Kezia Dugdale has been criticised after comparing the EU referendum tactics of the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign with those of Yes Scotland during the independence referendum.
The Scottish Labour leader was appearing alongside UK leader Jeremy Corbyn at a campaign event in London when she drew comparisons between the EU referendum and the independence referendum.
The MSP told party activists that just as “cold hard facts” had been dismissed by her pro-independence opponents during the indyref, so the ‘Leave’ campaign was now doing the same.
The Scottish Labour leader said: “The vast majority of experts, and the overwhelming body of evidence, confirms that the risks of leaving the EU outweigh any perceived benefits.
“Risks to current and future jobs. Risks to our economy. Risks to workers’ rights. And these are risks we don’t have to take. In the independence referendum they told us we were scaremongering. They told us we wanted to frighten people. It was the standard response whenever the other side were faced with cold, hard facts.
“Yet, we’ve been proven right. The warnings from the experts were accurate. In fact, they downplayed the risks at the time. On oil, on currency, on our public finances. The Governor of the Bank of England. He was right. President Obama. He was right. The Institute of Fiscal Studies. They were right.
“They were dismissed then and the Leave campaign want to dismiss them now. You know – Nigel Farage can dismiss some of the experts some of the time. But he can’t dismiss all of the experts all of the time”.
Dugdale’s comments have been slammed on social media with many independence supporters pointing out that, since Scotland voted No and has not become independent, then predictions of doom and penury cannot be proven. It has also been pointed out that counter arguments from experts on the Yes side received less coverage from a mainly pro-Union media.
Others have pointed to pre-referendum warnings from the No campaign on banking, jobs and shipbuilding that have since come to pass despite Scotland remaining in the Union.
Dugdale’s comments have also resulted in an online spat with STV reporter Aidan Kerr who challenged the Scottish Labour leader after she denied comparing the EU referendum with the independence referendum.
In a tweet, Dugdale said: “Bit of Twitter traffic saying I compared Yes to Leave today – quite a stretch from what I “actually” said…”
Kerr replied: “You did say this though and made a direct comparison between the campaigns.”
Dugdale then responded: “you see what you want to see Aidan. Quite clearly an argument about listening to experts, because you know, they know stuff.”
Kerr replied: “I’m confused here. You intentionally made a comparison between 2014 and present. How am I selectively hearing your remarks?”
Dugdale did not reply to the STV reporter’s final comment.
Dugdale’s remarks followed a show of unity between the SNP, Labour and the Lib Dems in Scotland with five former First Ministers urging supporters to vote to remain in the EU. With polls showing both campaigns neck-and-neck, there is a growing feeling that a strong ‘Remain’ majority in Scotland could prove vital.
Unionists though have expressed concern that a ‘Leave’ vote south of the border might lead to a second indyref if Scots vote to remain but are outnumbered. The scenario has already led to renewed media attacks on the SNP over the currency an independent Scotland might use and the ‘volatility’ of oil.Views: 4537