Johann Lamont: SNP need to ‘grow up’

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has called on SNP backbenchers at Holyrood to grow up and stop sucking up to the Scottish government.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has called on SNP backbenchers at Holyrood to grow up and stop sucking up to the Scottish government.

14 years after the Scottish Parliament in its current form was born, Lamont told an event hosted by the Scottish Fabians that Holyrood was now a “teenager” that needed to “grow up”.

Making reference to an interview in 1995 in which sports anchor-man Jim White famously interviewed Rangers’ Brian Laudrup asking “how come you are so good?”, Lamont declared:

“We have to display a quality that the current Nationalist leadership seem bereft of. We need to act like adults and have an adult debate.

“The Scottish Parliament should not be the place where government backbenchers get to ask of ministers the Brian Laudrup question – just why are you so good?

“It should be the forum for a proper, robust, intelligent, intellectual debate which reflects the needs and aspirations of the people of Scotland.”

Turning her attention to the on-going independence debate, she continued:

“I am not complacent about the referendum but I hope we don’t just win it but win it well.

“Then we can stop having an argument about powers we don’t have and start debating what we do with the powers we have.”

She concluded:

“The SNP want to infantilise the electorate. For them, big issues are debated in private – and big fibs told in public.

“It is they who need to grow up and start treating Scotland like the adult nation we are.”

Her speech came as another senior Scottish Labour MP, the shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander, himself went on the attack, grouping UKIP and the SNP together as rivals in the political ‘blame game’.

Declaring that in Scotland there remains a “granite-like resistance” to independence, Alexander has told the Scottish CBI:

“Indeed for me, the rationale for European membership is underpinned by my longstanding commitment to Scotland’s place within the UK.”

Accusing both the SNP and UKIP of seeking to exploit people’s feelings of ‘stop the world I want to get off’ in the face of a prolonged period of economic difficulty, the shadow foreign secretary continued:

“But national recovery only comes with international partnership and recovery. We see that in trade, in banking, in how we will tackle tax avoidance.

“The strong signs are most Scots get that. The polls, so strongly in favour of Scotland remaining in the UK, would certainly suggest that. And this granite-like resistance to embracing separation has led the current First Minister to say this week that the independence debate is a ‘phoney war’.”

Deriding the SNP flip flopping in how they envisage independence looking in Scotland, Alexander concluded:

“Once a separate Scotland’s entry to the EU was ‘automatic’ according to him, now it’s not. Once he had legal advice on joining the EU, then he hadn’t. Once the pound was a millstone around Scotland’s neck, now it is his currency of choice, even if – after 80 years – the Nationalists still can’t explain quite how that would work.”

Despite the offensive, however, Scotland on Sunday has warned the pro-union Better Together Campaign that it needs to become more positive in its outlook with a much better offer to Scots hungry for change of some sorts.

The paper’s editorial concluded:

“The Better Together campaign, by repeatedly presenting the idea of change as a threat, is doing Scotland no favours…In the final year of the referendum campaign, attention will inevitably turn to the anti-independence camp’s offer to the Scottish voters…Some of the more die-hard unionist elements in the Better Together camp, comforted by their impressive lead in the current polls, may be tempted to think that going to the bother of creating a dynamic ‘more powers’ offer may no longer prove necessary..

If they are thinking this they are fools. Majority opinion in Scotland is not for the status quo. Majority opinion is for a far more powerful Holyrood parliament.”

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