Nicola Sturgeon hits back at SNP ‘brainwashed’ claim

Nicola Sturgeon hit back at accusations that SNP supporters are “brainwashed” yesterday as she clashed with opponents over the Nationalists’ record in government on home ownership and public services.

Nicola Sturgeon hit back at accusations that SNP supporters are “brainwashed” yesterday as she clashed with opponents over the Nationalists’ record in government on home ownership and public services.

The First Minister said the suggestion was “profoundly insulting to the Scottish people” and pledged to “lead a renewed debate” about independence.

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Labour, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats called for Scotland to move on from the issue of independence as the parties stepped up campaigning for the Holyrood election on 5 May.

Opinion polls indicate the SNP is on course to increase its majority at Holyrood and may take all Scottish Labour’s remaining constituency seats.

But the First Minister faced scathing criticism from opponents on the SNP’s record on issues including home ownership among young people, and funding for the health service and colleges.

Ms Sturgeon will lead a debate in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow pledging to “earn the right” to an unprecedented third term in government. The SNP leader has promised a raft of new policies on health, education, social security and the economy in the run up to election day.

Ms Sturgeon wrote in a newspaper article: “My response to polls is always to remind my party that we must never take a single vote for granted – a point I will make again today.

“But increasingly in Scotland we see, from opposition parties and certain commentators, another response – one that cites the scale of SNP support as evidence that the country has abandoned its critical faculties in favour of blind loyalty.

“I can understand why the opposition parties find that notion comforting – it’s easier than having to face up to their own shortcomings. But as an analysis, it is profoundly insulting to the Scottish people.

“Those who support the SNP have not been brainwashed, they are not blind to our imperfections – instead, they are weighing them against our strengths and achievements. and against the other parties, ”

She added: “I’ve said already that a second referendum should only happen if there is a material change of circumstances or when we have evidence of a significant change of opinion from that expressed in September 2014. It is our job now to lead a renewed debate about how the enduring principle of the independence case – that decisions about Scotland are best taken by people who live here – is relevant to, indeed demanded by, the circumstances of the world we live in today.”

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale will claim in a speech tomorrow that the prospect of home ownership has “stalled for a whole generation” and claim the SNP has let down young families.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie accused Ms Sturgeon of “cockiness” over the SNP’s showing in opinion polls and said the parliament after May’s election should not be dominated by independence.

He said: “People I meet want to hear about a positive alternative to the SNP’s mismanagement of the police, NHS, schools and colleges.”

The Scottish Conservatives will this week publish a new paper entitled “The Gold Standard: a world class education for every child” setting out ideas to support school leadership and improve literacy and numeracy across the age range.

It will focus on education, setting out ideas to support school leadership and improve literacy and numeracy in a new paper.

The party will also signal its backing for a Save the Children campaign aimed at ensuring all children are reading well by the age of 11.

A spokesman for party leader Ruth Davidson said: “We will be setting out our ideas this week – providing a real alternative to the SNP.”