TUC official backs independence Yes vote

Des Loughney sees a bright independent future. Picture: David Moir
Des Loughney sees a bright independent future. Picture: David Moir
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A LEADING city trade unionist and former Labour councillor has revealed he will vote Yes in the independence referendum.

Des Loughney, who has been secretary of the Edinburgh TUC for the past 35 years, said after careful consideration he had come to the conclusion that independence was the best choice for working people.

But he said his decision to vote Yes should not be taken as indicating support for the SNP.

Mr Loughney, who served on Lothian Regional Council from 1990 to 1994, said he believed there was “a good chance” that independence would improve living standards.

He said: “The prospect of staying in the UK is not good for working people’s standard of living.

“Whether the Labour Party or the Tory party is in power at the Westminster parliament, austerity will continue for the foreseeable future.

“Austerity means growing inequality, years of wage freezes after years of wage freezes and cuts in welfare benefits, including pensions. The NHS will be endangered as is happening in England.”

He said he believed there was a better chance of economic problems being solved “in a more socially just manner” if there was an independent Scotland.

He said working people would benefit if Holyrood had control of welfare benefits, pensions, employment rights and health and safety rights.

He continued: “Scotland is potentially prosperous in a modern world economy. It has a surplus of energy and water. It has a well educated and skilled working class. There is no reason it cannot have a good economic future if not held back by mistaken Tory and right-wing Labour programmes of austerity, and expensive foreign military adventures.”

But he added: “Voting Yes does not imply voting at all for the SNP. I will vote in a post-independent 2016 election for the party that promises to deliver most on social justice, jobs, a progressive foreign policy and a green future.”

Allan Grogan, co-convener of Labour for Independence, said he was delighted to welcome someone of Mr Loughney’s stature to the Yes camp.

He said: “Because of the need to win over Middle England, Labour at Westminster is chasing the tail of the Tories and Ukip. We hope independence will mean the rebirth of a real Labour Party in Scotland.”