World Bulletin / News Desk
Scotland's leader Alex Salmond will on Saturday urge Scots to put aside party politics in the vote on independence, as he tries to win support from Labour rivals for his bid to leave the United Kingdom.
In an address to the Scottish National Party's (SNP) last conference before a Sept. 18 referendum, Salmond will stress that a vote for independence is not a vote for him or his party but a way to put Scotland's future in its own hands.
His appeal comes after a narrowing in opinion polls that has for the first time made a vote for independence look a possibility, with both sides trying to persuade the up to 15 percent of voters who remain undecided.
Salmond will promise to set up an all-party "Team Scotland" group after any "Yes" vote, to negotiate the terms of independence by March 24, 2016.
His promise is an appeal to Scottish Labour voters, many of whom bitterly oppose the SNP, which won the first majority government of Scotland's devolved parliament in a landslide victory in 2011.
"A Yes vote in September is not a vote for me, or for an SNP government in 2016 (at the next Scottish election)," Salmond is expected to tell 1,200 party faithful gathered in Aberdeen, the oil capital of Scotland, for the two-day conference.
"It's a vote for a government in Scotland that the people of Scotland choose, pursuing policies the people of Scotland support."
RALLYING CALL AGAINST CONSERVATIVES
Salmond will stress that the reason to vote for independence and end the 307-year-old tie to England is so that oil-rich Scotland can decide its own policies and not have its fate determined by politicians in London.
He will say that any government of an independent Scotland would be in control of tax, the economy, social security, employment, immigration, oil and gas revenues, European policy and a range of other areas now under Westminster's control.
"That may be the SNP. It may be Labour. It may be a coalition," he will say.
"I tell you what it won't be. It won't be a government led by a party with just a single MP in Scotland," he will add, referring to the Conservative Party which is unpopular in Scotland but the major partner of Britain's ruling coalition.
In the Scottish Parliament the SNP holds 65 seats while Labour has 38 and the Conservatives 15. The rest are held by Liberal Democrats, Greens and independents.
Salmond's appeal for cross-party support comes as opinion polls this week showed support for independence at about 40 percent, up from 30 percent a year ago, and compared to 45 percent opposition.
The pro-union Better Together campaign said the polls showed they were still ahead, citing a YouGov survey on Friday that found 57 percent of Scots supported Scotland staying in the UK but with increased powers for the Scottish Parliament.
Businesses have raised concerns about the risks of independence and the uncertainty regarding what currency would be used in an independent Scotland, financial regulations, taxation and European Union membership.
"As part of the UK we can have the best of both worlds - a strong Scottish Parliament, with the guarantee of more powers, backed up by the strength, security and stability of being part of the larger UK. Only separation would put that at risk," said the shadow Secretary of State for Scotland Margaret Curran.Last Mod: 12 Nisan 2014, 11:47