the financial pressure of the global financial crisis, the NHS budget has been protected and NHS funding in England is now £12.7 billion higher than it was in 2010.

    Private sector involvement in England's NHS is paid for with public money, meaning that the cash equivalent is protected for Scotland - and the Scottish Government can spend it however they see fit.

    The publicly-funded NHS was this year ranked best healthcare system across the 11 richest countries in the world - and we are determined to keep it that way.

    But five weeks out from the independence referendum, and the SNP has suddenly started to pretend that funding is in doubt.

    Standing on street corners, dripping poison about the NHS into the ears of passers bye is a sign of just how desperate they are becoming.
    But it's no surprise.

    People are worried about the impact independence would have on their public services - the Nationalists know this and they are trying to distract attention with bluster and lies.

    People across Scotland know that public services are better funded because we are part of the UK.

    Public spending per head is higher, and Scots will be better off to the tune of £1400 a year each by staying in the UK family.

    That means that an independent Scotland would be faced with a mix of tax hikes and public spending cuts - and NHS funding would be in the firing line.

    Today, when it comes to the National Health Service, we have the best of both worlds.

    We have a Scottish Parliament that ensures that the NHS meets Scotland's specific health needs.

    But we remain part of a UK family that also ensures seamless access to services across the border and finances higher levels of public spending too.

    "The pride we feel in our NHS is not just about the local services from which we benefit - it's about the excellence that we have achieved together.

    Since the NHS was established in 1948, it has been a source of unity, not division.

    We must not let the Nationalists change that.

    Selective history lessons from the nationalists only help to sow division rather than create unity.

    Every time I question the practical problems with separation I am accused of failing to believe in the ability of the Scottish people.

    Every time I praise the benefits of the UK family of nations my loyalty to Scotland is questioned.

    My message to Alex Salmond is this:

    Don't question my loyalty to my nation just because I don't agree with your policy.

    As a liberal I believe in the outstanding power of the individual to do great things.

    Human nature is innately good, generous and open.

    I want to set individuals free to achieve all they can be.

    When I shout freedom it's not a cry for national freedom but a cry for individual freedom.

    As my great liberal forefathers would have said: It's freedom from ignorance, poverty and conformity that is our vision.

    It's why I support education from the early years and throughout life.

    It's why I support the building of a strong economy and spreading that wealth.

    It's why personal freedom is important too - to live life as you wish as long as it does not impinge on someone else's freedom.

    September 18th should not be some macho test for the proudest Scot. We could all compete for that title. For me it is about determining whether creating a separate country advances personal freedom and ambition or whether it hinders it.

    So how can it be that sowing division, erecting a border and dividing a people could ever be seen as liberal.

    It's not ambitious, it's not liberal, it's not my kind of freedom. That's why I'm voting NO.

    Let's look at what we have achieved together in the past and what we are achieving together today.

    Take science and innovation.

    Science investment is very important for Scotland, and the whole of Europe as the emerging economies of South America and the Pacific take hold of traditional sectors.

    We know universities will be hugely important. We know that first hand with the world class St. Andrews, Dundee, Heriot Watt and Edinburgh on our doorstep.

    The Grow Export Attract Support report last year from Universities Scotland showed upfront their contribution of well over £6 billion to the Scottish economy and support for 140,000 jobs.

    And they report that Scottish universities engage in nearly a third of the work on innovation with small companies in the UK- even though they only form one tenth of the UK university base.

    We know that Scottish universities get 13% of UK funding against a population of 8%. 50% more than elsewhere in the UK. Our ambition is to keep and grow that funding.

    Take renewable energy and the great development work taking place around the shores of Scotland on marine energy, tidal, wave and offshore wind. The work at Methil today is industry-leading.

    But to meet our ambitions for Scottish renewable energy it makes sense to share the UK consumer base during development. It makes sense to share the rewards which will come as we innovate and research our way from our reliance on fossil fuels.

    And the strength of the UK will make investment in a North Sea electricity grid easier to achieve, so that Scottish renewable energy can help the whole of Europe meet the challenge on climate change and keep the lights on.

    And in other areas of business, the UK gives great Scottish businesses the opportunity to thrive and grow.

    Take food and drink. Scotland and Scottish businesses have been able to take good advantage of our natural food and drink products. And businesses have been able to innovate and add value to Scottish produce.

    The global network of 200 UK embassies, consulates and trade missions support those businesses.

    UK exports to Brazil have risen in the last four years by 28 per cent, to India by 55% and to China by 115%.

    Our ambition should be that those 200 embassies step up their work for us, to open doors in new markets not close their doors to Scotland.

    These are the things we have achieved together, by pooling our resources and our talent. As a family of nations we are stronger than the sum of our parts.

    Alex Salmond says Scotland gets little out of the UK. This evidence shows he is wrong.
    Within our UK family of nations Scottish business has flourished.

    Within the UK Scotland is respected.

    In the United Kingdom, Scotland stands proud.

    And here's more evidence of the strength of that relationship.

    New businesses normally start close to home.

    A small company looking to expand will usually choose first to develop within its jurisdiction.

    If you have just spent years building your business and getting to grips with the red tape, the last thing you need is a whole new tangled web of red tape, even if it's written in the same language.

    We know that tens of thousands of Scottish jobs depend on the single UK market.

    Today I can report new figures, developed by the Treasury from leading research by Professor Brian Ashcroft of the Strathclyde Business School.

    Professor Ashcroft has looked at the £46 billion of trade between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

    This work shows that 267,000 Scottish jobs depend on trade with the rest of the United Kingdom.

    They are in every sector. But financial services, manufacturing and agriculture are the biggest.

    That represents fully ten per cent of the jobs in Scotland.

    More than 100,000 of those jobs are held by women.

    And almost 100,000 are held by young people.

    These jobs wouldn't go on day one of independence. But the sheer numbers show how connected we are as a family of nations and how much we support each other to grow.

    The combination of the ability of people in Scotland and the opportunity that the United Kingdom presents means we can record such progress then hope and believe we can achieve more.

    We're not going to put over a quarter of a million jobs at risk;

    Bring investment in renewables shuddering to a halt;

    See our universities' research stall.

    If Alex Salmond thinks we're going to lie down whilst he puts all of these things on the line then he can think again.

    I admire the nationalists' passion for their cause of national independence. What I regret is that their passion drives them to rarely question the consequences of their plans.

    Take the pound.

    Alex Salmond is right when he says he does not want second best for Scotland. I agree. I also agree that we should keep the pound.

    Of course Scots would be able to use the pound after independence. But then everyone in the world can use the pound now. What no-one can do is force another country to form a currency union against their will.

    Britain has already rejected one currency union which failed why would it accept another?

    So we are right to ask questions. And I am not alone in asking the Nationalists what their currency Plan B is.

    John Swinney was interviewed by Gary Robertson of the BBC. Gary is proving a bit of a problem for John.

    John proudly declared there were many credible currency options...then ruled out every single one.

    Sterlingsation was out because we don't control the levers of the currency.

    The Euro was out for obvious reasons.

    Our own currency was out because it would increase costs to business trading with the UK.

    But John pretended they were all back in again as credible alternatives when quizzed.

    They were all ruled in. All ruled out. In out in out shake them all about. It was like a high stakes game of the hokey cokey.

    But the clock is ticking.
    This currency debacle needs a full answer in the next 35 days.
    The rest of the UK has said quite clearly that it doesn't want the currency it uses to be destabilised by a potentially temporary currency union;

    Destabilised by a nationalist government saying it is going for big new borrowing;

    Destabilised by a nationalist government taking aggressive steps on corporation tax to undercut the economy of the rest of the UK.

    Given that the political leaders in the rest of the UK have ruled out Plan A… a clue about Plan B would be helpful.

    I know he gets irritated when asked about his alternative but as the United Kingdom has ruled out Alex Salmond's Plan A and Alex Salmond has ruled out all the others it is no surprise that the voters want some answers.

    But people in Scotland don't get another chance to answer the question they are being asked in the referendum on 18th September.

    If they vote yes, and Alex Salmond is wrong there is no way back. Independence is irreversible. It's for ever.

    They are being asked to take the blind faith of the First Minister that the rest of the world will do exactly as he asks.

    Alex Salmond is simply not being fair to people in Scotland.

    Fairness is what we deserve and fairness is what we must have.

    The Nationalists want you to choose - be Scottish or be British. We say there is no choice to make. You can have both.

    You can stay within the UK family of nations, where we have the best things that come with being Scottish and the best things that come with being British too.

    There is no need for Alex Salmond's false choice because you can have the best of both worlds.

    We are ambitious for people in Scotland.

    We are ambitious for young Scots to be able to build new businesses that are truly excellent, world-class and enduring.

    We are ambitious that Scots can lead the UK in science, in civic life, at the head of charities working to solve problems that don't know any borders.

    We are committed to an NHS free at the point of need and to a welfare state which supports our most vulnerable.

    Those straightforward commitments and ambitions are good for Scotland.

    They are good for our young people who when away from home have the support of our embassies around the world;

    they are good for our older people who enjoy better pensions by being part of the UK;

    And they are good for businesses which enjoy the strength of the pound.

    That is ambitious - and we are ambitious for people in Scotland.

    Two weeks ago the UK Government published a list of potential UK locations for a space port.

    The reaction for the Scottish Government was simple. "The opportunities for space travel will best be secured through independence."

    They say that about everything.

    Someone they met has obviously told them they want to be an astronaut and they've made up a promise just for them.

    If you haven't heard them make a specific, personalised promise to you that, whatever you want, it will best be secured through independence then ring them up and let them know.
    They will make that banal promise to you on the spot, over the phone, no questions asked.

    I know we often think they're on a different planet, but now you may be able to choose which one.

    Our ambition is to build on the 270,000 jobs that depend on trade with the rest of the UK, not risk that number by putting burdens and barriers in front of companies that want to work across the border.

    Our ambition is to use 200 embassies and trade missions to promote Scottish exports, not shrink the number to 50.

    Our ambition is to use 13% of UK research funding to help Scottish universities lead the world and help tackle the great problems that face our planet, not see that cut to a population share of 8%.

    Our ambition is that Scots can lead great UK institutions.

    I don't believe that it is automatic that creating national independence creates personal independence. At best it is a distraction.

    I am a proud Scot and I am a proud Brit.

    My praise for the UK family is not the price for my Scottish identity.

    My questioning of the practical problems with creating a separate country is not symptomatic of a lack of belief in the ability of the Scottish people.

    It is the Nationalists, not me, who conflate national identity with national independence and their policy of independence with the ability of the Scottish people.

    I simply do not accept that the maximum potential of the people of Scotland can only be achieved if we create a separate nation.

    Of course we can all achieve more. There is no doubt about that. But being part of something bigger, with global reach, of 60 million people, with an economic base with broad shoulders, with a compassionate outlook on life, with tremendous soft power.

    That is the best possible platform from which we can fly.

    A no vote is a vote of confidence in the ability of Scots, comfortable in our own skin, confident of our own identity; proud to stand with the rest of our family in our United Kingdom.