ASLEF first union to back Scotland in UK
21 May 2013
ASLEF has become the first trade union to back the ‘No’ campaign in next year’s Scottish independence vote. Delegates at ASLEF’s annual conference in Edinburgh unanimously agreed to campaign for a ‘No’ vote and to affiliate to the ‘Better Together’ campaign.
The union’s officer in Scotland, Kevin Lindsay, said that not one ASLEF branch in Scotland is in favour of taking Scotland out of the United Kingdom. But he stressed, ‘This is not about bashing Alex Salmond. It’s about a vision for Scotland within the United Kingdom.’
He told delegates who had come from all over the UK, ‘You didn’t get asked on your way here to Edinburgh for a passport, you got asked for a ticket,’ and he pointed to the bizarre fact that, ‘The preferred option of the SNP is the pound issued by the Bank of England and controlled by the Bank of England. There’s an indication in that name of who will be running the Scottish economy!’
Some delegates were wary of affiliating to the ‘Better Together’ campaign as it had funding from Conservative Party donors – but Kevin refuted this. In this broad campaign we welcome people from other parties who believe we will be Better Together.
‘I want a United Kingdom that delivers for the working-class people of this country,’ he said, as he urged, ‘Let’s not put borders up, because borders divide people.’
A delegate asked if there was any point in leaving a right-wing Westminster government to get a right-wing Holyrood government. ‘I think too many people got carried away watching Braveheart!’ he declared.
Another delegate argued that the referendum should be UK-wide and not just include Scottish voters before delegates voted unanimously to campaign to retain the Union with the UK.