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No team unveil 'better together positivity'

THE campaign for a No vote in the independence referendum is to call itself "Better Together" to help present a positive case for the union.

So far, campaign managers have kept the name a closely guarded secret ahead of a formal launch around June 22.

However, the Sunday Herald can reveal that three key members of the No campaign – former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling, Tory MSP David McLetchie, and Scottish LibDem convener Craig Harrow – recently become directors of a new company called Better Together 2012 Ltd, based in the Fountainbridge area of Edinburgh.

Blair McDougall, an adviser to the last Labour government and the chief executive-designate of the No campaign, also became the registered owner of the bettertogether.net website.

By keeping the word "No" out of its title, the unionist side hopes to head off SNP accusations that it is negative in outlook and fixated on the potential downside of Scotland leaving the UK.

Instead, Better Together aims to present a positive case for the UK

The phrase is already widely used by unionist parties when arguing that the nations of the UK are stronger together and would be weaker apart.

Prime Minister David Cameron used the mantra in a speech on independence in Edinburgh in February, when he said: "Of course Scotland could govern itself. So could England. But we do it so much better together."

However the SNP, who are pushing the Yes Scotland campaign launched last month, believe the name Better Together could hamper their opponents, as it fails to drive home the key message that people should vote No in 2014.

Although outwardly cross-party, all sides of the No campaign admit it will be Labour-dominated, given voter antipathy towards the Tories and LibDems.

Labour also have the most to gain from a No vote. Preserving the union would let the party keep around 40 Scots MPs, and could see the party displace the SNP as the dominant force in Scottish politics.

Labour strategists believe a resounding No vote would shatter the SNP, with Alex Salmond blamed for fumbling the greatest opportunity in the party's history.

Some in Labour are so confident of winning, they are now discussing what kind of victory they want to achieve.

One Labour MP said: "The campaign is not really now about winning the referendum. I think that is won [for the union]. It's about whether the SNP are seen to be not credible as a future government, and we are."

A source from the No campaign confirmed Better Together would be the official name, as it summed up the most commonly expressed sentiment among those in favour of the union, and the word "better" also implied Scotland could progress within the union.

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