We're proud it was Labour which introduced the NHS in the face of opposition from vested interests and Conservatives

LAST Saturday I was delighted to speak to a full house at Lochgelly Town Hall on the issue of the independence referendum.

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Everyone was clear the decision Scots make on September 18 is one which will shape the country we live in, the country our children and grandchildren will inherit, for generations to come.

In a Labour heartland, people were rightly proud of the achievements of the Labour movement.

Proud that it was a Labour Government which introduced the NHS in the face of opposition from vested interests and Conservatives.

Proud that when sceptics said it would be impossible to introduce a UK wide welfare state, the then Labour government did just that.

And proud when we remembered all those Tories saying that the minimum wage was the height of irresponsibility and would result in the loss of jobs. But which, after its introduction, resulted in the longest period of low unemployment the UK had seen in generations.

Pride that we did all that together.

Unfortunately, there are others whose talents lie in re-writing history. For them, airbrushing the successes of the Labour movement across the UK is an everyday ambition.

And there is a reason for that.

It's a deliberate attempt to con Labour voters into thinking that no good can ever come of a union between Scotland and the rest of the UK, and that only a vote for independence can bring change.

Well, they're wrong.

Today, when we are facing challenges such as the cost of living crisis or coming through a global recession, when energy bills are going up but wages are falling, and when household budgets are being squeezed but household incomes aren't keeping pace with the rate of inflation, the answer is not to turn our back on the rest of the UK and put up barriers where none exist.

Now, it's been said by some that there is no passion in the case that we are better together as part of the United Kingdom.

Well, the people saying that obviously haven't been at any of the rallies I have been at across Scotland, and where I spoke about an idea much bigger than independence; the pooling and sharing of resources across the UK for the benefit of everyone in the UK.

A worker in Glasgow whose taxes support a pensioner in Newcastle.

Or a worker in London whose taxes support a pensioner in Fife.

Benefitting from a common pot because we all contribute to the common weal.

Having a voice that speaks louder because we are all represented when big decisions come to be made.

Yet some want to leave big decisions in the hands of others.

When interest rates are being set, they say, let's not have representation at the Treasury.

When the decision comes on whether we keep the pound or adopt the Euro, it will be left in the hands of a foreign government.

Future Scottish budgets decided by others but with no Scottish MPs (of any political party - including the SNP) to argue for Scotland.

That's not more independence. That's less.

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