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MAJOR SPEAKS IN SCOTLAND: 'WE WILL FIGHT FOR THE UNION'

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Extract from prime minister's speech to the Conservative Party rally in Aberdeen yesterday: ...
Extract from prime minister's speech to the Conservative Party rally in Aberdeen yesterday:

'The very fate of Britain will depend on the next Prime Minister's skill as a negotiator, only six weeks after the election to come.

Either I or Mr Blair will have to speak for Britain at the European Summit at Amsterdam.

You may hear some people ask what the future of Europe has to do with their day to day lives.

Point to what's happening in Scotland.

Point to the new investment flooding in - to NEC, Hyundai and Chunghwa.

Point to falling dole queues - to new jobs, new prosperity.

That's what is at stake at Amsterdam. Scotland's prosperity. Scotland's jobs.

That prosperity and those jobs have come from the British Conservative way - from a low tax, low regulation economy, which places few additional costs on business.

Then point to the mainland of Europe.

Point to investment flooding out, to the dole queues lengthening.

Europe's job losses result from the opposite - the high cost, high regulation, union driven approach that Brussels prefers.

The kind of things that Mr Santer and Mr Blair both want to use the Social Chapter to push into Britain.

For years we Conservatives have said 'No' to all that; we've put Britain's prosperity first.

Now the federalists of Europe cannot believe their luck. Mr Blair has appeared. Talking of a fresh start in Europe. Talking of concessions in Europe. Talking of being 'constructive' in Europe - that's Brussels-speak for giving way.

If Britain sent Mr Blair to Amsterdam, he would pick up his pen and sign the papers Mr Santer set before him.

Mr Blair - the man who boasts he would 'never' allow Britain to be isolated in Europe - Mr Blair would sit there and surrender.

Britain's opt out from the Social Chapter. Surrendered.

Our vetoes on industrial, regional, economic and social policy. Surrendered.

Our refusal to sign up to a new Employment Chapter. Surrendered.

Labour would run a Dutch Auction of British Sovereignty.

A sell-out on Day One of Labour's venture into Europe - a smash hit for European federalism.

Yet Mr Blair boasts 'I am a negotiator.' Easy, isn't it? You don't have to negotiate a surrender. You just sign.

The man who - given the chance - would have surrendered our nuclear weapons has now shown his negotiating skill in Europe in quite unbelievable fashion.

Whoever went in to pay talks having sent a letter to the boss saying a pay cut would be fine by him?

Whoever walked into a garage to buy a used car and said 'I'll give you (pounds)5000', whatever the make and condition.

But that's what the Labour leader - this self-styled master negotiator - has actually done.

Incredible, isn't it?

Can we risk such a man as our Prime Minister?

He's given away some of Britain's best cards before the game has even begun.

This self-styled negotiator has told our partners what his hand would be.

He doesn't want to meet me in a debate. So, I've a new challenge for him - how about a poker game?

If we had the disaster of a Labour government, Scotland would be powerless to stop policies that have hiked up costs and kept people out of work right across Europe from pouring into Britain.

Mr Blair now struggles to cover himself. He claims he could sign the Social Chapter, but then pick and choose which measures he'd accept.

Listen to what he said when the journalists tackled him with the truth of his policy.

'Look, it's all just sort of ... hooey over the Social Chapter ... I mean ... everyone knows that it is'.

Hooey.

Not hooey, Mr Blair. Fact.

Because the truth is, on the main issues, that, if he signed the Social Chapter, he would have no veto, no power to stop the policies that scything down jobs on the other side of the North Sea.

Once his name was on the Social Chapter, no government in the future could reverse the policies that Brussels might inject into Britain.

You could have trade union power entrenched for all time.

Think about it. Think seriously.

It's the plan the trade unions and the Labour party don't want you to wake up to.

When you hear Mr Blair and Mr Santer saying they want us to be 'constructive' in Europe - think about it. Think seriously.

For them being 'constructive' means giving away Britain's vetoes and risking British jobs on a day trip to Amsterdam.

Yes, if Mr Blair were constructive in Europe, he would be destructive to jobs in Scotland.

If the British people send me to Amsterdam, be in no doubt. I will not put British prosperity at risk. I will not put Britain on the escalator to a federal Europe.

I want to build a wider, more flexible Europe - one that welcomes in other countries to the community, one that respects the varying traditions, culture and way of life of all the member countries.

But a federal Europe? No.

Surrender of any of our vetoes? No.

If Europe goes federal, a Conservative Britain will not follow.

And here's something else to remember for the doorsteps. About that other great European issue - a single currency.

Whatever other parties may tell people, the next Conservative Government will guarantee a national referendum before there could be any question of joining a single currency in Europe.

And let me make something else perfectly clear. If our partners try to fudge a single currency it will fail - and we will have no part of it.

And, as British Prime Minister, I will never accept the control of our taxation and spending policies passing out of the hands of our Parliament into other institutions abroad.

If this were a condition of the single currency then I would most firmly reject it.

I know you would expect me to say something of a third great issue in which Labour's policy confusions are a profound threat to us all.

May 1st 1997 will be the 290th anniversary of the Act of the Union.

The day on which people in the United Kingdom will make a simple choice.

A choice that may determine whether we remain a United Kingdom, or not.

I come here - as ever - in all humility.

I come here as an Englishman. But I also carry the great trust of being Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

I believe that the best interests of all our nations in this United Kingdom - in this dangerous, shifting, uncertain world - are best served by staying together, by staying one.

And I will therefore always be opposed to policies that I believe - deliberately or carelessly - may lead to the break-up of our Kingdom.

Imagine how our voice would be diminished in the world if that disaster were to occur.

Would Scotland's voice be heard as a permanent member of the UN Security Council? It would not.

Would Scotland's voice be heard as a member of the G7 club of great economic powers? It would not.

Would Scotland tower over Belgium or Greece in its influence in Europe? It would not.

Would the defence interests of Scotland - whose brave soldiers have accomplished and still accomplish such wonders in the four corners of the world - be heard so strongly in NATO? They would not.

No-one - except the most blinkered Nationalist - wants that fate for Scotland.

And ask yourselves this. Would Scotland be richer or poorer if it had a separate Parliament full of socialist members putting up taxes this side of the Tweed?

Would foreign investors flock here? Would business stay here? Would jobs be created? Or would prosperity wane?

No-one surely wants that fate for Scotland.

The question is - whose policies might risk it?

The people of Scotland know my view. Since I first became Prime Minister I have come here - repeatedly - to talk, to listen, to explain.

Let no one say this Conservative Government ignores the views of Scottish people.

You should sit round a Cabinet table with people like Malcolm Rifkind and Ian Lang and Michael Forsyth and hear what tigers they are in arguing Scotland's case. A Scottish Secretary is an essential voice for Scotland.

Then there's the Scottish Grand Committee. It now has all the powers a Scottish Parliament would have - except one, the power to raise tax.

This is sensible, careful change - the gradual change that bears all the hallmarks of Conservatism.

We offer a policy that enhances the influence and the voice of Scotland - but which, without equivocation, will keep the United Kingdom prosperous, united and one.

That's the Conservative way.

But we are the only party offering that way to the people of Scotland.

I appeal to you. Don't let whatever doubts you may have had about the Conservative Party in the past weigh with you, when the future of the United Kingdom may be at stake. Think about it. Think seriously. Think again.

Look in my eyes and know this. I will always deal fair and true by this great nation.

I profoundly believe the other parties' policies would put the United Kingdom - and all Scotland has worked for and achieved these last few years - at risk.

I do not say this for narrow party advantage. Let others in Scotland pursue the short-term party advantage. I speak as I do because I believe it is right.

It would be all too easy to conclude that the best interests of the Conservative Party would be served if Scotland were separated. If so, then there could be a huge Conservative majority at Westminster.

But that is not the nature of this Party. Nor is it the nature of this Prime Minister. We are a unionist party. And we will fight for the Union.

The Union of Scotland and England is not some dry, academic theory.

Look around the world. Half of it was shaped by statesmen, traders, writers and businessmen who came from these islands. No-one asked them if they were Scottish, Welsh, Irish or English. It was enough that they came from Britain - carried our values. Together our nations are far greater than we could ever be divided. Let us not bring down the curtain on that united history as this millennium ends.

Others may view this more casually. I never could. And I never shall. Whatever the pressures may be.

At this election we face a more determined threat to the Union than we have seen for a generation.

With the Nationalist case we are familiar. It is the old socialism with a twist of venom. Remove the 4 SNP MPs, and you remove the threat of separation.

So far as the Liberals are concerned.... Well - the Liberals are concerned. They're heading for oblivion.

The real threat comes from Labour - and the policies of Mr Blair.

Forgive me if I say something a little harsh.

I do not truly believe Mr Blair understands Scotland. I wonder sometimes how much he even cares for Scotland. More and more recently he has seemed to care more for the use he can make of Scotland.

His policy combines a sense of carelessness with a whiff of arrogance that I, for one, find slightly unappealing.

Imagine if I had flown to Scotland and on that flight had torn up my Manifesto and declared that I personally, an English MP, would render meaningless the promise I had made to Scotland of a tax- raising Parliament.

Imagine I had behaved like that, what would the people of Scotland make of me?

Like me or loathe me, on the issues I put before you today, you know where I stand.

Mr Blair on devolution has shifted and shuffled and shifted again.

Take the issue of a referendum.

First, he told us there'd be no referendum on devolution. Then there was to be one. Then two. Then one again.

Mr Blair seems incapable of keeping to one policy for more than a few months.

And this is his self-declared priority. God help us when he comes to deal with other matters.

Then again let's look at the unanswered questions Mr Blair has left in his wake.

When Mr Blair came to Scotland he was challenged to answer.

So let's ask him again.

Why should Scottish MPs be able to vote at Westminster on matters affecting England, but English MPs be unable to vote on matters affecting Scotland?

Would Scottish MPs be able to sit as Ministers running Departments managing English affairs?

Why is Mr Blair arguing for Scotland to have a tax-raising Parliament, while his front-bench is attacking it in Wales as 'economic illiteracy'?

Would therebe a cut in the number of Scottish MPs at Westminster?

Why give the Parliament the power to raise tax - and frighten foreign business - if you never want to use it?

The hour is late. The list goes on. I'll spare you the rest. But listen to Mr Blair's answer when the journalists of Scotland tried to pursue him. I quote:

'Is there anyone who would like to ask a question on anything else? Is there anyone who really..... I mean, I really have done this one to death.'

I think the young mastermind meant 'Pass'.

The real problem is that Mr Blair, in all his inexperience, may not realise that these questions, unanswered, might eventually do our Union to death.

There is one more point I would like to make - and, again, I hope the Labour leader will forgive me.

It is about that whiff of arrogance.

Of dismissing the difficult questions.

Of changing policy to suit his own convenience.

Of planning to dictate to an elected Scottish parliament from his office in London.

Of assuming he would have a majority in such a parliament.

Of talking of a parish council.

Of patronising the Labour Party in Scotland.

The lesson of the last few years is that Labour's Scottish Policy is not decided by the Scottish Labour Party.

Nor the Shadow Scottish Secretary - the most humiliated man in British politics.

But, it seems, a group of pollsters, a focus group far away, unaccountable, unnamed, unseen, and a small group around the Labour leader who salute his every word.

I see the Labour red changing to an imperial purple - and I see a man carried away by his own propaganda.

I hear the honest voice of that trade union leader asking: 'Why haven't you kept the promise you've made?'

And I hear the reply from the shadows: 'I want to win - whatever the price.'

Ask yourselves this. How many more promises does Mr Blair have to break before the people of Britain understand his true nature?

This week we've seen that Britain faces three great threats.

The union threat. The federalist threat. And the separatist threat.

Labour would be a soft touch on all three.

Funded by the unions, instinctively integrationist, appeasing the separatists, Labour, led by Mr Blair, would destroy British prosperity, risk dividing Britain and put us on the escalator to a federal Europe.

Our United Kingdom would be reduced to a country of regions. Our national Parliament, the buttress of our democracy, would be sidelined. Divided, separated, weakened, we would become a pawn in a federal Europe.

A change of faces would change the face of Britain - for the worse.

That is the threat Scotland faces on May 1.

The only way you can be sure of avoiding that, sure of keeping the Scottish economy booming, is to vote Conservative.'

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