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UK Politics

Scottish independence: Listen to George Galloway’s stirring speech in defence of the Union

The Respect MP’s speech is being hailed as a landmark oration which could help save the Union. The Glasgow-born left-winger savaged the Yes campaign as he evoked the spirit of the Blitz and the spectre of a bankrupt post-oil Scotland in an impassioned plea for Britain to stick together

Transcript of George Galloway's speech at The Spectator's debate on Scottish independence (scroll down for audio):

If Scotland votes Yes in September you will be handing the prize for which 100 years the SNP has fought.

They have fought for it despite everything and anything that was happening. When London was burning under the Blitz, their poet laureate (Hugh) MacDiarmid said: “London is burning, I don’t care.” They said it was England’s war.

They want you to refight a battle 700 years ago between two French-speaking kings with Scottish people on both sides.

I prefer to remember a rather more recent battle when this small island of English-speaking people stood alone and if we had not stood but capitulated like others had done before us we would be having this meeting in German if we were going to have it at all.

And not one person asked in that summer and autumn of 1940 and into 1941 if the pilots who were spinning above us defending us from invasion from the barbaric horde were from Suffolk or Sutherland. We were people together on a small piece of rock with 300 years of common history. That’s what they want to break up and all the rest is balderdash. That’s the truth of it.

How come so few women are in favour of independence? Why are Scotland’s women the most resistant of all the demographics in this contest? And the reason is that women simply don’t like gambling.


And everything in their (the Yes campaign’s) project is about gambling – for your future, your pension, your children and their children’s future. And you are right not to like gambling.

But just a few hundred yards from here on the North Bridge, one of Scotland’s women, one of our highest achieving women in the history of our entire country, JK Rowling sat in a café and wrote books that people all over the world love.

And what happened when she dared to opine as to how people should vote in September? She was subjected to a torrent of abuse and hatred online and in the post.

And that is the second reason why women don’t like independence – because they can see that it has already generated and will generate a politics of grudge and division based on where one stood.

I am tired of being called a quisling or a traitor or – I was ordered last night from the rougher end of the trade - “get back to England”.

I’ll go wherever I like in these islands or anywhere else and speak my mind and you see that is the authentic voice of those that seek to break up this country.

I have been divorced more than once. Trust me it is never ever amicable, whatever anybody tells you. But you can make a deal. You can give the partner who is walking out on you all the CDs the DVDs, the dog, the car – you can give them everything, but the one thing you will never ever give them is the right to continue to use the joint credit card.

And that is what their plan A – and they have no plan B – amounts to.

They want to use a currency issued by the Bank of England – the clue being in the name; they want to continue to use it and they imagine that the people that issue it will allow them to do so; to use the joint credit card, even though and as they are walking out the door.

So this is the first time ever that people in a small country, where everyone speaks the same language, are being asked to break up and break up on the basis that they don’t have a currency to use.

There will be no pound. Trust me on that. I came yesterday from Parliament (where) the leaders of the mainstream parties have not changed their minds. An independent Scotland will not have the pound.

What will it have instead? The euro – how’s that going? Anybody fancy that or are we going to bring back the groat?

I see one or two pensioners here, or people close to pensionable age. How do you fancy your pension in groats? How do you fancy a pension that is based entirely on the absolutely unstable price of a commodity that will be finished in 2050?

And in my lifetime oil has been as low as $9 a barrel and as high as $156 a barrel. Who wants to mortgage their children and their children’s future on a finite resource that will soon be finished and the price of which is simply un-calculable? Un-calculable.

There will be havoc if you vote Yes in September. Havoc in Edinburgh and throughout the land and you will break the hearts of many others too.

Because, as I look at my fellow debaters on my side, I was reminded of the Duke of Wellington reviewing his own troops before the battle of Waterloo: “I don’t know what they do to the enemy but they don’t half frighten me.” “The difference is we have come together but temporarily at a moment of national peril.

The nationalists on the other hand are permanently together for they have only one purpose – to persuade you that [Stagecoach Group transport firm founder and prominent Yes campaigner] Brian Souter, the gay-baiting billionaire, funder of their campaign is someone more worthy of looking up to than JK Rowling.

I know which side I’m on. I’m with JK Rowling. Just say No.

Speech delivered at a debate sponsored by ‘The Spectator’ at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh