Monday, 30 Nov 2020

‘Absolute madness!’ Galloway blasts SNP plot to hold independence vote during Covid crisis

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Nicola Sturgeon and her ruling party have continued to ramp up calls for Scotland to be split from the UK, despite the country struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed thousands of people, infected tens of thousands more and blown a hole in the economy. Earlier this week, the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the party “must” prepare for a second referendum on Scottish independence to take place in 2021. He said the SNP would have a platform to hold another referendum “quickly” if they came out on top during the Scottish elections next May.

Mr Blackford, who has clashed with Boris Johnson over the issue in the House of Commons, added the coronavirus crisis had led to plans for another referendum to be delayed.

But this plan has been met with a furious backlash, with Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross describing the comments from the SNP’s Westminster leader as “deeply disrespectful”.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown said a referendum should not be held as Scotland attempts tp “heal” from coronavirus and its economic impact.

On Friday, 11 council areas in Scotland were placed into the highest level of the SNP’s four-tier coronavirus lockdown system, impacting around two million people.

Calling another referendum so soon after the last one is irresponsible but to do so in the current climate is a sign of absolute madness

George Galloway

Now former Labour MP George Galloway has launched a scathing attack on the SNP, describing their plans for an independence referendum in 2021 as “irresponsible” and “absolute madness”, while demanding minister “get on and do their day job.

He told Express.co.uk: “The SNP are continuing to shut Scotland down over the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s almost 2021, the economy has been devastated, thousands of people have died and they want to have another referendum in 2021, which is just around the corner. You really couldn’t make it up.

“Calling another referendum so soon after the last one is irresponsible but to do so in the current climate is a sign of absolute madness.”

Mr Galloway, who earlier this year set up Alliance 4 Unity, a campaign group aimed at ousting the SNP from power and ending hopes of a second independence referendum, believes “we are winning the argument” after recent polls suggested support for a split from the UK is floundering.

A poll from YouGov carried out from November 6-10 among 1,089 Scottish adults, found the “yes” vote had a narrow lead of 51 percent to 49 percent. It is the 14th poll in a row suggesting the majority of Scots are in favour of independence.

But while suport for Scottish independence still has the edge over remaining in the UK, the recent survey shows support for the cause is beginning to fall.

A poll from Ipsos MORI from October 2-9 of 1,045 Scottish adults had found 58 percent of Scots were in favour of breaking away, compared to just 42 percent who backed staying in the union.

It was the biggest lead in poll ever recorded for the pro-independence side.

Mr Galloway said: “It was always going to be a very tall order to convince people as canny as the Scots to take this leap into the euro and into the terms of satisfaction of joining the euro.

“In the wake of the pandemic and economic consequences, it is even harder for the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon.

“The threat is there and that threat of separatism will never go away, but I believe we are now winning the argument.

“Scots are now beginning to calculate the cost of being separated from the rest of the UK.

“There are simply not enough benefits of leaving the UK and the subsequent cost would be far too great.

“In all good grace, they would certainly accept that 2021 is no time to be holding a neverendum.

“The idea that we could do it in the circumstances when we don’t even know if the Holyrood elections next May will go ahead and how that will work.

“How can you even think to schedule something so divisive and destructive as another separatist referendum in those circumstances.

“They need to get on and do their day job.”

But despite the apparent waning support for Scottish independence, Mr Galloway warned British political parties not to lose focus in a move that could see Scotland “sleepwalk into separatism”.

He added: “I don’t think the current British political class is up to the challenges that Britain currently faces, not least on the question of the Union.

“If we just sit back and drift, then we will just sleepwalk into separatism.

“For those that say the Tories are the problem, that may or may not be the case, but the Tories are for Christmas, separatism is for life.

“Governments and Prime Ministers come and go but once we partition the country, that’s it for life.”

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