Independence: Salmond to spell out ‘Yes’ campaign

Alex Salmond. Picture: Jane Barlow
Alex Salmond. Picture: Jane Barlow
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ALEX Salmond will today attempt to show Scots why a Yes vote would allow the nation to seize its own destiny.

An independent Scotland would not get dragged into “illegal” wars like Iraq, or have nuclear weapons dumped on its territory, while welfare cuts such as the “bedroom tax” would be thwarted, he will tell the SNP’s spring conference in Inverness.

The First Minister will address activists 48 hours after revealing the referendum date – 18 September next year.

He will highlight the achievements of the Scottish Parliament since 1999 – like free personal care, scrapping tuition fees and protecting police numbers – in his conference speech.

He will also point to a recent Scottish Social Attitudes survey that showed 71 per cent of people trusted the Holyrood government to act in Scotland’s best interests – four times higher than the Westminster figure.

Mr Salmond said: “Conference will set out the ‘why’ of independence to the people.

“What won’t happen in an independent Scotland will be getting dragged into illegal wars, having Trident nuclear weapons dumped on the Clyde for another 50 years, or the imposition of bedroom taxes.

“And what will happen will be the mobilisation of the human and natural resources of Scotland to build a prosperous economy and just society.

“In six years, we have taken trust in the Scottish Government to a high of 71 per cent.

“With the partial independence the Scottish Parliament has in health, education, justice, business support and social services, we have achieved much. And with the full measure of independence we get by voting Yes, we will be able to achieve much more for Scotland.”

A poll by Ipsos Mori showed the government’s leadership had scored 53 per cent approval, down one point since October. The proportion dissatisfied rose by two points to 41 per cent, giving a net approval rating of 12 points. Those figures contrast with the UK government’s net approval rating of minus 41 across Britain.

Approval for the Scottish Government is higher among under-35s than over-35s, and four times higher among men than women.

Christopher McLean, of Ipsos Mori Scotland, said: “Almost six years after coming into power at Holyrood, the SNP government retains the approval of a majority of Scots.”

An SNP spokesman said: “Coming as we prepare for spring conference in Inverness, this latest poll confirms that a clear majority of people in Scotland approve of the Scottish Government’s record and vision for Scotland.”

The countdown to the referendum was kick-started by Mr Salmond when he revealed the date on Thursday.

The referendum bill, which is expected to receive Royal Assent in December after passing through parliament, sets out how the referendum will work and lays down rules governing the conduct of the Yes and No campaigns.

But the public will have to wait a further six months for the white paper that will outline how the SNP government envisages independence working.

• Mr Salmond yesterday welcomed the 25,000th member of his party. Elysee Ahmed-Sheikh said she joined the SNP because she believes it best reflects her “ambitions for Scotland”.