Bill Clinton on Scottish Independence: 'Unity sends a powerful message - it is possible to respect our differences'

The former US president admitted that he had, up until now, been cautious about sharing his views on the volatile debate

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The Independent Online

Bill Clinton has made a last-minute attempt to persuade Scottish voters to back the ‘No’ campaign and keep the Union intact.

The former US president admitted that he had, up until now, been cautious about sharing his views on the volatile debate, because he believes that the matter of the nation’s independence is a decision for “Scots alone to make”.

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But he has since reconsidered his position, citing the uncertainty over currency and the need for Great Britain’s solidarity to send “a powerful message to a world torn by identity conflicts that it is possible to respect our differences.”

“Because the independence vote is a decision for the Scots alone to make, and because Scots are already legendary for their independence of mind, I have been reluctant to express my views on the matter,” a statement from Clinton, released through the Better Together campaign, reads.

“I hope my decision to do so will be received in the spirit of friendship with which it is offered.

 

“I have watched the debate on the future of Scotland with great interest and admiration.

“With so much turmoil and division across the globe, I hope the Scots will inspire the world with a high turnout and a powerful message of both identity and inclusion.

“I understand and sympathise with those who want independence. Scotland is blessed with impressive human and natural resources and a strong desire for more widely shared prosperity and social solidarity.

“However, I hope the Scots people will vote to remain in the UK for several reasons: The proposal to keep the pound as its currency without the support that UK membership provides carries substantial risks, as we saw in the EU after the financial crisis.

“Separation will require a long complex negotiating process with considerable uncertainty and potential to weaken the Scottish economy.

“The increased autonomy promised Scotland by the UK provides most of the benefits of independence and avoids the downside risks.

“Unity with maximum self-determination sends a powerful message to a world torn by identity conflicts that it is possible to respect our differences while living and working together.

“This is the great challenge of our time. The Scots can show us how to meet it.”

His backing followed that of Irishman Bob Geldof, who led a rally in Trafalgar Square, London in the hope of convincing Scotland to vote to save the Union on 18 September. He was joined by comedian Al Murray and Eddie Izzard.

Meanwhile, Vivienne Westwood put her name to the ‘Yes’ campaign, saying: "I hate England."

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