Why Ruth Davidson wants us to stay 'friends' with the Union

IN a week-long series Political Correspondent STEWART PATERSON meets the leaders of the political parties to discuss the Referendum.

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Ruth Davidson is backing the Better Together campaign
Ruth Davidson is backing the Better Together campaign

Tory Ruth Davidson is the first to take the stand

IN most of Glasgow, the Jehovah's Witnesses have more chance of winning converts on the doorstep than the Conservative Party.

But that doesn't inhibit the party's Scottish leader's energy, enthusiasm and optimism over her role in the referendum.

Ruth Davidson, a Glasgow MSP, is not holding back in the campaign, but is astute enough to know where the party can be most effective in urging a No vote and where it is wasting its time.

In Glasgow,the Better Together campaign is heavily reliant on Labour, but Ms Davidson says her party activists are doing their bit too.

The Tory role in this campaign is delicate.

For many the prospect of no Conservative government is the ultimate reason for independence and the Better Together alliance with Labour will dissolve rapidly on September 19 either way.

Ms Davidson said: "From the party we have people who are already active working with Better Together and on their own manning street stalls and the phone bank and as local co-ordinators. It is intended to turn out as many votes as possible.

"In some parts of the country other parties are taking the lead, but in the Borders and Perth and Kinross we are playing a lead role.

"In Glasgow we have an active core. It's not where we are strongest but our people are committed to turning out the Conservative vote.

"We are working with the Labour Party, in Cathcart for example, teams are working together."

Whatever the other parties are doing, Ms Davidson said the Conservatives are too. She said: "We are part of Better Together. In terms of boots on the ground we are working at every level.

"I want to put forward an unashamedly pro UK voice in this, Unionist is in our name for a reason. We set up Conservative Friends of the Union one year before United with Labour was set up I wrote to hundreds of thousands of people. They are not necessarily Conservative voters or members.

Ms Davidson said there are many reasons why people in Glasgow should vote No and her arguments are not too different to Labour supporters.

She said:"Glasgow has the biggest population and big industries and employers like financial services, shipbuilding, banking and insurance companies like Direct Line. They are affected directly.

"University research funding affects the three fantastic universities we have in the city. We have had votes in all three in favour of No.

"Our universities are successful but they are successful as part of the UK network and they benefit from collaboration and funding."

Equally, she stakes her claim to national identity as much as any nationalist and says her commitment to the UK in no way dilutes here Scottishness.

She adds: "I am as proud a Scot as you will find, I've cheered from the terraces at Hampden and Murrayfield and I am proud of our successes."

After the vote, Ms Davidson said everyone must accept the outcome. She said: "I am in no way conceding this referendum. The first duty of all leaders on September 19 is we all have to accept the will of the Scottish people and work towards the future. I will do that."

The Tories might not have big support in Glasgow and are being portrayed as the bogeyman that can be banished with a Yes vote.

But Ruth Davidson is not hiding from the fight.

Local government

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