Scottish independence: Salmond gets warm reception

FIRST MINISTER Alex Salmond arrived to a sea of Saltires as he addressed supporters in Turriff, Aberdeenshire, today.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond with two German short haired pointers and Yes supporters in Turriff. Picture: PA

He told locals that Scotland’s future was now “in the hands of the people”.

Mentioning Andy Murray’s tweet for Yes he said he hoped the people of Aberdeenshire could deliver another “forearm smash” to Westminster.

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He said: “Did you see that forearm smash from Andy Murray?

Alex Salmond in Turriff, Aberdeenshire today meeting supporters. Picture: hemedia

“We now have the best part of ten hours to persuade our fellow citizens to vote to put the future in our hands.

“And I’m confident that the people of Aberdeenshire will put their weight behind the Yes camp.”

Emotional supporters hugged the First Minister and posed for pictures with a chant of “Yes we can” emerging.

He then paid a quick visit to St Ninian’s Church in the town to visit the polling station before heading down Knockie Street to canvass more voters.

The reception on the doors at Knockie Street wasn’t perhaps what Mr Salmond wanted as many of those answering refused to tell him how they voted.

One, who didn’t want to be named said: “It’s totally unexpected, I would have thought he would be down in Edinburgh or something.”

One ‘Turra quine’ who followed him on the journey was Deirdrie McAinsh (corr), 66, who said: “This is a day of opportunity to finally put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.

“In the UK we have a gap between rich and poor that just keeps widening.

“This is a historic occasion to tell Westminster once and for all that we don’t want to have that type of Scotland anymore.”

Allan Scott, also from the town, joined the SNP 60 years ago and said “it was a dream come true” to see the referendum take place.

Allan, 78, said: “I joined the party when I was 18 and I never thought that this day would ever come in my lifetime.

“I want to see Scotland finally turn into the social democracy we know it should be.

“This is the height of my political life. Maybe if we get a Yes I can finally put my feet up.”

Another supporter Lorna Faruk (corr), 48, said that her vote for independence was directly down to Salmond.

She said: “I have always been an SNP voter and that’s because of Alex Salmond.

“As the local MSP he has helped me out so much personally. I actually phoned his office when my Granny’s grave was being vandalised.

“People told me that he wouldn’t do anything about it but he sorted it out totally. I completely trust him.”

North- east SNP MSP Christian Allard said: “This is a historic day, not only for independence supporters but for everyone in Scotland.

“97% of people are registered to vote in Scotland now and that is fantastic.”

Although thinner on the ground, there were a few No voters to be found in Turriff.

John Flint, 74, said he didn’t trust the SNP, calling them “Tories in kilts”.

He said: “I’ve voted Labour all my life and I have no trust for Alex Salmond or the SNP.

“My question is what’s happened to all the Tories in Scotland? They’ve gone to the SNP of course.

“It’s a very important day in Scotland’s history and I really hope we make the right choice.”

Supermarket worker Dillon Fowlie, 18, said independence was a “vanity project” for Alex Salmond.

He said: “I don’t think the UK is broken and if it isn’t broken then there is no need to fix it.

“I don’t want to split my country apart, it makes no sense. I think the whole referendum has been terrible- it will split Scotland for years to come.”