By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP has repeated its call for the anti-independence campaign to agree to voluntary donation rules for the referendum campaign, after a poll found that a majority of Scots want donations to be limited to those eligible to vote in the referendum.

The Party has released details of a YouGov opinion poll showing that 53 per cent of people in Scotland believe referendum donations should be controlled in this way, compared to 27% who disagree.

On the day the No campaign launched, Alistair Darling claimed their campaign would be ‘completely transparent’.  However, he has promised only to abide by the minimum requirements set by the Electoral Commission on political donations, and the source of the No campaign’s funding remains shrouded in mystery.

The challenge by the SNP follows a report in the Sunday Herald which revealed a No Campaign dinner comprised of few Scottish figures but mainly London-based guests, charging £150-a-head.  On the same day Labour MSP Richard Baker, speaking for the No campaign, admitted that ‘Better Together’ would accept donations from outside Scotland.

Between now and summer 2014, when the regulated period begins, there will be no official limits on donations.

However, Yes Scotland has already enforced a maximum £500 limit on its website – with larger donations only accepted after establishing whether the person is on the voters’ roll in Scotland – and has called on the anti-independence parties to do likewise.

SNP Campaign Director Angus Robertson has questioned how Scottish Labour could feel comfortable taking part in a campaign funded by London Tories and their associates.

Commenting, Mr Robertson said:

“This dinner reveals all about the nature of the No Campaign – it is a Tory-led organisation, receiving significant funding from outside Scotland.

“The Tory-led anti-independence campaign is refusing to listen to what the people of Scotland want – as the YouGov poll demonstrates 53 per cent of people in Scotland believe donations should be limited to those eligible to vote in the referendum.”

Mr Robertson also hit out at Labour’s decision to refuse to consider a second option on the ballot paper and added:

“… only recently a Unite survey revealed two thirds of Labour’s biggest trade union backers Unite want a devo max option on the ballot paper in 2014.

“The splits and divisions within the anti-independence parties are failing the people of Scotland who want a debate and referendum made in Scotland – not the No Campaign's negative approach which refuses to respect the voices of people across the country.”

Mr Robertson concluded:

“The decision on the future of Scotland is rightly a matter for people in Scotland.  As such, it is only common sense that major donations to either campaign should originate in Scotland.

“Yes Scotland is completely transparent about where its financial support comes from – in stark contrast to the Tory-led anti-independence campaign.”

Head of Yes Scotland Blair Jenkins and member of Better Together Richard Baker interviewed on funding and other matters


# hiorta 2012-07-02 07:00
Now why would foreigners go to the expense and bother of putting their money into keeping Scotland in thrall?

What possible benefit are they looking for?
Another 'parcel of rogues' ploy in the planning?
# Old Smokey 2012-07-02 07:23
Just heard a English Tory MP , state clearly on Good Morning Scotland state that he prefers there to be 3 questions on any referendum on the EU for Britain, but when questioned about the Scottish Referendum on Independence, he stated that it should only be 1 question
(This was before 0800 am and didnt catch the MP's name)
# Silverytay 2012-07-02 07:44
Old Smokey
I am sure I heard the same tory state that the status quo was no longer an option on europe , because I commented to my wife about the fact that they expected the Scots to accept the status quo but it was not an option on europe .
Cameron appears to be doing his best to destroy any credibility that the no no better together no campaign had , assuming that the ever had any .
Since darling appears to have disappeared ! I wonder who will get the job from the no campaign of explaining why it would be alright to have multiple questions on a referendum on europe but not on Scotland .
Since it appears to be alright for right wing tory,s from the city of london to bankroll the no no better together no campaign , I wonder if cameron will let Germany bankroll the campaign to stay in europe when it comes .
# Old Smokey 2012-07-02 12:57
The actual interview is here
You need to go to 1 hr 16 mins in the recording o get to the interview with John Barron MP ( Tory MP for Basildon and Billericay) in which he clearly states that a Referendum on the Eu would have to have 3 Questions, but when pressed on that making it difficult for Cameron, stated that a simple 'Yes or No is more relevant' for Scot's
# Silverytay 2012-07-02 13:51
Old Smokey
Thanks for the link .
I was trying to get ready for work at the time so I was not paying attention to the program and just caught a bit off it .
# Leswil 2012-07-02 08:01
If regulation is not compulsory,then it ain't going to happen.
The unionist have found a gaping whole from which to funnel in large amounts of cash.
If the can't be stopped, donations from 58m or so people against what the Yes campaign is likely to create a huge imbalance. Their fund raising events are now starting let by the Tories as the one a few days ago by that piece of work Lord Wallace, but done in the South of England, Tory heartland.
We have to try and regulate this or find a cleverer way of self funding.
Otherwise, history dictates that they have a big advantage, Unfortunately.
# uilleam_beag 2012-07-02 09:30
I completely agree that leaving the Nobodies free access to wealthy Unionist donors based in the South of England may give them an initial financial advantage. The truth will out, however, and that will undoubtedly undermine their reputation in the eyes of the Scottish electorate. Just the suggestion that they could possibly be bankrolled by rich Home Counties Tories at the moment is enough to call the legitimacy of the whole "Bitter Together" campaign into question.

The longer they refuse to match Yes Scotland's voluntary restrictions on donations the worse it will look. In short it's free advertising for the independence movement, yet another of those wee seeds of doubt sown in the back of people's minds that will germinate and put out roots between now and 2014.

For a lot of voters, the penny hasn't dropped yet, but they have taken it out their pocket and they are subconsciously weighing it in their fingers. Our job is bit by bit to convince them to put it into the slot.
# Harry.Shanks 2012-07-02 08:57
Leswill - it ain't gonna happen that "58m people" are going to donate to the NO campaign (and let's keep calling it that at every opportunity) but you right to say that the potential donor pool is probably larger on the NO side.

However, I have no doubt that the potential YES voters are far more motivated than the No's - and that what we may lack in (thoughout the UK) we can more than make up in other ways.
# J Wil 2012-07-02 09:26
Why is a referendum not covered by the same rules as an election? It seems that for referendums anything goes.

Is this just another deliberate oversight by the great and the good?

Did you ever try to get an Englishman's hand out of his pocket and why was Darling so evasive about where their funding was coming from on Channel 4 News?
# drumsmudden 2012-07-02 10:05
How right you are J Will. Who was it who created the myth of the mean Scotsman to screen their own meanness.Examples of this can be seen every time there is a public charity appeal and the amounts donated bear no relation to the relative populations of the two countries.
Perhaps Darling expects a payback from his banker friends in return for past favours, some thing which may backfire on him due to the current revalations in the banking sector
# Taldor83 2012-07-02 10:13
Wow. Mr Baker is an angry little man when he gets challeneged....
# uilleam_beag 2012-07-02 11:03
Indeed he is that. They don't like it up 'em, do they? ;-)
# Dundonian West 2012-07-02 13:17
There is a distinct difference between Mr Jenkin's approach to this interview,and indeed the aims of the ScotlandYes campaign,compar ed to Mr Baker,who mentioned the SNP TWICE in his BetterTogether interview in the first couple of minutes!
BetterTogether? Too keen to politicise and even personalise this debate,which if truth be told
they would rather was never happening!
I don't think the NOs wish it to be outwith the political arena----it frightens them----they can't cast innuendos and scares.
# Old Smokey 2012-07-02 13:34
Indeed, having just watched the interviews. Blair Jenkins came accross quite calmly and businesslike and I found it helpful that he explained that teh Yes Scotland campaign, isnt about policy, its about facilitating the means of getting and informing people about independence. What happens after indpendence, will entirely be down to the politicians to decide on such matters as membership of NATO and the colour of the wallpaper in the Scottish Foreign Ministry. Its this aspect that annoy's the likes of Baker as he keeps jabbing away at what an independent Scotland will look like (as Spock of Star Trek would say 'he is indeed a troubled young man'). Likewise the likes of Baker cant cope, with the idea that the Yes Campaign are not interested in a question about 'Devomax' and cannot seperate in their heads the point that the Yes Campaign is only about Yes and not about Devomax, as with the SNP, which is also about Yes and not Devomax. Its down to the politicians that support Devomax to argue for Devomax.

Though Isobel Fraser did a sterling job in dealing with both Blair Jenkins (which wasnt hard as it was a very concise and level Q&A) and Richard Baker, which would test the best, with his obtuse and at times stupid answers. Interesting take by Isobel Fraser on Baker's asertion that the No Campaign were just after the status quo or as Isobel said 'managed decline', which sums up status quo quite well
# mealer 2012-07-02 11:07
The No campaign is going to be funded by rich people from the South of England.Says it all.
# Dundonian West 2012-07-02 11:27
Does Labour in Scotland (i.e. Johann Lamont) feel comfortable with this in her NO (BetterTogether ) campaign?

Being funded by blue blooded South of England Torys.City types,and of that Ilk.
As for her Labour troops---well I don't know what they're thinking----perhaps it's being spoon fed to them,a little at a time---if at all.

Vote YES in 2014 to get shot of the Westminster parcel of rogues and vagabonds--and build a NEW society up here.
Labour's as bad now as the Torys.
PS. I'm putting this article on to my Facebook page---it deserves wider coverage.
# oldnat 2012-07-02 11:27
Buried in the tables of the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2011

are the percentages for the same set of constitutional preferences as were offered in 2010.

2010, 2011, Change, Preference
28%, 40%, +11%, Scottish Parliament should make all decisions
31%, 30%, -1%, UK govt defence and foreign affairs, Scottish Parliament everything else
28%, 23%,-5%, UK govt tax, benefits, defence and foreign affairs, Scottish Parliament everything else
9%, 5%, -4%, UK govt should make all decisions
# uilleam_beag 2012-07-02 13:49
Good spot there, Oldnat. It's funny that wasn't extrapolated in the actual findings. I get the same percentages as you, and it makes for a significant constitutional shift -- assuming all other variables are equal, of course.

Table A.23 is very interesting as well. Back in 1999, when asked just before the Holyrood parliament came into being, some 41pc of respondents believed it would have the greatest influence on the way Scotland would be run, compared to 39pc for Westminster. The next year, that plummeted to just 13pc seeing Edinburgh making the main decisions compared to 66pc -- two thirds -- who saw London being in the driving seat.

Since then, the percentage gradually increased for Holyrood by an average of two points a year until 2006. Over the same period, perceived Westminster influence falls to 38pc, while EU and councils are seen to go up from 4pc and 10pc, respectively, to 11pc and 18pc.

The idea that Holyrood is in charge of much of Scottish governance shoots up from 2007; voters now see the parliament as having equal influence with Westminster with both on 38pc, tending very closely towards the expectations people had for how the arrangement would work 13 years ago.

Confirmation, if any was needed, that the voters recognise what happened when the party strings tying the Scots gov't to London were cut when the SNP came into power. Question is: would folk ever want to go back?
# J Wil 2012-07-02 11:32
Why is a referendum not covered by the same rules as an election? It seems that for referendums anything goes.

Is this just another deliberate oversight by the great and the good?

(comment re-entered without the comment about meaness. It seems that the banter can only be directed in one direction. (Something to do with taking the higher moral ground no doubt).
# border reiver 2012-07-02 12:42
If the No team ever publish their list of donors it will be worth investigating if any of them have links to lobby groups or more importantly groups with vested interests in national public service contracts as they will have a real struggle to find any meaningful contributions from ordinary people.
# schawaldowris 2012-07-02 12:55
The British Prime Minister Mr David Cameron announced yesterday that it was his opinion a referendum should be held on whether the UK should remain within the European Union. He was however, uncertain about the date of this vote, stating "it would be held when the time was right*

He is surely aware that markets hate uncertainty. Indeed there is a very good chance that leading international companies will leave the United Kingdom in droves. I have also heard this uncertainty will mean that large companies will be reluctant to invest in the United Kingdom! Of course, I am unwilling to disclose the name of the companies as it would be in breach of a confidence!

Furthermore it was the opinion the PM that the referendum should have three questions and not just a simple Yes/No as it was important to give people as wide a choice as possible!
# Taldor83 2012-07-02 14:14
I also presume that people in Countries such as Spain, France and Germany, who would want the UK to stay within the European Union will be allowed to donate money to those campigning to remain within the EU....
# Harry.Shanks 2012-07-02 13:31
Don't forget he is also in favour of the Falkland Islands referendum and (unlike with Scotland's referendum) he has made no attempt to dictate the timing, the franchise, or the question to be put.

Two-faced is an understatement. Cameron ought to change his name to Lon Chaney - the man who reputedly had a thousand!
# Seagetagrip 2012-07-02 16:46
I suspect that people in Germany, France and Spain would contribute to the side wanting the UK out of the EU. If I were them, I would!
# bringiton 2012-07-02 17:19
The Labour led NO Scotland campaign will have to rely on funding from outwith Scotland as they do not have sufficient active political support within Scotland.
The massaged figures they produce for Labour party membership now expose the fact that either the figures are a lie or their membership are not interested in contributing to their No campaign in sufficient numbers.
Either way they are going to have to rely on funding from outwith their party and probably outwith Scotland as well.
# Jim Johnston 2012-07-02 17:50
I.e. bringiton, the no campaign have no option but to be funded by London Tories, no one else is about to throw good Queens heids at a lost cause.

The last sixty years of Westminster Governments of any colour should be getting their ears, (as a minimum), nailed to the floor right this day for the state the "Union" is in because of financial stupidity, Trident, MOD squandering etc., and not least for the state of the NHS and welfare systems.

And we are better together ? Aye in their dreams.
# drumsmudden 2012-07-02 18:30
"Facts are chiels that winna ding"
My previous post commenting on J.Wils" remark about meanness seems to have touched a raw nerve with him. If and when he can prove that what I said was a
lie then he can feel free to make judgments about the higher moral ground.

You must be logged-in in order to post a comment.


Donate to Newsnet Scotland


Latest Comments