Alistair Darling

St Andrew’s day 2023 has brought with it the tragic news of the passing of one of our nation’s great patriots. Alistair Darling, Baron Darling of Roulanish, passed away aged 70 at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital.

The Unionist Clubs Scotland would like to pay tribute to a man who not only served the United Kingdom as a cabinet minister for 13 years but also a man who put his political affiliations aside to fight hand-in-hand with other unionists to prevent the possible destruction of the United Kingdom by 2014’s Scottish Independence Referendum.

Following Labour’s General Election victory in 1997, Lord Darling served in various cabinet roles under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Lord Darling seemed to be able to apply his cool, calculated demeanour to any situation, remaining unfazed even when picking up roles in the wake of his predecessors’ failures.

He is perhaps best known for his role as Chancellor of the Exchequer during the 2007 banking collapse. Lord Darling was seen as a safe pair of hands during this crisis as his reassuring manner and calculated approach to dealing with the financial chaos brought some much needed focus at a time that saw the UK taken to the brink of economic armageddon.

However, it is through his accomplishments as the Chairman of the cross-party Better Together campaign that we should truly pay him the greatest of thanks. Many saw Lord Darling as a sober, reassuring figure who, more than most politicians of his era, could be trusted. When Darling warned of the dire economic consequences of separatism, many sat up and took notice. His ability to reveal the true nature and dangers of separatism by convincing voters to see beyond emotional propaganda  and encouraging them, instead, to focus on facts and common sense.

His willingness to work with other political parties was the bane of nationalist politicians, many of whom are now rushing to praise him in the media purely as a chance for some air-time. However Lord Darling knew that to secure the future of Scotland within the Union was not possible for one party alone. He knew that it required a united front from all parties opposing independence, despite the flack he took from many for allying himself with the Conservatives.

Unionist Clubs Scotland Chairman, Robert Elliot paid tribute stating “Whilst many politicians speak of putting country before party, Alistair Darling demonstrated this principle with honesty, passion and integrity. The success of the Better Together campaign and the preservation of the world’s most successful political, economic and social Union stands as a fitting testament to one of the greatest British and Scottish Politicians of our time.”