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”.
Scottish Independence: For and against
Scottish Independence: For and against
1/23 Vivienne Westwood
YES: “I hate England. I like Scotland because somehow I think they are better than we are. They are more democratic.”
2/23 Bob Geldof
NO: "This argument needs to be had among us all, you can't selfishly resolve it amongst yourselves by taking an easy opt-out clause."
3/23 Leonard Cohen
UNDECIDED: “People are trying to make their lives significant,” he said. “[They] are engaged in a struggle for self-respect and significance.”
4/23 James McAvoy
UNDECIDED: “If you vote for continued unification or independence there is no protest vote – that’s it. And that could be it for decades, for centuries. There’s no going back from it."
5/23 Bill Clinton
NO: “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.”
6/23 George Galloway
NO: “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… I know which side I’m on. I’m with JK Rowling. Just say No.”
7/23 David Beckham
NO: “We want to let you know how very much we value our relationship and friendship. Of course regardless of your decision that will never change, however, my sincere hope is that you will vote to renew our historic bond which has been such a success over the centuries and the envy of the entire world. What unites us is much greater than what divides us. Let's stay together.”
8/23 David Bowie
NO: "Scotland stay with us"
9/23 Eddie Izzard
NO: "You can be Scottish, you can be British and you can be European. We can have that. “I say have the parliament, have the more power, but be with us. Like David Bowie said, ‘Stay with us Scotland’ and I’m saying the same – don’t go."
10/23 Frankie Boyle
YES: "It’s an ‘aye’ (for Independence) from me, man."
Association of Online Publishers
11/23 Andy Murray
NO: "I started competing for Great Britain when I was 11. A lot of people forget that. I didn't like it when Salmond got the Scottish flag up at Wimbledon"
12/23 The Proclaimers
YES: 'Scotland has huge national resources, with its people, its wave power – all the possibilities that this country has...we need to take charge of our own affairs'
13/23 Susan Boyle
NO: "I am a proud, patriotic Scot, passionate about my heritage and my country. But I am not a nationalist."
14/23 Chris Hoy
NO: "It will weaken the British team obviously if Scotland went separately, and it would be harder for the Scottish athletes, initially, to establish themselves in a new training environment, with new coaches, with a different environment altogether."
15/23 Alan Cumming
YES: "The evidence is clear - in the past 15 years we have become stronger economically, socially, culturally and globally. The world is waiting for us and I know Scotland is ready."
16/23 Emma Thompson
NO: "Why insist on building a new border between human beings in an ever-shrinking world where we are still struggling to live alongside each other?"
Carlo Allegri, Reuters
17/23 Billy Bragg
YES: Independence would "create a new settlement that puts people before profit. Those in England who believe that our own society needs to be rebalanced along similar lines should wake up and join the debate"
18/23 Marcus Brigstocke
NO: "If Scotland go their own way (based on fingers crossed, f**k the Tories, William Wallace bollocks it'll be a damn shame. Still wish 'em well"
19/23 Rod Stewart
NO: "I'd hate to see the union broken after all these years. It's always been a spiritual home - but as I don't live there I shouldn't comment on independence. If it's good for the Scots I'm happy."
20/23 Sean Connery
YES: "As a Scot and as someone with a lifelong love for both Scotland and the arts, I believe the opportunity of independence is too good to miss"
21/23 Al Kennedy
NO: "Salmond has the warm potato head of a man who is Scottish and – we hope – no threat"
22/23 Annie Lennox
YES: "There is an opportunity for something innovative and visionary. Scotland could have some kind of new, ethical, visionary stance and it could take on some fresh ideas. That could be amazing, really amazing."
YES: "They must cut ties with the United King-dumb. I love Scotland, and I love the Scottish spirit and they do not need Westminster in the least."
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 EdinburghReuse content