Faith in Scottish parliament will fuel Yes to independence, says Salmond
Voters trust their Scottish parliament more than Westminster, first minister tells SNP conference
Scottish first minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond makes his keynote speech at the SNP autumn conference at the Perth Concert Hall. Photograph: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Scottish voters will back next year’s independence referendum because they trust the Scottish parliament far more than Westminster, Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has said. Westminster’s role in Scottish affairs is deliberately being brought to the forefront by the Yes campaign, in response to opponents’ charges that independence brings too many risks. Scots “trust the government in Edinburgh” to operate in Scottish interests, but only a very small minority of people trust the United Kingdom government, said Mr Salmond.
Stressing the separate political identity in Scotland, he said Scots’ opinions on welfare and other social issues differs sharply from London. “No Scottish government of any description would have inflicted the bedroom tax on some of our most vulnerable people in this country,” he told SNP delegates in Perth. “You don’t have to be left-wing to believe that €6.31 an hour [the UK’s national minimum wage] is too little to live on, and you don’t have to be right wing to know that entrepreneurship is essential if you are to have a prosperous economy,” said the first minister.
Supporting him, Scottish deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scots are tired “of being ruled by parties we didn’t elect, implementing policies we don’t want”. In a bid to counter the traditional negative rhetoric about Scotland’s economy, SNP ministers repeatedly emphasised how Scotland would be “the eighth-wealthiest country in the world” the day after independence.
Contradicting London’s tax figures, finance minister John Swinney said Scotland has paid in more in UK tax in each of the last 30 years than it has taken out – even excluding oil receipts.
Borrowing heavily from experience in the US, the SNP plans the most sophisticated internet campaign yet seen on this side of the Atlantic.
Canvassers will be able to file up-to-the-minute information, while the campaign will enjoy an “unprecedented” relationship with voters, said SNP MP Angus Robertson.
Meanwhile, Mr Salmond has rejected former Labour chancellor of the exchequer Alistair Darling’s criticism of SNP plans to keep sterling after independence.