Nicola Sturgeon slammed by Scottish Conservatives
Nicola Sturgeon has come under furious attack after being accused of overseeing “eight years of division and decay as her Government’s top priority has been delivering another independence referendum”. Today marks eight years since she took over as Scotland’s First Minister – just months after her party failed to split the country from the rest of the UK in 2014. Ms Sturgeon is continuing to press ahead with her attempts to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence, which she hopes will take place in October 2023.
But the Scottish Conservatives have launched a furious attack against her, highlighting a number of failures they claim her Government has been responsible for.
The rival political party has posted a video on its Twitter page entitled: “8 years of Nicola Sturgeon.”
Alongside this, a tweet reads: “It’s eight years since Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister.
“Eight years of division and decay as her government’s top priority has been delivering another independence referendum.”
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The video from the Scottish Conservatives begins with broadcasting veteran Andrew Neil telling the First Minister in a face-to-face interview: “You haven’t hit your A&E target since 2017.”
A voice is then heard saying: “The UK Government has delivered seven ships. How many have the SNP/Scottish Government delivered?”
Several headlines from newspapers and websites are shown, including one from The Scotsman on May 18, 2022, which read: “SNP can’t say if fiasco ferries will sail next year.”
The Scottish Government has been caught up in a political row relating to the construction of two ferries, MV Glen Sannox and Hull 802 by Ferguson Marine Ltd, for the state-owned ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne.
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But the project has been hit by several major delays and cost overruns. Ferguson Marine was nationalised by the Scottish Government in December 2019 and is now classified as an executive non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government.
The video posted to Twitter by the Scottish conservatives continues with a voice saying: “Why have Scotland’s drug deaths got consistently worse?”, with Ms Sturgeon heard admitting: “I think we took our eye off the ball on drug deaths.”
A separate voice is heard asking: “Why is violent crime going back up again?” There is also reference to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) earlier this month voting for tens of thousands of nurses to go on strike.
Lastly, the video makes reference to recent comments from the First Minister over the “Scottish Government’s commitment to an independence referendum.”
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Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross is seen raging: “Separating Scotland is the top priority for her Government. Their focus is on a referendum and not the focus of Scotland.”
The video, lasting one minute and 18 seconds, ends with the message: “Scotland’s head enough.”
The SNP have hit back, with MSP for Glasgow Kelvin Kaukab Stewart responding: “From introducing the game-changing Scottish Child Payment to scrapping prescription charges and free bus travel for over-60s, the SNP Scottish Government is making life better for the people of Scotland with its limited powers.
“The legacy of the Tories at Westminster is accelerating poverty and a devastating second wave of austerity, as announced in the UK Chancellor’s Budget this week.
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“Democracy speaks for itself – the people of Scotland continue to put their trust in the First Minister, who won a historic vote share for the SNP at the 2021 election.
“Maybe the Tories should be asking themselves why they haven’t won an election in Scotland since 1955.”
Earlier this week, Ms Sturgeon claimed there is “no good gloss” that could be put on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement as she again attempted to push her Government’s push for independence.
Speaking on the Peston show on Thursday evening, the First Minister said “That is a lot of spin to try to cover up I think a really, really grim situation.
“We are seeing a tax rises, spending cuts, budgets being eroded by inflation, household incomes over the next two years are projected to reduce in real terms by seven percent, the UK in recession. So, I’m not sure there is any good gloss that can be put on the announcements that the Chancellor had to make today.”
The First Minister attempted to claim Scotland has been placed in a precarious economic position because of decisions being made by the UK Government and would fare better with Scottish independence.
She continued: “Scotland as part of the UK is vulnerable. So much of what we are dealing with right now, from Brexit through to the chaos of recent months and the grim economic reality now and in prospect for the next few years, is happening to Scotland because we’re not independent and we haven’t been able to stop these things happening.
“So, independence is not a magic cure-all but for goodness sakes, Scotland should not allow itself to be in this position of being told that it’s somehow trapped by the incompetence of UK government and the weakness of UK finances.”