On Thursday voters in Scotland will decide whether to go it alone as an independent country or whether to stay part of the United Kingdom. It is a big decision and one that will affect not just voters north of the border, but us in Plymouth too.
The United Kingdom is a unique and successful union. For the past 300 years we have worked together, fought alongside each other, innovated, explored, competed on the same side. It has been a history that has proved that we can achieve more together than we can alone.
It's for that reason that I'm a believer in the United Kingdom. Plymouth is about as far away from Scotland as you can get whilst still being in the UK. I want us to stay together and to secure a no vote victory in Thursday's referendum. I was always taught that if you believe in something you should fight for it and that's why I'm heading to Scotland.
Volunteers and Labour staff from Plymouth Labour will today start travelling up to Scotland to assist the Better Together campaign. I'm heading up to Edinburgh with Mike Sparling, the Labour Councillor for Stoke Ward to help the No campaign.
The referendum can be won by either side and it will be the tens of thousands of people who are still uncertain about who to vote who will swing the vote one way or another. They're the people the Better Together campaign will be listening to and talking with over the final few days of this campaign.
In Plymouth, Labour campaigns every week and I strongly believe that listening and speaking with people on the doors makes for a better politics. That's what I will be doing for the rest of the week - listening to people's concerns and asking them to stay with us.
Alex Salmond has based his entire argument for breaking up the UK on a promise that Scots can have lower taxes and higher spending, EU membership and the pound simultaneously. The problem is that's not right - you can't have your cake and eat it. After independence he can't tell us what currency Scots would be using, how their pensions will be paid, whether there will be border posts between England and Scotland and whether they'll be in the EU. He claims Scotland would be a member of the EU even though Brussels has said this is not the case. He claims Scotland would keep the pound when the Bank of England and the Government has said this wouldn't work. He has built a case for independence on weak foundations and is prepared to put at risk a prosperous Scotland with a dynamic economy for simple and blunt nationalism. Hope alone won't pay the bills after independence.
Emotions are high on both sides of the independence debate, and that's understandable, but if you take the passion and emotions away and look at the evidence it is clear to me that Scotland will struggle post-independence. The risks of going it alone are considerable, not just for people north of the border, but for all of the UK, including us in Plymouth. Economic instability that a Yes vote will bring will hurt the fragile economic recovery and that hurts us all. Instead of seeking to divide us, I want to see politicians work to unite us, to improve our NHS, to tackle youth unemployment and ensure we have better care for our elderly. Independence won't achieve any of these things - indeed, I believe it will do the opposite.
The message I'm bringing from Plymouth is simple: Scotland, please stay with us. We're better together than we are alone. Please vote no on Thursday.
What can you do to help?
There's three things people in Plymouth can do to help keep the UK together:
If you have any friends or relatives in Scotland please give them a call, send them an email, tweet or Facebook them and tell them why you want Scotland to stay and why it is important they vote No on Thursday.
Add a No logo to your Facebook or Twitter profile picture to let all your followers know you're backing Scotland staying in the UK.
Share the facts - visit Better Together's website and share the facts about independence and the risks, not just for Scotland, but for the whole of the UK.