By Martin Kelly

The anti-independence campaign Better Together has suffered an embarrassing blow after one of its most high profile campaigners admitted he would be prepared to vote Yes in the independence referendum, and said it was “time for change”.

Mike Dailly who is a solicitor with the Govan Law Centre has told Newsnet Scotland that the prospect of an independent Scottish Republic “would be a game-changer” for himself and, he claimed for “many others”.

The admission from the Better Together campaigner that he would be prepared to vote Yes is a blow to the pro-Union group and the first admission from any senior figure from either camp that they could switch support to the other.

Mr Dailly had been contacted by Newsnet Scotland after we were alerted to an online discussion he took part in, in which he said, “I’d vote Yes if we ditched the monarchy”.

In the discussion Mr Dailly attacked the monarchy and complained that the UK suffered from a “despicable social apartheid”, he added: “Children go to foodbanks while the rich don’t pay tax and earn income from the poor in the UK. Time for change.”

Following our inquiry, the Better Together campaigner said however that the prospect of an independent Scottish Republic remained unlikely and insisted he remained firmly in the No camp.

In a statement to Newsnet Scotland Mr Dailly said: “I believe Scotland’s long term economic and social interests are best served from within the UK.  No-one seriously disputes that Scotland can go it alone but the question is why, when we have the best of both worlds – devolution and membership of an economic and social union with Scotland’s largest trading partners, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

The former Labour activist, who is a close friend of Tommy Sheridan, is a prominent campaigner for social justice and has regularly criticised the bedroom tax.  Mr Dailly is also a representative of the Conservative funded Better Together campaign and has written articles on behalf of the No campaign and represented the cross party group in debates on independence.

He added: “Neither the SNP or Yes Scotland offer a Scottish Republic where socialist policies could genuinely flourish – that would be a game-changer for me and many others.

“Retaining the centuries old UK elites of the monarchy, the aristocracy, and all of the unfair privileges and power that comes with a constitutional monarchy would mean that an independent Scotland would perpetuate the very worst aspects of the UK – elitism by birth and accident.  We need to be honest; the SNP offer a continuation of those elites in an independent Scotland”.

Newsnet Scotland contacted Better Together communications head Rob Shorthouse for a comment but none was forthcoming.


2014-01-09 07:09

An Independent Scotland is the only way he will ever have a chance of seeing an end to the monarchy.

I couldn’t care less about the monarchy at present whilst children go starving, which frankly is down purely to his beloved UK’s various Governments’ policies.

How can someone put up with all the social inequality, pensioner poverty, child poverty, general poverty and foodbanks and then say ‘ah, but if you get rid of the monarchy, I’m in’.

No offence but I just can’t take this seriously.
2014-01-09 07:18

He’s a seriously mixed up kid !! 🙂
2014-01-09 07:49

He appears to be of the “better a hundred years of London Tory rule than an independent Scotland,unless that independent Scotland is immediately and exactly how I decide it will be” mentality.He is going to vote NO because he prefers to prop up the system he claims to want to tear down.He needs to have a think about things.
george davie
2014-01-09 08:03

We need more journalistic “research” like this to put pressure on the Unionists.

I’d be repeatedly contacting Better Together’s communications head Rob Shorthouse until he answers.

Keep them busy answering phones.
Mr Silenced Dogood
2014-01-09 12:55

Lets see if Better Together will answer as this story is one that has traction

2014-01-09 08:05

While the intention of the SNP, if elected as the first government of a newly independent Scotland, is to retain the monarchy, in time public opinion may demand a republic (compare Australia, and Jamaica, for example). That is more likely to happen in an independent Scotland than in the present or future UK if people like Mike Dailly continue to think we are “better together” and vote No.
2014-01-09 08:16

A modern country really can have no time for three competing ideas of ‘society’ – we either live in a democracy or we do not.

The predatory ideas of ‘monarchy’ and its supporting twin ‘aristocracy’ have no place in today’s world.
They have long been abandoned in more enlightened societies.

However, one step at a time.
Change is dependent on achieving political independence first.
2014-01-09 08:33

Mr Dailly being a solicitor will be a clever person, he will deal with what may often be complex situations.
On a more straight forward note, it would appear that the type of country Mr Dailly hankers after, will only be possible after independence and all that he dislikes about the UK, will be business as usual with a no vote. I don’t understand his support for Better Together! Surely he is the type of person who should be heavily involved in writing a new constitution for Scotland?
2014-01-09 08:36

Bit fickle to get excited perhaps, but stepping into the light is often a cautious few steps.
To my mind, if the monarchy is the deal breaker, then he hasn’t really tuned in to what YES is all about.
2014-01-09 08:42

Independence would let Scotland be rid of 800, now I believe 900, unelected Lords in the House of Lords.
That has got to be an excellent start for Mike Daiily, and for all of us.
They are much more damaging to us; making laws, costing £400million per year.
Perhaps he could be reminded of that!
2014-01-09 08:52

Kind of puzzling comment from a lawyer since I would think he should know the referendum this year is to dissolve the 1707 Union of Parliaments. Only in an independent Scotland can we have a referendum on the 1603 Union of the Crowns. A referendum about abolishing the monarchy is never going to happen if left to Westminster. Look at the size of the HoL, they can’t even reform that and that institution props up the kind of society we have at present including at its head, the monarchy. I note Mr Dailly is a close friend of Tommy Sheridan. I wonder if Tommy is working on him?
2014-01-09 08:54

Dailly was obviously talking complete tosh yet again with his claims of wanting to get rid of the monarchy but still wanting to remain under Westminster rule where the chances of that happening are impossible.

Beats me how anyone can listen to this character and take him seriously.
2014-01-09 08:59

He wants change, so he’s voting no….the contorted logic of Better Together.
2014-01-09 09:07

Solomon. When much work was done on a ‘model’ Constitution for Scotland several years back and consigned to the Constitutional Commission for review, the role of a titular monarch, modelled on the existing Queen was retained.
Reason for this was that whilst retention of a monarch or an elected President is up to the will of the people, an Independent Scotland may well wish to join the Commonwealth which currently has the Queen as its head.
Question really boils down to not rocking the boat too much and to allow the people a say in matters such as this, when we realise a Yes vote in September. A written Constitution once adopted will require a 2/3 majority to overturn any section thereof. That is why it is so important to have as wide an input to its creation as possible and for that input to be independent of any one political party.
2014-01-09 09:16

As Groucho Marx once joked, “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others”

Even Karl Marx noted, “Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form”

It would seem Mike Dailly is caught between these two statements.
2014-01-09 09:22

Some info for returning Scots

Jo Bloggs
2014-01-09 10:18

Thank you rodmac. That’s the info I’ve been seeking for a long time.

Ken Mac
2014-01-09 09:36

This is seriously muddled thinking. He will vote no to preserve a system that maintains the monarchy rather than vote for independence where there is some chance an argument for a republic may win out some day in the future.

With no unelected House of Lords in iScotland the monarch will be merely a figurehead with no real power. So he is talking about removing a symbol which cannot prevent the Scottish people building any kind of society they choose.

This guy needs to have a serious look at what he believes and how it can be achieved.
2014-01-09 10:53


He added: “Neither the SNP or Yes Scotland offer a Scottish Republic where socialist policies could genuinely flourish – that would be a game-changer for me and many others.

No, what independence guarantees us is the platform to CHOOSE our own form of governance and our own future. Under Westminster there will be NO CHOICE and the establishment will remain exactly where it is today.

Much as I admire his courage in his tacit nod to independence, I find Mr Dailly’s statement lacks any real logical argument. He’s basically saying ‘I’m not voting for independence because I’m not getting away from the governance and establishment I’m already supporting’.

I’m sorry, but nod or not it simply makes no sense. With independence we can at least have that discussion of a future republic. Under the current structure it will be extremely unlikely to EVER occur.

Marga B
2014-01-09 11:20

OT again, I’m afraid but here’s an interesting video (in English) on the legal standing of independence referendums in Europe. Seems to say most about Spain, but is of general interest too.…/…
2014-01-09 11:30

He would be prepared to ditch the economic and social union we have with the rUK if we get rid of the Queen.In economic terms,his argument doesn’t hold water.I sense political mischief making here,trying to paint the Yes campaign into a corner.He might as well say he would support independence provided we retain nuclear weapons.Utter nonsense.
2014-01-09 12:37

I was about to say something very similar. I sense a lot of mischief in the hopes that people who will vote YES whilst we retain the Queen as Head of State being put off if someone was stupid enough in the YES Campaign to say “aye, we will get rid of her, you never mind”.

2014-01-09 11:38

I suspect from his past statements on the independence debate and this latest illogical contribution, his real dislike is not of the monarchy but in fact of Alex Salmond and/or the SNP!
2014-01-09 11:50

He’s not voting for an indy Scotland because he’s not being offered the kind of indy Scotland he wants. What kind of warped logic is this?
2014-01-09 12:10

I thought is was well understood by everyone with a half-way functioning cerebral cortex that official support for the monarchy in the independence movement and within the Scottish Government was a matter of political expediency.

After indy, the passing of the current monarch, and the next inevitable Royal scandal, there would surely be irresistible pressure for a plebiscite on scrapping the whole rotten edifice. It would then be up to the People to choose to keep tugging their forelocks or to declare Scotland a republic.
2014-01-09 12:19

Strange argument. He is supporting the system that he hates as appose to supporting the only alternative, which could achieve his so called goal. You would have to ask the question “is his heart really in social justice or is the war cry for social justice his meal ticket.

Every hero needs an nemesis, and his is the establishment that keeps his customers down. If his services are no longer required in an independent Scotland, he loses his status and livelihood. Strong motive to keep the status quo!
2014-01-09 12:28

Many otherwise reasonable intelligent people, support the monarchy and want to ‘keep the queen, she is good for the country and brings in tons of cash for us’. Cringeworthy stuff indeed. This guy Daily just is not making sense, and does he really care about food banks and starving kids? While we have such an unequal society which is getting worse by the day, to have food banks and children in poverty in 2013 is just criminal, lets hope this guy gets a grip and starts to think about what he is really saying because at the moment he is accepting the status quo and with a no vote condoning the westminster attack on the poor as an acceptable ongoing concern. Disgraceful.
Mr Silenced Dogood
2014-01-09 12:36

What will be a real test for Mr Dailly and the Better Together campaign is, if he wishes to continue to publicly debate as the position holds currently is that he cannot seriously be taken as credible. The Better Together Campaign support the monarchy, the unelected House of Lords, the UK run by elitist millionaires, Uk being 2nd largest tax haven in the world,, one in 4 kids suffering in poverty and the grand old truth that we are the fourth most unequal society in the world. It beggars belief, that for someone purporting to be social justice campaigner that they support all of the above. With credibility in shreds, wise words would be to go back tot he proverbial cave and think again.
2014-01-09 13:11

What this shows to me that people like this are with BT for wages, not for principle. I feel sure there will be many that are not convinced of the BT case they are supporting on the surface.

When push comes to shove they may swing YES, after all, no one will know they have done it.
2014-01-09 13:27

The words of the spoiled child,either I get it all my way or I’ll make sure nobody gets it any way.He may be to stupid to realise that this is the walk of of a hundred miles and it begins with the first step.An independent Scotland can and will lead the way to a democracy a republic,but it cant if too many choose the status quo,because they cant visualise tomorrow,only see yesterday.
Remember that in a monarchy there is no democracy,even if you believe the constitutionali  st monarchy lie.
2014-01-09 13:29

The No campaign are trying every trick they can think of to detract attention from the referendum question being asked.
We are not being asked whether we wish to be a republic,or whether it is a good idea to break up the British Labour party etc.
We are simply being asked if we agree to manage or own affairs or not.
Anyone who attaches conditions to that is being disingenuous to say the least.
Tommy needs to have a serious word with this person.
2014-01-09 14:07

What a bizarre set of views. Surely from his point of view an independent Scotland would be one step closer to achieving his goals?

Like I said, bizarre.
Peter A Bell
2014-01-09 14:10

I have always been a bit dubious about Mike Dailly. While he seemed to take a principled stand against the bedroom tax his argument that the Scottish Government should fund it was so fatally flawed that it had to either be politically motivated or the product of some seriously confused thinking.

That confused thinking is evident again in Mr Dailly’s remarks regarding the monarchy. It seems that he passionately believes that the monarchy should be abolished. But, come the referendum, he intends to vote in a way which ensures that we will never get rid of the monarchy.

What kind of republican is it who is happy to support the British state and the structures of power and privilege which define it? Surely Mr Dailly cannot be oblivious to the fact that a No vote will be represented by the UK government as an affirmation of all that he purports to despise.
2014-01-09 14:11

As the tears rolled down Mike Dailly’s cheeks he sobbed: “Children go to foodbanks while the rich don’t pay tax and earn income from the poor in the UK. Time for change.”

He later added: “What am I talking about I am the rich! I love this system. Vote NOOOOOOOOOO! Booo yah! any phone calls?”
2014-01-09 14:35

I on the other hand would vote Yes only if the Scottish Government would make firm plans for a manned mission to Mars.

The money would have to be taken from all other funds to achieve it, especially sick people, and the needy, I really detest them.

If the Scottish Government don’t commit to this policy by next January, I simply see no alternative for me but to vote No in September.
2014-01-09 14:47

Intersting… my conclusion: leading No figure is Schizophrenic.
2014-01-09 15:11

He is obviously an educated man but that sort of bizarre argument is the one we find day in day out. I’m a republican as well but thats a fight for another day.One thing I know for sure is that if we don’t get independence then things will never never change.
The London parties are all trying to out Tory the Tories as they all lurch ever more to the right.
2014-01-09 15:12

Stop flappin’ aboot the monarchy. They bring in the tourists!

There are many more reasons for voting YES than feeling hard done to by the Queen.
2014-01-09 15:21

He doesn’t exactly think for the long term, does he?
Chances of the UK being a republic 20 years or so down the line – absolutely zero. Chances of an independent Scotland being a republic 20 years from now – who knows?
Ditto for nuclear weapons, big business paying their way, a fair society – basically anything you can think of from a left-wing agenda.
Quite pathetic really that someone should be so emotionally tied to a political side that he ends up standing up for everything he should be against if he is honest with himself.
2014-01-09 15:22

If the House of Lords goes, will the Monarchy be far behind?
2014-01-09 17:26

How many other laborites would vote Yes, if it were not the fact it was an SNP policy. Sums them up…. we will vote against everything the SNP do even if we quite like the policy because they threw us out of office. ..
2014-01-09 18:52

“Neither the SNP or Yes Scotland offer a Scottish Republic where socialist policies could genuinely flourish”

The referendum isn’t about deciding any particular political policy. Its about being independent so that the Scottish electorate votes for representatives who will pursue policies they aspire to. The chances of those policies being enacted are better than as part of the UK where only 9% of MPS are elected by Scots and none of the appointed and hereditary Lords, meaning that only about 4% of national decision makers in the UK are actually elected by Scots.
2014-01-09 20:01

How easy life must be if the Monarchy is your most pressing concern. Typical of a whole class of Labour windbags wedded to the public teat – if they can’t have it all and right now they don’t want any of it. Power to the people, Wolfie Dailly!
2014-01-09 21:10

Found this and immediately thought of Mr Dailly

Debating independence with a unionist is like playing chess with a pigeon. Regardless of how well thought out your reasoning, the logic used, the facts and figures presented or the history shown. The pigeon just scatters the chess pieces, shits on the board and declares victory
2014-01-09 22:32

Mike Dailly is a solicitor, he advises clients in the Govan Law centre which in itself is honourable.

Why then would he appear to be so fixated on the monarchy which lets face it doesn’t matter a jot for the vast majority of Scots.

His argument appears to be about the “system” what I believe Independence will bring is freedom from that system, the Scots electorate will decide the issue of Monarch or Republic when they elect a party who wants to put that question to the people.

Without Independence we remain a Monarchy for as far into the future as I can imagine.

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