Sturgeon In Plea To Labour Voters
8 November 2014, 06:01
Nicola Sturgeon has appealed to Labour supporters who backed independence to vote SNP to "keep alive that dream of a better country''.
In a speech in Dundee last night the Deputy First Minister also called out to those who voted No in the referendum on the "promise of more powers'' to lend their vote to the party and "remove the Labour roadblock to change''.
Her visit to the city was part of a tour across Scotland to speak to new SNP members and others who may want to join or support the party.
She has pledged to be the country's most accessible First Minister and has set out plans to regularly meet and answer questions from the public.
Ms Sturgeon said: "During the referendum campaign, I appealed to Labour supporters to vote Yes to win independence for Scotland and, in the process, to reclaim their party.
"Many heeded that call. Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, Dundee and West Dunbartonshire all voted Yes - and many other traditional, Labour voting areas came close.
"They voted Yes for a better country, while the party they have supported through thick and thin stood with the Tories to keep things just as they are.''
She added: "For too long now Labour has put position, prestige and Westminster vested interest over the best interests of the people of Scotland. But the days of Labour holding Scotland back really must be brought to an end.
"Labour was once the party of progress in Scotland; today, they just stand in the way of progress.
"So tonight I make this appeal to every Labour supporter who voted Yes for a better country - and to those who voted No on the promise of more powers - vote SNP next May.
"Lend us your vote so that we can remove the Labour roadblock to change. Vote SNP to keep alive that dream of a better country.''
The SNP saw its membership surge from around 25,000 to over 83,000 after the independence referendum.
Ms Sturgeon's tour, which has already stopped in Edinburgh and Dumfries, will also visit Inverness, Glasgow and Aberdeen over the next few weeks.
The Glasgow event, to be held in front of an audience of 12,000 at the Hydro arena on November 22, comes the week after Ms Sturgeon takes over from Alex Salmond.
Ms Sturgeon - the only candidate for the SNP leadership - will be announced as the new leader at the SNP conference, while her appointment as First Minister will need to be formally approved by Holyrood.
She added: "For too long the conversation between politicians and the public has been reduced to 30-second soundbites and stage-managed public appearances. The referendum campaign changed all that, bringing citizens and politicians closer together than at any previous time in our nation's history.
''That might not always be comfortable, but it's exactly as it should be in a healthy democracy. And this level of accessibility and direct contact is perfectly possible in a nation of five million people and should be the standard all of the time - not just during such a high-level event as a referendum campaign.``
A Scottish Labour spokesman said: "In the same week the SNP again voted against a living wage it also emerged that university education has become less accessible for students from the most deprived backgrounds. It's ridiculous for Nicola Sturgeon to say the SNP are a party of progress when for the last seven years haven't introduced a single progressive policy.
"The next General Election is a clear choice between David Cameron who wants to cut tax for the rich or Labour who will tax the bankers to introduce a jobs guarantee for young people.
"Nicola Sturgeon knows that every vote for the SNP is a vote to help elect a Tory Government. No Scot wants to jump into bed with the SNP and wake up with the Tories.''