The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

Sturgeon: Alba putting independen­ce at risk


Nicola Sturgeon has accused Alex Salmond’s Alba Party of jeopardisi­ng Scottish independen­ce by attempting to “bulldoze” forward in a way that is “contemptuo­us” of the voters who are key to a Yes victory.

The SNP leader launched a fresh attack on her predecesso­r and former mentor, as she ruled out working with Mr Salmond due to her concerns about his “personal conduct”, as well as a strategy she feared was “risking putting people off ”.

Meanwhile, Ms Sturgeon defended her own record amid claims from some independen­ce supporters that the SNP government has been too cautious on progress towards a second independen­ce referendum, highlighti­ng opinion polls showing a majority of Scots would now vote Yes.

But she feared that work could be undermined by talk from Alba Party candidates of the need for a “supermajor­ity”.

Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Sky News, Ms Sturgeon said: “We need a simple majority in the Scottish Parliament to give us the mandate for our independen­ce referendum, and then of course we need a majority of the Scottish people to win independen­ce. And when I listen to people who talk about supermajor­ities they sound as if they think we can just bulldoze our way to independen­ce, which is almost contemptuo­us towards those who we need to persuade.

“I listen to the rhetoric around independen­ce and it seems to skip over the need to do the hard work of persuading those who voted No in 2014, many of whom are now open minded, I know many of these people want to be treated with respect and want us to make a convincing persuasive case to them.

“That’s the hard work that I’ve been doing. Polling for independen­ce is at a higher level now than it has ever been, but we’ve got to continue with that hard work, with that respectful discourse, and that is how we win independen­ce.

“I’m not interested in an arm-wrestling contest with other people about who supports independen­ce the most.

“I’m interested in persuading people who are open-minded but need still to be persuaded, so we build a majority for independen­ce that then expresses itself in a legitimate process.”

Asked if she would work with Mr Salmond if he was elected next month, the first minister said she had concerns.

“No I’m not going to work with Alex Salmond. Firstly I’ve got concerns about his personal conduct which he hasn’t acknowledg­ed or apologised for,” she said.

“I don’t agree with the approach to independen­ce because I think it is risking putting people off.

“There’s no short-cut to independen­ce, we’ve got to do it through winning a majority and allowing that majority to express itself in a legitimate process.

“I also don’t know what Alba stands for. For me independen­ce is not an end in itself, it’s a means to a better Scotland – a fair, equal Scotland where we value everybody.

“I don’t know what Alba stands for, but from what I’ve seen so far, I probably would have some concerns about that.”

 ??  ?? ELECTION BID: Alex Salmond launched the Alba Party in the quest for independen­ce but Nicola Sturgeon has expressed concerns about it.
ELECTION BID: Alex Salmond launched the Alba Party in the quest for independen­ce but Nicola Sturgeon has expressed concerns about it.

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