Who's who in votes battle

REFERENDUM battle lines have been drawn with political parties and civic organisations taking their positions ahead of the historic poll.

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Johann Lamont and Nicola Sturgeon will be trying to woo voters
Johann Lamont and Nicola Sturgeon will be trying to woo voters

Glasgow MSPs are among the most prominent campaigners with Nicola Sturgeon and Green leader Patrick Harvie for Yes and Labour Leader Johann Lamont and Tory leader Ruth Davidson for No.

As well as the two main official referendum campaign groups, STEWART PATERSON shows there are a host of other smaller groups and plenty of celebrities and individuals throwing in their tuppence worth

YES

As well as the Scottish Government, a host of groups and ­parties have joined the fight to persuade Scots to break from the UK.

Behind the main political faces of the Yes campaign Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, lies a host of independence supporters, and while the ­campaign is heavily dominated and funded by the SNP, there are many others involved.

The main campaign group arguing for independence is Yes Scotland, involving the SNP, Scottish Green Party, Scottish Socialist Party and other non-party political groups and individuals.

A host of groups, some set up purely for the referendum, have registered with the Electoral Commission to campaign ahead of the poll.

Women for Independence has members of different parties and none active in public meetings and through social media.

Leading figures who founded the group include Jeane Freeman, a former advisor to former Labour First Minister, Jack McConnell, and Natalie McGarry, who has stood for election for the SNP.

Green MSP, Alison Johnstone and former SSP MSPs Rosie Kane and Carolyn ­Leckie have also backed the group along with comedienne and actress Elaine C Smith.

In backing the group, Ms Smith has said: "Women bear the brunt of the impact of any changes in education or healthcare of the young and the old, as well as dealing with general budgeting, lower ­wages and poverty.

"It is therefore natural that levels of fear and apprehension over Independence are high amongst the female population of Scotland.

"This Referendum will not be won without the support of a large percentage of women here."

Business for Scotland is a group of businesses and business people in favour of independence.

It aims to counter the ­argument often put forward that independence will create unnecessary risks and uncertainty will drive inward investment away.

Michelle Thompson, Managing Director of business for Scotland, said: "Uncertainty is a constant, and any good business must balance opportunities against the risks of not taking action.

"For too long, economic ­policies have not favoured Scotland, nor encouraged the SME sector on which Scotland's economic health depends."

Christians for Independence, Generation Yes and Farming 4 Yes have also been established to target specific sectors of society.

Other long-established groups have stated their aim to campaign and spend more than £10,000 on their activities, including CND.

The National Collective is an arts organisation calling for a Yes vote.

NO

THE UK Government is opposed to independence and to counter the Scottish Government's White Paper has produced a series of Scotland Analysis documents for each government department, outlining its reasons for stating Scotland is stronger within the United Kingdom.

Prime Minister David Cameron, while not being drawn into a ­debate with Alex Salmond, has ­repeatedly said he wants Scots to vote No.

Prominent Scots in the Westminster government include LibDem's Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Alastair Carmichael, Scottish Secretary both urging a No vote.

The official No campaign is Better Together, an alliance of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties.

The leader is former chancellor Alistair Darling with chief executive Blair McDougall also making statements and television appearances.

The parties also have their own campaigns, with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Scottish deputy leader, Anas Sarwar, heavily involved in United With Labour.

Mr Sarwar is currently taking the Labour message around the country in their referendum ­battle bus.

The Tories set up Conservative Friends of the Union early in the campaign, working in areas where the party's vote is strong.

Business backing for a No vote comes from The CBI, which argues Scotland would be worse off financially with more cuts required.

Katja Hall, CBI chief policy ­director, said: "Scotland's economy is stronger as part of the UK, benefiting from setting its own course on key issues through ­devolution, at the same time as having support of the union.

"At the moment Scotland benefits from a credible fiscal plan and the stability of the Pound. The Scottish Government's plans ­include £670million of unfunded spending, without addressing the substantial deficit the nation would have.

"Scotland's fiscal position ­requires an austerity plan at least as big as the current UK one - and most likely larger.

In Glasgow, the No campaign is dependent on the Labour party organising and canvassing operation.

The three Better Together ­parties while agreeing on a No vote and more powers, disagree on which new powers would be ­devolved after a No vote.

In a joint statement this week, the three said: "We shall put those visions before the Scottish people at the next general election and all three parties guarantee to start delivering more powers for the Scottish Parliament as swiftly as possible in 2015."

CELEBRITIES

EVEN those without a vote have been eager to get involved and make their opinion known.

The biggest names have been more sympathetic to a No vote, with David Bowie kicking it off urging "Scotland, stay with us" at the Brit Awards, though not in person but in a statement read by supermodel Kate Moss.

JK Rowling has given £1million to the Better Together campaign, the group's highest-profile donation to date.

Barack Obama said he thought "from the outside the UK works pretty well". And wanted to see America's allies "strong and united".

Pope Francis, while not endorsing any side, said: "All division worries me" while starting "countries breaking away from bigger states should be considered on a case-by-case basis".

Sir Alex Ferguson, former Manchester United and Scotland manager, resident in England, is opposed and has donated £501 to Better Together.

For the Yes side some of the names may be less famous but many Scottish celebrities are in favour of independence.

As well as long time independence supporter Sean Connery, who has so far been relatively quiet, actor Alan Cumming, also living abroad and now an American citizen has given his support.

Elaine C Smith is visibly active in the campaign as is novelist and artist Alasdair Gray.

At the launch of Yes Scotland several ­celebrities, including actors Brian Cox and Martin Compston joined Cummings and politicians to sign the independence pledge.

Glasgow-based comedians Frankie Boyle and Kevin Bridges have said they would vote Yes.

Meanwhile, others have kept their counsel like Wimbledon Champion, Any Murray and singer, Annie Lennox who refuse to declare a preference and Billy Connolly, while claimed by some as a No supporter, said he will not be voting and didn't want to influence anybody.

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