The Prime Minister is joining in the efforts of the campaign for a No vote. Photo: Getty
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David Cameron: “We do not want this family of nations to be ripped apart”

The Prime Minister’s last-minute plea to Scotland.

David Cameron has written an emotional piece in the Daily Mail calling for Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom. Its headline is: “Our Union is precious. Don't tear it apart”.

Here are some extracts:

It’s difficult to put into words what our United Kingdom represents. This is the group of small islands in the North Atlantic that have punched above our weight for centuries – and we’ve done so together.

When the world wanted representation, we gave them democracy. When they wanted progress, we had the Scottish enlightenment and the industrial revolution.

When slavery bound innocent people, we abolished it; when fascism threatened freedom, we defeated it. A hundred years ago, our boys went off to war together – and they did so as comrades, united by purpose and hope for a better world.

As individuals and as nations, we have done extraordinary things. This is the special alchemy of the UK – you mix together Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland and together we smash expectations.

. . .

This week, the No campaign set out more detail on this. Power for Scotland over how much money it borrows, what taxes it raises, how it spends that money – all agreed by November, all put into draft legislation by January. This is the package that Gordon Brown outlined on Monday. It is one I wholeheartedly support. Because we know that brighter future for Scotland rests not only on staying in the UK, but also on having significant new powers.

. . .

The United Kingdom is a precious and special country. That is what is at stake. So let no one in Scotland be in any doubt: we desperately want you to stay; we do not want this family of nations to be ripped apart. Across England, Northern Ireland and Wales, our fear over what we stand to lose is matched only by our passion for what can be achieved if we stay together.

It is a clear, impassioned article – qualities the Better Together campaign had been missing until the former PM Gordon Brown embarked on his tour to save the Union this week.

It comes as Westminster’s three main party leaders are abandoning their parliamentary duties today, in order to prioritise the fight against Scottish independence. Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg are all going on a No vote trip to Scotland, in a last-minute attempt to persuade Scotland to stay. So far, all three leaders have kept a relatively low profile in the campaign, which is why I wrote yesterday that this show of their nerves today is a bad idea.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.

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Richmond is a victory for hope - now let's bring change across the country

The regressives are building their armies. 

Last night a regressive alliance was toppled. Despite being backed by both Ukip and the Conservative Party, Zac Goldsmith was rejected by the voters of Richmond Park.

Make no mistake, this result will rock the Conservative party – and in particularly dent their plans for a hard and painful Brexit. They may shrug off this vote in public, but their majority is thin and their management of the post-referendum process is becoming more chaotic by the day. This is a real moment, and those of us opposing their post-truth plans must seize it.

I’m really proud of the role that the Green party played in this election. Our local parties decided to show leadership by not standing this time and urging supporters to vote instead for the candidate that stood the best chance of winning for those of us that oppose Brexit. Greens’ votes could very well be "what made the difference" in this election (we received just over 3,500 votes in 2015 and Sarah Olney’s majority is 1,872) - though we’ll never know exactly where they went. Just as importantly though, I believe that the brave decision by the local Green party fundamentally changed the tone of the election.

When I went to Richmond last weekend, I met scores of people motivated to campaign for a "progressive alliance" because they recognised that something bigger than just one by election is at stake. We made a decision to demonstrate you can do politics differently, and I think we can fairly say that was vindicated. 

There are some already attacking me for helping get one more Liberal Democrat into Parliament. Let me be very clear: the Lib Dems' role in the Coalition was appalling – propping up a Conservative government hell bent on attacking our public services and overseeing a hike in child poverty. But Labour’s record of their last time in office isn't immune from criticism either – not just because of the illegal war in Iraq but also their introduction of tuition fees, privatisation of our health service and slavish worship of the City of London. They, like the Liberal Democrats, stood at the last election on an austerity manifesto. There is a reason that we remain different parties, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn't also seize opportunities like this to unite behind what we have in common. Olney is no perfect candidate but she has pledged to fight a hard Brexit, campaign against airport expansion and push for a fair voting system – surely progressives can agree that her win takes us forward rather than backwards?

Ultimately, last night was not just defeat of a regressive alliance but a victory for hope - a victory that's sorely needed on the back of of the division, loss and insecurity that seems to have marked much of the rest of this year. The truth is that getting to this point hasn’t been an easy process – and some people, including local Green party members have had criticisms which, as a democrat, I certainly take seriously. The old politics dies hard, and a new politics is not easy to forge in the short time we have. But standing still is not an option, nor is repeating the same mistakes of the past. The regressives are building their armies and we either make our alternative work or risk the left being out of power for a generation. 

With our NHS under sustained attack, our climate change laws threatened and the increasing risk of us becoming a tax haven floating on the edge of the Atlantic, the urgent need to think differently about how we win has never been greater. 

An anti-establishment wave is washing over Britain. History teaches us that can go one of two ways. For the many people who are utterly sick of politics as usual, perhaps the idea of politicians occasionally putting aside their differences for the good of the country is likely to appeal, and might help us rebuild trust among those who feel abandoned. So it's vital that we use this moment not just to talk among ourselves about how to work together but also as another spark to start doing things differently, in every community in Britain. That means listening to people, especially those who voted for Britain to leave the EU, hearing what they’re saying and working with them to affect change. Giving people real power, not just the illusion of it.

It means looking at ways to redistribute power and money in this country like never before, and knowing that a by-election in a leafy London suburb changes nothing for the vast majority of our country.

Today let us celebrate that the government's majority is smaller, and that people have voted for a candidate who used her victory speech to say that she would "stand up for an open, tolerant, united Britain".  But tomorrow let’s get started on something far bigger - because the new politics is not just about moments it's about movements, and it will only work if nobody is left behind.

 

Caroline Lucas is the MP for Brighton Pavilion.