The First Minister Alex Salmond was in Edinburgh today where he launched the SNP’s general election campaign. Mr Salmond said that only a vote for the SNP offered Scotland an alternative to the ‘decade of despair’ promised by Labour and the Conservatives.
Mr Salmond went on to outline how an independent Scotland, in control of its own resources, offered a wealthier, fairer alternative to the bleak prospect of year on year cuts under a UK Government.
Mr Salmond said: “It is less than a week since the starting gun was fired for the general election. But already it has become clear that Labour and Tory intend to fight a phoney war – if they are allowed to get away with it they intend to conduct an entire campaign on a charade.
“The Chancellor has already blurted out that he plans public spending cuts which are ‘deeper and tougher’ than those of Margaret Thatcher. Meanwhile, the Tories back that approach but want the process to start earlier and are planning a specific ‘Cameron Cut’ aimed at Scotland.
“In that environment, Scotland needs champions – people clearly and unambiguously dedicated to their communities and their country. Local champions are needed to restore faith in the political process. Westminster is held in contempt and total disrepute. And Scotland needs national champions – MPs who will put Scotland first, who will seek to protect the country from the Labour and Tory cuts agenda.
“Neither Tory not Labour want the detail of their plans to be scrutinised in this campaign, but an analysis of the Budget demonstrated that they are both planning a decade of despair in public services.
“When Labour launch their manifesto today they will not reveal that their budget forecasts suggest £30 billion of cuts in Scottish expenditure over the next 15 years. When the Tories launch their manifesto they will not detail how on top of the Labour cuts, they plan a special Scottish cut – a ‘Cameron Cut’ – aimed directly at Scottish spending.”
Mr Salmond spelled out SNP’s main campaign themes – the positive vision offered by independence, the danger of the London cuts agenda, the need for local champions, the need to foster a green economic boom, and the Party’s alliance with Plaid Cymru.
The First Minister also highlighted the similarities between both London parties pointing to their “consensus on cuts” and their obsession with Trident and its replacement, arguing that “education, the health and the safety of the people of our nation” should take precedence.
Mr Salmond contrasted this with the friendship and co-operation between the SNP and the Welsh party Plaid Cymru and promised to use their joint influence in order to secure the best deal for both nations.
Mr Salmond said: “At Westminster we will work in partnership with Plaid Cymru, the Party of Wales, to secure the best possible deal for our nations. To win key concessions on funding, jobs and the economy we will use our influence at Westminster to give our nation and our people responsibility for our own destiny and our own success.
“It is only with the full responsibilities of independence, with the ability to harness Scotland’s resources for Scotland’s communities that we will deliver the richer, fairer, more successful nation we all know Scotland can be.
“At this election Scotland can choose champions. Local and national champions.
“Our message today is clear. On May 6th, don’t just vote for a politician. Elect a local champion with the SNP.”