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by Jack Thomson
13 September 2021
Nicola Sturgeon: Opposition parties show no sign of change needed to move into government

Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the SNP, preparing for her speech (PA Images/Alamy)

Nicola Sturgeon: Opposition parties show no sign of change needed to move into government

Nicola Sturgeon has hit out at opposition parties in Scotland by accusing them of not wanting to be in government.

The SNP leader used part of her conference speech to lay into the Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems over what she claimed was a refusal to move away from positions voters have already rejected.

Sturgeon claimed the parties were instead "doubling down" and expecting the electorate to adapt to their positions on key matters.

In a stinging attack, she said: "Honest reflection is important for any party, even after election success. It is especially important in the wake of heavy defeat. The SNP understood that after our loss in 2003.

"We thought really hard about the message voters had sent us and what we had to do better to earn their trust. That’s why we were able to win in 2007.

"It utterly astonishes me, baffles me completely in fact, given the number and scale of their defeats, that Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats show absolutely no inclination to do likewise.

"Instead of adapting positions that voters have rejected time and again, they are doubling down and expecting voters to adapt to them.

"These parties demonstrate no sign at all of learning the lessons or making the changes necessary to move from opposition into government, which can lead to only one conclusion - they don’t aspire to be in government."

She said that such a situation was good for the SNP but "bad for democracy".

Sturgeon continued: "Oppositions hungry to be in government are more effective, and effective opposition matters in a democracy but that is not what we have in Scotland.

"Instead, on virtually every issue, we have opposition simply for the sake of opposition - it’s not about achieving or improving anything, or even holding power to account.

"It is just about blocking the SNP at any cost. It is crude, it lacks principle or consistency and it is utterly counter-productive. The country deserves so much better than that."

The Scottish Government recently struck a cooperation agreement with the Scottish Greens, which was formally approved by parliament just weeks ago.

Sturgeon said in her speech this afternoon: "The times we are living through and the challenges we face demand a better way of doing politics.

"That’s why after this election, instead of taking what might have been the easy option to carry on as before, we decided to be bolder and seek co-operation with the Scottish Greens.

"I am delighted that we were able to reach an agreement. It means a change of gear for our parliament and our country. It means, after three terms of government, that the SNP is not simply resting on our laurels.

"“Instead, we are challenging ourselves in the interests of those we serve."

Responding to the speech, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “Nicola Sturgeon’s spin does nothing to tackle the levels of child poverty on our streets, the numbers waiting for treatment in our hospitals, and the depth of the economic crisis facing Scotland.  

 "We are up against a global pandemic, a growing healthcare crisis, a jobs crisis and a climate emergency – there is no time to waste. 

 “There were no new ideas for to help Scots, just the same old rhetoric, slogans, and platitudes.  

 "Scotland deserves so much better than that.” 

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