By a Newsnet reporter
Claims the anti-independence campaign is deliberately seeking to avoid debating with its rivals have been made after yet another Unionist politician refused to appear at a pre-arranged event.
The anti-independence parties have been challenged to have the courage to let voters hear both sides of the argument in the referendum – after it emerged that the No campaign has been instructing speakers to pull out of debates.

Tory MSP Jamie McGrigor has become the latest speaker to be ordered by the No campaign to pull out of an arranged debate – after refusing to appear at a scheduled event on the Isle of Skye. 

The pro-Union MSP had agreed to speak on behalf of the anti-independence Better Together campaign at an event scheduled to take place in Portree on June 6th.  However the MSP withdrew after Better Together stepped in and told him not to appear.

The move follows the continual refusal of David Cameron – who has been drafted in to play a more central role in the No campaign after Tory criticism of Alistair Darling’s performance – to agree to a head-to-head debate with the First Minister.

Commenting, Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Mike Mackenzie said:

"With the No campaign refusing to engage in debates all over the country people in Scotland will be wondering what they have to be afraid of – it seems like the No camp have gone from Project Fear to Project Feart.

"Perhaps the No campaign is taking their lead from David Cameron – whose refusal to debate with the First Minister has been a source of constant embarrassment for the No camp.”

The latest no-show from backers of the No campaign follows a similar pattern at events throughout Scotland, where Better Together appears to be increasingly reluctant to put forward speakers to debate with Yes campaigners.

Last month a huge event organised in Glasgow saw Yes campaigners forced to scour the city for participants willing to argue in favour of a No vote after Better Together refused to take part.  The failure to debate follows a string of events that have shown a marked move to Yes after members of the public are presented with arguments from both sides.

Mr Mackenzie added: "Earlier this year I debated Alistair Carmichael – with the Yes side emerging as the clear winner in a situation replicated at debates across the country.

"Time after time we saw that when people hear the arguments from both sides, they move to Yes – perhaps this is why the No camp are running scared of debate and refusing to take part.  They know their negative, scaremongering arguments just aren’t cutting it with people in Scotland."


# Davy 2014-05-18 11:41
So the No campaign is too feart to put the case for No out to the public in a face to face confrontation.
# WRH2 2014-05-18 13:27
Given the recent "performance" of a Tory councillor at a NFUS meeting, see item on NNS.

and today's tweet about WoS,
Maybe it's better keeping all the No's away from the public.
# creigs1707repeal 2014-05-18 13:33
In our one-sided TV ads, cinema ads, newspaper articles etc, etc listen to what we tell you--just do not question us. Ever. We know best so just shut up and listen to what we tell you. Vote NO if you know what's good for you.

That pretty much sums up the NO campaign's approach to the referendum. They do not seek open debate because they know they can never ever defeat the YES campaign's argument which is a simple one: "The best people to run a country are the people who live and work in that country." If you want proper democracy in Scotland then vote YES to make its parliament sovereign.

A simple, powerful and appealing message. The only way they can hope to win is to shut down debate thus keeping the people ignorant of the facts. The No camp are a disgrace. If the Union was so great they would not be backward in coming forward to argue the case. That, of itself, tells you everything you need to know.
# proudscot 2014-05-18 13:48
The problem with the pro-union advocates is that if they take part in debates, their lies and misinformation can be challenged directly by their pro-independence opponents. Whereas if they just deliver their dodgy soundbites and negativity via compliant BBC and papers, they can't be instantly challenged and shown up to be the mendacious lot that they are.
# Leader of the Pack 2014-05-18 13:56
Its only the media who are preventing the people of Scotland from overwhelming voting yes.

By constantly presenting the No campaign Project Fear claims as credible repetitively along with stifling all Yes campaign arguments or presenting them as iffy at best they and they alone will be responsible for gaining a no vote if that dismal prospect plays out.

The article regarding the reconciliation was spot on. There will be no reconciliation with the media no matter what the outcome.
# Breeks 2014-05-18 14:15
Fine. My recommendation to all YES spokespeople and advocates of independence is to keep going and use every possible platform to articulate the benefits of independence, and spread the vision of the brand new modern country and society we can create for ourselves and our kids.

I'm no political anorak, but I can't think of any other political campaign where the side losing the argument actively told it's supporters to shun debate.

If Better Together think their non appearance downgrades the debate, then let's upgrade the debate, use the platforms to present the whole new political philosophy of the Common Weal. Let us be rid of corrupt neo-liberalism.
# Scotland First 2014-05-18 14:47
Has the BT campaign hit a new low, where in it's aim to to keep the current status, it is just using the media to disseminate it's propaganda and misleading stories which are not challenged?

Talk about Machiavellian. It's shows what a sham this imbalanced Union is.
# bringiton 2014-05-18 15:14
They are sticking with their failed media campaign because they have no alternative.
The absence of grass roots Labour (No)support has been the most notable aspect of this referendum.
Where are they and what does this tell us about the real state of affairs in Scotland?
Perhaps when they can't promote their "stop a Tory" mantra,there is no great enthusiasm for their party's policies.
Certainly that particular tactic won't play in an independent Scotland as the prospect of a Tory administration at Holyrood is next to zero.
They are running scared from the debate because their case is now seen to be a complete fraud backed by dodgy Tory funds.
# Dundonian West 2014-05-18 15:34
OT.One of Jim Sillar's most powerful speeches yet on indepenedence,t he working class,Middle England,the road ahead for Scotland following the referendum and much much more. Cardonald 15th.May.
WOW! If I was a solid No voter I think I'd leave the hall determined to vote Yes!
# Wullie B 2014-05-18 18:22 This was in the West Highland Free Press or Breakish Beano as Brian Wilsons comic is known as locally ,must have stuck in his throat for this to have been published in a paper he set up slamming Bitter Together no shows
# Alba4Eva 2014-05-18 21:00
Im with the idea someone had of embarrassing them into turning up by the threat of a life size cardboard cut-out being substituted in their place if they don't.
# Breeks 2014-05-19 07:51
I was quite serious - Pro indy groups like Radical Independence,th e Common Weal, Labour for Indy etc - should get coordinated with a list of speakers on 'stand by' to be available at short notice if Better Together tries pulling the rug on public debates.

It's a powerful message to the Better Together mob that every debate they duck out from will still be a constructive and positive YES event with or without their contribution.
# gandkar 2014-05-19 08:13
"No campaign accused of pulling speakers from debates"

Seems perfectly sensible to me - if you have nothing to say why bother turning up.

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