Responding to the vote in the Scottish independence referendum, which saw the people of Scotland vote by approximately 55 per cent to 45 per cent to stay in the United Kingdom, Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite the union said: "The people of Scotland have decided. In voting No, the Scottish people have declared that they regard the bonds of union as having a continued purpose in their lives.
“However, this is absolutely not a vote for the status quo. Solemn promises of further devolution have been made by the three main Westminster parties; there must be no reneging on those commitments made to the Scottish people.
“The vibrancy of this referendum campaign has been breath-taking and can be much admired by the rest of these islands. This will live on in history as a time when political life of our people was reborn. Energetic, inspirational grassroots movements reminded us that politics can be meaningful once more, that it lives on the streets and communities of the people, not in the Westminster chamber or the trading floors of capital. And when the true change is on offer the people are engaged and will grasp the opportunity to shape their destiny
“Politics, as the Scottish campaign has shown, must always be about possibilities, about the faith that the common good can triumph. The debates and discussions that have resounded through the halls, homes and workplaces of Scotland speak to a people enthused, alive with optimism for a brighter tomorrow. This gives us all hope, and for that we must thank the Scottish people.
“Unite has stood shoulder to shoulder with our members throughout this journey. Our role was always to offer support them in their deliberations, never to tell them how to vote. Be they yes or no supporters, our members have told us that we have done the right thing.
“We stand again with them as they take the next steps towards greater self-governance. In building this new future, Unite will work tirelessly to ensure our movement's values of respect, equity and fairness, our determination to ensure a better life for working people and their communities, prevail.
“There can be no returning to business as usual after today. The Westminster parties of all hues have witnessed a seismic shift in the political culture of these isles, one that must surely hasten the day we can say goodbye to the ruinous political consensus of the past forty years which has not served our people.
“My message to the Labour party is this: Time and again you have been warned that the people want change, genuine change. Please listen, understand these calls and heed them.
“This is not the time for recriminations but one for open, profound and deep reflection. Today's vote must be the catalyst our party needs to renew itself and to do so with wisdom and courage. I urge the party of which I am a lifelong member, do not respond to this vote with relief but with the honest understanding that our party has to re-tether itself to the people, to again become the crusade for social justice it once was.”
For further information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
- Notes to editors: Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all ectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.