By Chris Rumbles
Independence will guarantee an end to unelected governments for the people of Scotland, First Minister Alex Salmond will tell the SNP conference.
The First Minister’s keynote speech in Aberdeen will explain how the vote on September 18 is “not about this Party, or this First Minister, or even the wider Yes campaign”.
Mr Salmond will draw upon the fact that the Conservative Party has only one MP in Scotland, David Mundell, yet are the major UK coalition government party, as evidence of a Westminster system unreflective of Scottish values.
He will say: “It’s a vote for a government in Scotland that the people of Scotland choose, pursuing policies the people of Scotland support.
“A government in control of tax, the economy, social security, employment, immigration, oil and gas revenues, European policy and a range of other areas currently under Westminster control.
“That may be the SNP. It may be Labour. It may be a coalition. I tell you what it won’t be. It won’t be a government led by a party with just a single MP in Scotland. A government dismantling our welfare state. Determined to privatise public services.
“In an independent Scotland we can give this guarantee: The era of unelected Tory governments handing out punishment to the poor and the disabled will be gone and gone for good.”
A vote for independence would mean that negotiations with Westminster would begin in earnest by the end of September, Mr Salmond will tell the conference. That team will consist of people who are not members of the SNP.
The First Minister will add: “An all-party ‘Team Scotland’ negotiating group, including non-SNP members will be convened. It will secure expertise from across the political spectrum and beyond. And from Scotland and beyond.
“That group will begin negotiations with Westminster before the end of September. The discussions will be held in accordance with the principles of the Edinburgh Agreement. That means with respect and in the interests of everyone in Scotland and the rest of the UK. The campaigning rhetoric will be over. The real work will begin.
“And on March the 24th 2016 Scotland will become an independent country and join the international family of nations.”
It is also expected that Mr Salmond will build upon comments made by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in her speech on the conference’s opening day in which she encouraged Labour supporters to vote ‘Yes’ in order to “reclaim the Labour Party”.
Ms Sturgeon argued that independence offered Labour voters an opportunity for a “rejuvenated Labour”, one which would no longer be “dancing to a Westminster tune”.