Dave Stewart is an MSP for the Highlands and Islands.
He is also a Chancer.
He is a typical Labour careerist.
He has been an MP, an ex MP and a list MSP.
During his time as an MP, he was a member of the Scottish and Work and Pensions Select Committees and (interestingly) from 2003-05 was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Scotland.
Fast forward to the present and I wonder how close he is to Darling and to Darling’s vision of Better Together. I sense a schism.
Here he is from 5th March 2014 on the subject of Whisky;
“It is clear that the risks to the whisky industry in Scotland posed by separation are huge.
“The Highlands and Islands have a great number of jobs and small local economies that are supported by the whisky industry, independence would put the safety and security of these jobs at risk.”
“The future relationship between Scotland and the E.U. is crucial here as Europe is one the largest export markets for Scottish Whisky.
“If Scotland votes for independence we will loose our current E.U. membership as part of the United Kingdom and it is unclear how and if and when we would be admitted.
“The European Union gives us free trade with the rest of the UK and Europe and Scotland greatly benefits from this arrangement to the tune of nearly £ 1.3 billion a year in terms of whiskey sales. Why would we want to put that at risk?”
Now I don’t see this as a full blooded call to arms to support the Union. If I were a Darlingesque Better Together flunky, I’d be pitching this in apocalyptic terms. This piece by Dave Stewart is clearly not in this league. So is Dave Stewart hedging his bets? Possibly.
Personally I wouldn’t be surprised because Dave is very probably a typical career driven pragmatist. Watch his language mellow as September approaches.