The Prime Minister David Cameron is visiting Scotland today to make the case for keeping the United Kingdom together.
The Prime Minister will also have talks with Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond in Edinburgh. The meeting comes after the First Minister discussed his plans for staging a ballot on independence with the Scottish Secretary Michael Moore earlier this week.
Ahead of this afternoon’s talks Mr Cameron will use a speech in Edinburgh to make the case for the Union.
The fight is now underway for something really precious: the future of our United Kingdom. I am one hundred percent clear that I will fight with everything I have to keep our United Kingdom together. To me, this is not some issue of policy or strategy or calculation - it matters head, heart and soul. Our shared home is under threat and everyone who cares about it needs to speak out.
Of course, there are arguments that can be made about the volatility of dependence on oil, or the problems of debt and a big banking system. But that’s not the point. The best case for the United Kingdom is entirely positive. We are better off together. Why? Well, first of all, let’s be practical. Inside the United Kingdom, Scotland - just as much as England, Wales and Northern Ireland - is stronger, safer, richer and fairer.
We’re stronger, because together we count for more in the world, with a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, real clout in NATO and Europe and unique influence with allies all over the world.
We’re safer, because in an increasingly dangerous world we have the fourth-largest defence budget on the planet, superb armed forces and anti-terrorist and security capabilities that stretch across the globe and are feared by our enemies and admired by our friends.
We’re richer, because inside the United Kingdom Scotland’s five million people are part of an economy of 60 million, the seventh-richest economy on the planet and one of the world’s biggest trading powers. Today, Scotland has a currency which takes into account the needs of Scottish economy as well as the rest of the United Kingdom when setting interest rates and it can borrow at rates that are among the lowest in Europe.