Salmond accuses London of ‘obsessive’ anti-European agenda

Alex Salmond has attacked the UK government for persistently letting down Scotland as a result of its “obsessive” anti-European agenda.

Alex Salmond has today launched the SNP’s campaign for the European elections with an attack on the UK government for persistently letting down Scotland as a result of its “obsessive” anti-European agenda.

In launching his party’s efforts for the final major electoral test before September’s independence referendum, the SNP leader has called for a new relationship to be formed between Scotland and the European Union. Seeking to build on his party’s tally of two out of six Scottish MEPs, Salmond explained:

“Scotland and the EU have worked as partners for more than 40 years in research and in renewable resources, in fishing and in oil and gas, Scotland brings as much to the EU as the EU contributes to Scotland.

“Being an active part of the EU has helped to create thousands of jobs in Scotland – jobs which are threatened by Westminster’s obsessive anti-EU agenda.

“Westminster’s short-sighted priorities have let Scotland down time and time again.

“We need the opportunity to speak with our own voice in Europe to build on the positive relationships with our neighbours Scotland has already established.

“A vote for a strong team of SNP MEPs on May 22 and a Yes vote in September will let Scotland make our mark in Europe and ensure that Scotland’s interests are always defended.”

His comments come as polling indicates that UKIP could have an unexpected impact on Scotland in a less than conventional way.

The data, commissioned by IPPR and the universities of Edinburgh and Cardiff, suggests that in Scotland Farrage et al have hit the buffers.

Outlining how UKIP is fast becoming less a UK wide and more an English regional party, Glenn Gottfried, a research fellow at IPPR has written for the New Statesman:

“Despite the ‘UK’ in its name, Ukip is swiftly becoming the de facto English National Party – where at the moment it can count on nearly one in three votes.”

He continues:

“Even though Ukip considers itself a British-wide party, the research shows English identity accounts for a large chunk of its support. Those who identify more strongly with England than Britain are more than twice as likely to support Ukip than those who more strongly identify with Britain.”

However, whilst UKIP look unlikely to make any breakthroughs north of the border, should they, as seems likely, top the polls in next Month’s elections in England this could, it has been argued, drive many more Scots into the hands of the yes to independence campaign.

Explaining the scenario in a guest piece for the Spectator, Professor Ailsa Henderson of the University of Edinburgh concludes:

“A strong performance by Ukip in May’s European elections might encourage Scots into the Yes camp if they read it as a signal that England may vote to leave the EU in a future in-out referendum on Europe. For this to happen, though, Scots would need to care more about EU membership than UK membership, and it is not clear that many of them do. Perhaps more likely is that Scots will look to the English electorate on 23 May and see them backing not one party with minimal support in Scotland but two and might well question whether they are part of the shared community of interests.”

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