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by Kirsteen Paterson
18 September 2023
Ex-Scottish Government minister Alex Neil urges SNP to 'ditch the crap' and build 'clear and credible' independence strategy

First Minister Humza Yousaf leads a Scottish independence march in Edinburgh

Ex-Scottish Government minister Alex Neil urges SNP to 'ditch the crap' and build 'clear and credible' independence strategy

Former Scottish Government minister Alex Neil has urged the SNP to "ditch the crap" and build a "clear and credible strategy" for achieving independence.

Writing for Holyrood, the ex-health secretary says he is "in despair" at the SNP's handling of the independence issue and accuses it of having "become obsessed with process rather than substance".

And he has added his voice to criticism of Humza Yousaf's plan to begin independence negotiations with the UK Government if the SNP achieves the most Scottish seats at the next general election.

Also backed by SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn, it will go before delegates at the party's conference in Aberdeen next month.

Pete Wishart MP is amongst those to have called for the focus to switch from seats to votes.

Now Neil has said the Scottish Government "needs to get its act together, to demonstrate the benefits of running our own country" in order to build support for independence.

And he has called on the SNP-Green administration to "get focused entirely on the people's priorities by delivering better services and supporting the Scottish people; and ditch the crap, such as carelessly drafted laws which are doing untold damage to small businesses and rural communities and wasting public money on legal action against the UK government on the GRR Bill instead of sorting out the problems ourselves".

Neil stated: "Our task is to build up such overwhelming support for independence amongst the Scottish people that Westminster dare not refuse their demands.

"Such an approach will yield far greater success for the independence movement than will constantly contemplating our navels (and wasting precious time) on process."

The motion backed by Yousaf and Flynn reads: "Conference agrees that the SNP manifesto for the UK General Election should state on page one, line one, the following simple and powerful statement: Vote SNP for Scotland to become an independent country." 

It continues: "Conference believes that if the SNP subsequently wins the most seats at the General Election in Scotland, the Scottish Government is empowered to begin immediate negotiations with the UK Government to give democratic effect to Scotland becoming an independent country; and to take the following actions as part of preparations for Scotland’s independence:

"Publish 'Withdrawal from Westminster – a New Partnership Agreement', which would set out the detailed terms we would seek in discussions with the UK Government for Scotland becoming an independent country and include draft legal text on the transfer of powers from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament necessary to prepare for independence."

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