THE late nationalist politician Margo MacDonald used her final television interview to warn that First Minister Alex Salmond was failing to convince enough women voters to back independence.
Ms MacDonald, who lost her battle with Parkinson’s disease earlier this month, made a series of remarks about Mr Salmond’s approach to the referendum campaign in a documentary to be broadcast on Tuesday.
Ms MacDonald, who was an Independent MSP for the Lothians, suggested that Mr Salmond’s approach to opponents could harm the chances of winning a Yes vote.
However, the veteran nationalist stated there was still time for the Yes campaign to overcome the gender gap and convince the majority of women to back independence.
She told interviewer Jackie Bird: “They don’t like him [Mr Salmond] very much because he’s now sounding like a steamroller.
“He goes through everybody hard, fast and takes no prisoners. They like a bit of contemplation. More women are now listening to what he says, who previously didn’t bother about politics or politicians.
“But they know there is a very important vote coming up.”
An Ipsos Mori poll last month showed that 59 per cent of women oppose independence, while 27 per cent back it.
Mr Salmond, who was once a close ally of Ms MacDonald in the SNP, hailed her as “one of the greats” in the campaign for independence. However, Ms MacDonald suggested the SNP leadership should alter its pitch to female voters as she made her last appeal for women to vote Yes on 18 September in the BBC documentary What Women Want.
She said: “I think they like the ‘aye but’ to get a chance of being answered. And Alex give the impression that ‘aye buts’ are swiped out the road – and women don’t like that.”
“The SNP have a notion of what women respond to which I’m quite uncomfortable with. I don’t believe you can simply identify one thing that women will respond to like childcare and, therefore, they will make their leap to decide whether they want to leave the United Kingdom.
“Women are the sustaining force of any society – they think of the children and the next generation’s chances. They are careful of them and they haven’t yet realised the next generation’s chances are much enhanced by being independent.”
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Yes campaign had to persuade the majority of women to vote Yes as “if we do that we will win the referendum” during a keynote speech last month.