'Yes campaign working for everyone who wants an independent Scotland'
By Fiona MacGregor
"If we are able to focus on our own priorities, make our own decisions, then we are more likely to be able to get it right for ourselves." That was the clear message from Blair Jenkins this weekend in an interview with Magnus Linklater of The Times about the benefits of an independent Scotland and his role with the Yes campaign.
In his first in-depth newspaper interview since taking up his post as Yes Scotland Chief Executive a fortnight ago, Mr Jenkins was asked about how he intends to ensure success in the 2014 referendum. He said the key was giving people high quality information: "By talking to someone you can move them from a position of neutrality or uncertainty to where they are strongly inclined to independence. People will ask all the hard questions and part of my job is to provide the answers."
And he pointed out that, while the campaign will work hard to illustrate to undecided voters the many benefits of independence, there is already a groundswell of recognition that decisions about Scotland are best made by the people who live here : "Frankly, if a decision were to be made tomorrow about a review of benefits or whether we are to renew Trident, people would rather that decision was made by a Scottish government - any Scottish government - than by the people who are currently charged with making these decisions."
Mr Jenkins again stressed the fact that Yes Scotland is a "big tent" in terms of wanting to include people from different political backgrounds. He said that Alex Salmond is widely acknowledged to be the "outstanding politician of his generation" and that "every morning the (people running the) No campaign must wake up wishing they had a political leader of his calibre to deploy as part of their campaign."
However he added: "(The First Minister) is very clear that Yes Scotland is its own entity, with its own agenda, its own organisational structure and its own mission, which is to work equally well for all parties and all individuals who support independence."
Saying how "proud and privileged" he felt to have been asked to lead the Yes Campaign, Mr Jenkins told Mr Linklater that an independent Scotland goes beyond traditional political boundaries. It is "not so much about left and right, it's about right and wrong," he said, explaining he believes an independent Scotland will help to weld the country together and heal the social divisions that hold the nation back.
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