Nicola Sturgeon today fired the starting gun on the Holyrood election campaign and said Scotland has undergone a “political reawakening.”
And with the SNP riding high in the polls, the party leader said she is relishing taking on “divided” opposition parties in Scotland and winning her own mandate as First Minister of Scotland.
Ms Sturgeon addressed a rally attended by the party’s Holyrood’s candidates in Edinburgh this afternoon after the Scottish Parliament was formally disolved, as the May election campaign got underway in earnest.
The First Minister said Scotland has undergone a “profound change” since the last Holyrood election in 2011.
“That is the political reawakening that our nation has experienced,” she said.
“With the independence debate we led the most exciting and engaging political discussion in Scotland in living memory.”
“Scotland in 2016 is now a nation that is much more confident, much clearer in our sense of who we are and of course we’re now a nation that demands a higher standard from those that seek to govern - and that is a good thing.”
She also appealed to opposition parties to ditch the negative campaigning which marked the referendum campaign and the general election this year.
She called for a “battle of ideas, not a battle of insults.”
Ms Sturgeon added: “I am absolutely relishing this campaign - I cannot wait to put our case to the people of Scotland.”
Labour leader Kezia Dugdale and Tory leader Ruth Davidson also addressed supporters in Edinburgh today to mark the start of the campaign.
Polls suggest that the Tories are catching Labour and could overtake Ms Dugdale’s party as the official opposition in Scotland. Ms Davidson said today she is ready to take on that mantle and pledged to campaign against tax rises any fresh independence drive from the SNP.
“I will stand up for every Scot who thought, two years ago, that this was finished,” she said.
“Let’s get the SNP to focus on what matters, not another independence referendum.”>}