16/04/2014 - Alex Salmond dodges questions from Trade Unionists

independenceballotscotlandAlex Salmond is a good speaker but not so deft at answering questions. Yesterday he was in Dundee at a meeting of the Scottish Trades Union. He got a mixed response. Some of what he said was welcomed. When asked whether his government would back continued public ownership of the London-to-Edinburgh East Coast Main Line and whether he could rule out compulsory redundancies in the civil service following a vote for independence his answer was a popular "Yes."

Yet on other issues he was as slippery as an eel! He had no real answers to genuine concerns. That's one of the main weaknesses of the "Yes" side in the independence debate – ordinary people want to know what will happen in practical terms if there is a vote for independence and they can't or will not say.

Mr Salmond refused to be pinned down when asked what the SNP's "plan B" would be if Westminster refused to agree to a formal currency union, saying only that his fiscal commission's report published last year included options for "plan B, C, D and E."

And the First Minister meandered off again when asked if his "Nordic model" of public spending for Scotland would be compatible with his vocal support for tax cuts. Last May he announced plans for a corporation tax rate of just 17 per cent. Just how you square tax cuts with increased public spending is something he has yet to tell us.

When asked whether his government would reverse current cuts to further education following a Yes vote, the First Minister yet again simply changed the subject.

Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, commented:

"I live in Scotland and will vote in the independence referendum. Yesterday Alex Salmond failed to answer key economic questions which worry many ordinary workers. He is asking for a blank cheque or a leap in the dark. It is why many will vote 'No'."


What do others think - is independence going to work out for the workers? Are there too many unanswered questions? If you support the 'Yes' campaign how do you see developments?