Team Scotland”: Salmond Calls on Labour Voters to Back Independence

14.04.2014 - Prensa Latina

Team Scotland”: Salmond Calls on Labour Voters to Back Independence
(Image by Image Prensa Latina)

London, 12 Abr (Prensa Latina) Alex Salmond has appealed to Scotland”s voters to ignore him and the Scottish National party in the independence referendum, saying a yes vote would not be a vote for him and could even lead to a Labour government being elected to power in Edinburgh. The first minister said he would lead a cross-party “Team Scotland” to start separation talks with the UK government within 12 days of a vote for independence in September, involving senior figures from other parties and walks of life.

In his address to the SNP’s spring conference on Saturday, Salmond will again try to appeal to hundreds of thousands of wavering voters by stating that “a yes vote in September is not a vote for me, or for an SNP government in 2016.

“It’s a vote for a government in Scotland that the people of Scotland choose, pursuing policies the people of Scotland support. It may be Labour. It may be a coalition. I tell you what it won’t be. It won’t be a government led by a party with just a single MP in Scotland,” Salmond is expected to say, referring to Scotland’s sole Tory MP, Scotland Office minister David Mundell.

Salmond’s gambit is a deliberate overture to perhaps 150,000 to 200,000 Labour voters in Scotland who the polls suggest may vote yes on 18 September, after his deputy Nicola Sturgeon again made a direct appeal to Labour supporters to back independence.

Party leaders have cleared the ground for an intense five month campaign: the SNP treasurer Colin Beattie expects the party to empty its bank accounts by spending every spare pound on the campaign.

Delegates voted on Friday to cancel branch and national council meetings to concentrate on the referendum campaign.

Sturgeon told 1,000 delegates, gathering in Aberdeen as the party celebrated the 80th anniversary of its foundation in April 1934, that Labour voters should use the independence referendum to “revitalise” their party.

In a speech where she noticeably failed to attack Labour policies but repeatedly attacked the Tories over welfare cuts, Sturgeon said a yes vote would allow Scottish Labour to cut itself free from centre-right Westminster politics.

“To every Labour voter in the country, I say this: the yes campaign is not asking you to leave your party,” Sturgeon said. “Instead, it offers you the chance to get your party back. A Labour party free to make its own decisions; no longer dancing to a Westminster tune.”

She announced Âú6m in new funding for two policies designed to appeal to centre-left voters: a Âú1m fund for food banks and Âú5m to reinstate the independent living fund for people with disabilities, a benefit scrapped by Maria Miller when she was UK minister for disabled people.

Salmond’s attempt to depersonalise the independence campaign also recognises that he is a divisive figure to some voters, one recent poll by YouGov for the Times found that 56 per cent of Scottish voters did not trust him.

While the SNP remains Scotland’s most popular party for government, the yes campaign is at least 12 points away from a majority on independence, if don’t knows are included. Excluding them, some recent polls suggest support for independence is only 8 points behind the no vote.

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