Tariq Ali: Independence -what is there to fear? Nothing.

Tariq Ali'poster for visit to Kirkcaldy as part of referendum campaign
Tariq Ali'poster for visit to Kirkcaldy as part of referendum campaign

An independent Scotland could transform lives north of the border - and spark change south of it.

The views were put by author and political activist, Tariq Ali, on a visit to Kirkcaldy tonight.

He spoke at a Yes Kirkcaldy meeting as part of the campaign group’s series of events which have brought a range of high profile speakers to town.

Introduced by organiser, Marie Penman, as ‘’one of the legends of activism and public speaking’’ his speech was wide ranging - from oil to Europe, from Obama to New Labour.

For the prominent writer, independence was a great opportunity which Scotland has to take.

‘‘Why shouldn’t Scotland be independent? What is there to fear?’’ he asked, addressing an audience at St Bryce Kirk.

‘‘Independence would be a huge step forward - it would put Scotland out of UK and into the world.’’

Ali said the campaign for a yes vote ‘‘was not an isolationist campaign - not a campaign that promotes cultural nationalism in the old sense.’’

He added: ‘‘This is about improving links with other countries unmediated by Westminster and London.’’

And he was critical of the Better Together campaign which he said ‘‘was not being based on fact and very much on fear. There is no reason to be frightened, but the unionist parties have decided that to win the case they have to frighten the people.

‘‘Whatever happens on September 18, there is no going back to status quo. If no wins, the impetus for another referendum will grow and grow and grow.’’

He was also critical of Labour - particularly New Labour - and its campaign for a no vote, arguing independence could have widespread positive consequences for it.

‘‘An independent Scotland might, interestingly, be better for England as well. The English are not as hostile as the tabloids make out - to be blunt they are indifferent.

‘‘But independence might force serious debate in the Labour Party itself to stop operating like zombies and start talking to real people.’’

He also saw no reason why an independent Scotland could not take its place at the EU table.

‘‘There is no threat to any country from Scotland going independent. None.

‘‘I think the EU would want them. It is not a problem. They will say ‘come in’