Up to old tricks! SNP deliver 8-page independence referendum leaflets during pandemic

Indyref2: Scottish independence cost discussed by expert

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Despite Nicola Sturgeon promising to tackle the coronavirus pandemic first ahead of a further separation vote, party chiefs admitted the leaflets have been delivered to households in several constituencies across Scotland. The dossier was initially sent to party members earlier this month and argues for Scotland’s “democratic” right to choose its own future.

SNP chiefs have branded a second vote as a “Referendum for Recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an email to members on Friday, Mike Russell, director of the party’s new independence unit said some party branches and constituencies such as Cunninghame North decided to get the leaflet printed and “deliver it across their area.”

Scotland’s former Constitution Secretary, added in the email: “The basic message from us all is, of course, the need for independence.”

But Holyrood opposition parties claimed the Nationalists had got their priorities wrong and had their “eyes off the ball” of other key policies including drug deaths and the country’s coronavirus vaccination rollout.

Donald Cameron MSP, Scottish Conservative Constitution spokesperson, said: “We’re still in the grip of the pandemic, yet the SNP’s top concern remains independence.

“The SNP have taken their eye off the ball in many areas.

“Key Scottish sectors are failing to cope with labour shortages, the vaccination rollout has stalled, and the number of drug-related deaths in Scotland has reached a new tragic high.

“These are the issues that require our immediate attention.

“Instead, SNP ministers are up to their old tricks.”

Alex Cole-Hamilton, Scottish Lib Dem leadership candidate and Edinburgh Western MSP, said: “Even at the height of the first wave there were still some senior SNP figures agitating for independence.

“Then the First Minister rejoined them in September on the eve of the second wave.

“The SNP are hopelessly unequal to the challenges before us.

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“After everything we’ve been through it’s time to lose the baggage of nationalism and focus relentlessly on child poverty, the climate emergency, drug-related deaths, the long waits for treatment and the children who have missed out on so much because of the pandemic.”

Pamela Nash, chief executive of pro-Union campaign group, Scotland in Union, described the leaflets as “blatant scaremongering”.

She added: “Nicola Sturgeon promised voters she would focus on recovery, but her right-hand man Mike Russell has confirmed the party is prioritising a second referendum and how to divide Scotland once again.

“That will disappoint millions of Scots who want their governments to focus on what really matters.”

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Scottish First Minister and party leader Nicola Sturgeon said a second vote should take place before the end of 2023 once the coronavirus pandemic is over.

However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ruled out the prospect of a second independence referendum.

Mr Russell claimed the Prime Minister was “seeking to block the democratic right of the people of Scotland to decide our own future”. 

Setting out the arguments for a vote, he argued Mr Johnson was “changing the whole foundation of the UK” from “a voluntary union based on the idea of partnership” to one of “asserting Westminster control over Scotland.”

The latest Scottish independence polling undertaken last month revealed support for Scottish independence was four points lower than April prior to the Holyrood elections.

The Panelbase poll revealed just 48 percent of people would back independence, once ‘don’t knows’ were excluded.

Meanwhile, backing for the Union stood at 52 percent, again once ‘don’t knows’ were taken out of the equation.

Panelbase polled 1,287 people between June 21 and 25.

In response, an SNP spokesperson said: “The leaflet makes clear the choice being faced by the people of Scotland.

“They can choose to put the recovery in their own hands or into the hands of the Tories who are already imposing devastating cuts on hardworking families in Scotland.”

 

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