Labour would lead the battle against Scottish independence in a bid to save the UK’s ‘deep bonds’ if they were in control, Ed Miliband announced at the party’s Manchester conference today.
The Labour leader gave a confident and transformed off-the-cuff speech at Manchester Central – looking a far cry from the nervous man who spoke after being revealed as the new leader.
Allowing Scotland to separate from the UK would destroy the ‘soul of our nation’ Miliband claimed, not just financially.
“There is no more important area of our common life than the UK itself,” he said. “Scotland, will decide in the next two years whether to stay or to go.
“I want to be quite clear about this… Scotland could leave the United Kingdom.
“But I believe we would be far worse off as a result, not just in pounds and pence but in the soul of our nation.
“I don’t believe that solidarity stops at the border. I care as much about a young person unemployed in Motherwell as I do about a young person unemployed here in Manchester.
“We have common bonds, we have deep bonds with each other – the people of Scotland and the people of the rest of the United Kingdom.”
Miliband drew on the London 2012 Olympics to indicate the bond shared between Scotland and the rest of the country, declaring that fans were cheering on athletes from all four countries.
“If you think about the people of Scotland and the Olympic Games, they weren’t cheering on just the Scottish athletes of Team GB, they were cheering on all the athletes of Team GB,” he added.
“That’s what the SNP don’t understand. Why would a party that claims to be left of centre turn its back on the redistribution, the solidarity, the common bonds of the United Kingdom?
“It is up to us, we the Labour Party must be the people who fight, defend and win the battle for the United Kingdom.”