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Parties split on timing

Salmond: SNP indy policy ‘like Groundhog Day’

Bill Murray in Groundhog Day

Update 13 Sept: Scotland’s independence parties are being drawn into a battle over the timing of another referendum.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said a new blueprint for an independent Scotland was being drawn up by officials, but she said on Sunday that a new poll will not be held until all restrictions on daily life in Scotland have been lifted.

She said it was “crucial” that there was “an overall environment in the country where people are not in their day-to-day lives being asked to limit or restrict their behaviour”.

In an address to the SNP conference on Monday she will say that she hopes the Scottish and UK governments can reach agreement – “as we did in 2014” – to allow the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland to be heard and respected.

“My approach to government and to politics will be, as far as possible, co-operation not confrontation.

“As an independent country, co-operation between Scotland and our friends across the rest of the UK will continue, but it will be on a better basis: Scotland will be an equal partner.”

But her predecessor Alex Salmond, now leader of the Alba party, told its inaugural conference at the weekend that the SNP’s attempts to hold IndyRef2 were like the film “Groundhog Day” where the same message is repeated and nothing changes.

Alex Salmond: Scotland is caught in a time loop

He said the Scottish Government was making “no progress whatsoever” under the First Minister and suggested she was making excuses for delays in holding a re-run of 2014.

He told conference delegates at Greenock Town Hall: “The pandemic did not stop the actual Scottish elections this year nor should it have. Why then did it delay independence preparations?

“My favourite Bill Murray film is Groundhog Day. The theme of someone caught in a time loop has been dealt with since many times in film, usually as comedy.

“But for Scotland and for independence it is becoming a tragedy.”

Mr Salmond was also critical of the SNP’s record on renewables and its policy towards the North Sea.

“We could harness Scotland’s resources to Scotland’s benefit not by closing down the North Sea but by forcing investment into carbon capture, clean burn hydrogen and renewables,” he said.

“Ten years ago offshore wind was in its infancy and hugely expensive. Now it is hugely lucrative, worth many billions and moving into deeper waters – Scottish waters. Scotland needs a stake in the generation of wealth from our own natural resources. That is why the concept of a Scottish National Renewables Corporation is of such importance.

“Scotland needs a share in every major field, onshore and offshore and therefore in a position to insist that the infrastructure and platforms, floating or fixed, must be built in Scottish yards.

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The Campbeltown Tower factory closed this week. The BiFab yards are idle. The receivers of Campbeltown this week said that there was “no prospect of a recovery in the market”.

“What? The market is booming. What is lacking is the political will and industrial strategy.”

Mr Salmond admitted he may not lead Alba much longer after the new party failed to make a breakthrough in the Scottish elections.

He told Sky News he is an “interim leader” and the party will make decisions on its future at a conference next month.

The former first minister claimed Alba’s future is “a very good one indeed”, pointing out that it has “5,000 members and we’ll have the best part of 50,000 votes across Scotland”.

“We’ve got two members of parliament and 20 councillors,” he added.



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