Salmond fires starting gun on election campaign
Tuesday, 22 March 2011 18:06
SNP now in touching distance of 40% of vote to win re-election
SNP leader Alex Salmond today fired the starting gun on the SNP’s campaign for re-election as he addressed candidates in Edinburgh. Gathering in the city’s Dynamic Earth overlooking the Scottish Parliament, Mr Salmond said only an SNP Government had the record, team and vision to make Scotland better.
Mr Salmond said:
“We are Scotland’s first ever SNP Government and we are standing for re-election on an outstanding record of achievement.
“We do so with the best team, the best record and the only real vision for the future of our country.
“We do so as a party of Government for the first time in our history, as Scotland’s first ever minority government and as a party of Government people all across Scotland want to see re-elected.
“And it isn’t just our cabinet of Nicola, Kenny, Richard, Michael and John that people want to see re-elected. It is our team of MSPs who have served Scotland well over the last four years and who with our candidates across the country will serve Scotland well in the next Parliament.
“We’ve got an outstanding record in government but we’ve got a lot still to do.
“Over four years we have delivered a council tax freeze, saving over £300 for the average household, with more to come.
“As Scotland’s government we have abolished prescription charges, put an extra 1,000 police on the street driving crime to a 32 year low, re-started council house building, scrapped bridge tolls, restored free higher education for Scots students and invested in 25,000 apprenticeships for our young people in difficult times. We have 100 key achievements from the first four years of SNP Government and we have the vision to do so much more.
“Our record has been delivered by our excellent team of MSPs, of councillors, of activists and of supporters. Our vision can be delivered by Scotland’s voters.
"With the people’s support I intend to continue to be Scotland’s First Minister and to see an SNP Government re-elected so the business of making Scotland better, and fairer can continue.
“A re-elected SNP Government will protect NHS spending over the next Parliament. A re-elected SNP Government will provide 25,000 apprenticeships every year, 50,000 college bursaries and 25,000 work training places. A re-elected SNP Government will protect the small business bonus and the council tax freeze and a re-elected SNP Government will protect and defend the historic Scottish principle of education based on ability to learn for Scotland’s students.
“And we will put Scotland’s natural resources to work for our people and our economy. This morning I announced investment of £170 million over 10 years in 1,800 jobs in our renewable energy industry. Tonight we award the first annual Saltire prize for marine renewable technology. And today we have received the backing of Midge Ure for Scotland’s campaign to host the World Water Summit. With our vast renewable energy potential and our natural resources driving our economy forward we can create up to 130,000 jobs by 2020.
“Where we have helped family budgets with a council tax freeze other parties have squeezed them. It is a scandal that in an oil rich nation businesses and motorists are struggling to make ends meet and the UK Treasury is making an extra £4 billion – if not more – from our oil revenues.
“We speak for all of Scotland when we say to the Tory Chancellor today that they must scrap the fuel duty rise and stabilise fuel prices now.
“Our vision is the only vision in Scottish politics. It is a vision that encapsulates what Scotland can do and what Scotland can achieve. It is a vision that encapsulates what independence means for individual families, workers, pensioners, students, for jobs, our society and our economy. It is a vision for what independence can do to transform this nation. And it’s a vision that will drive us on to victory in this campaign.
“The SNP goes into this campaign with all the momentum on our side, and we are now within touching distance of 40% of the popular vote. Polls show us 4% higher in the vote now than when we were elected, and the contest as we go into the campaign is neck and neck.
“We will work hard over the next 43 days to win re-election from the people of Scotland, confident in the knowledge that we have the team, the record and the vision to take this nation forward.
“What is going to make the difference is the confidence we have, our belief in what we’ve done, in what we still have to do and in our future. That will make the difference, that will take this government to re-election and this nation to independence.”