Letters: ‘Anti-Scottish’ allegation was malicious

In her letter (The Galloway Gazette, January 27), Charlotte Lowry repeats the Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat parties’ untrue and malicious allegation that I said anyone who didn’t support the SNP or independence was anti-Scottish.

This is false and has now been widely corrected across the media. My comments, which were made during a Scottish Parliament debate and are on the official record, criticised the leadership of the Tory, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties in their refusal to accept the democratic mandate of the Scottish government to hold a referendum on our country’s future, and to consider meaningful powers within the UK – a position that has widespread support.

Miss Lowry is a proud supporter of the Labour Party and her letter should be read in that context. Labour lined up at Westminster to congratulate Prime Minister David Cameron for trying to hijack Scotland’s referendum by dictating the question, the timing, the regulation and even who gets to vote. These are all decisions for the people of Scotland and I am glad the Prime Minister appears to have backed down in the face of an outcry.

Labour manufactured this row about my comments to distract from its own shabby role in trying to dictate to Scotland’s democratically elected government. No wonder 1000 people have flocked to join the SNP since the Prime Minister’s clumsy intervention. And no wonder Labour leader Ed Miliband is so unpopular in Scotland. A YouGov poll last weekend found that 81% of Scots thought he was doing badly – a catastrophic result. Ms Lowry, a keen showjumper, is backing the wrong horse.

The election of the SNP last year, and the 2014 referendum, have generated global interest in Scotland which will only grow and benefit our country. Independence for Scotland is about joining in – with the family of nations across the world, and as an equal partner with the other nations of these islands.

After independence, Scotland will remain firm friends and close partners with our closest neighbours in England, Ireland and Wales. There will be free movement and collaboration as there is now. Independence will, however, mean saying goodbye to nuclear weapons on the Clyde and illegal wars, saying no to the Westminster welfare reform bill that hammers disabled and sick people, and refusing to accept years of grinding austerity and unemployment as a result of the UK coalition’s failed economic policies, which now have Labour’s backing.

The SNP offers a more positive future for the people who live in Scotland, whatever their background and wherever they were born.

Joan McAlpine MSP,

South of Scotland Region,

The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh.