Opponents of Scottish independence must match the emotion of the nationalist campaign in the 100 days left until the referendum, former British finance minister Alistair Darling said on Monday.
Darling urged the “quiet but resolute majority” of Scots to play their part as he tried to counter accusations that the Better Together campaign he leads has been lacklustre.
With all the mainstream British parties having now promised Scots further devolution in the event of a “No” vote on September 18, the devolved Scottish administration would have “substantially enhanced powers”, Darling argued.
Such an outcome was what the “overwhelming majority” of Scots want, he told a rally in Glasgow.
Darling, who was chancellor of the exchequer from 2007 to 2010 under prime minister Gordon Brown, said with just 100 days left of campaigning, the nationalists were “running out of arguments — and they are running out of time”.
“So I suspect in the remaining weeks they will give up on the evidence and simply go for the emotion,” he said.
“That is where we, the quiet but resolute majority, each have a crucial role to play.
“Together in the days ahead we must, and we will, meet and match them in emotion as surely we have mastered them on the evidence.”
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) that forms the devolved Edinburgh government, scoffed at Darling’s suggestion that increased devolution would bring huge benefits.
She said plans published last week by British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives showed that “none of the UK parties would give us the competitive powers to grow the economy, set our taxes and fund public spending”.
Speaking at an event in Edinburgh where women were able to question all the female ministers in the Scottish government, Sturgeon claimed independence promised more for women than staying in the 300-year-old United Kingdom.
Sturgeon said an independent Scotland could offer women greater scope in areas such as childcare, employment policy, and the welfare system.
US President Barack Obama last week made a rare foray into the campaign, suggesting that Scotland would be better off as part of Britain.
In an intervention that annoyed the “Yes” campaign of Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, Obama said there was a positive case for the United Kingdom staying together.
“From the outside at least it looks like things have worked pretty well,” he said.
Opinion polls in Scotland show the pro-union camp holds a narrow lead over pro-independence activists.
The “Yes” campaign says it will target the significant number of undecided voters in the remaining 100 days.