Doing impressive and important work for Scotland.  Follow Michael on his India blog:

http://mrussellindia.wordpress.com/

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Commenting on David Cameron’s conference speech, SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson MP said that by attempting to resuscitate Gordon Brown’s Britishness agenda the Tory leader had shown he did not understand Scotland.

Mr Robertson said:

“The Tories have never understood Scotland, and David Cameron’s speech has just confirmed how out of touch they actually are.  

“While people in Scotland are looking for serious action on jobs and economic recovery David Cameron was wittering on about ideas of Britishness. His speech was all but irrelevant to people in Scotland, and clearly shows why the conservatives are going nowhere north of the border. 

“The fact is that David Cameron’s ‘respect agenda’ collapsed at the first hurdle with his refusal to debate with the SNP. He talks about respect, but in the same breath refuses to debate the issues that matter to Scotland in a leaders’ debate with Alex Salmond. 

“It would be grossly unfair for a Scottish audience to see their main party, the party of Government – and a party with 7-times the Scottish representation at Westminster than the Tories – excluded from a TV leaders’ debate at the Westminster election.  On what possible democratic basis does David Cameron arrive at this typically Tory high-handed attitude? 

“The SNP have made clear we are prepared to be extremely flexible.  But all parties must accept the right of the SNP to be part of debates broadcast in Scotland, and the broadcasters must accept their obligations for fairness. 

“David Cameron’s claims have been exposed for all to see by his refusal to debate with Alex Salmond.  If he wishes to show real respect to Scotland, he should agree to a leaders’ debate that represents the real politics of Scotland.”

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The Labour MP for Edinburgh North & Leith, Mark Lazarowicz, has admitted on his blog that there is “no excuse” for excluding the SNP from a general elections leaders’ debate and any attempts to block the SNP would lead to a “lead to a successful legal challenge”.

  Commenting on his blog Mr Lazarowicz said:

  To me, the issue is pretty clear cut. Like it or not (and I don’t!), the SNP is a major party in Scotland and there really is no sustainable excuse for leaving their leader out of any leadership ‘head-to-head’. I think that to try and do so might indeed lead to a successful legal challenge.”

  Commenting on the remarks on Mr Lazarowicz’s blog the SNP MSP for the Lothians, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said:

  “Clearly Mark Lazarowicz has exposed how the opposition’s lack of respect for the voters is based on pure party advantage and nothing to do with giving voters a clear idea of each party’s agenda and policies.

  “He is also reflecting the fact that the General Election in Scotland is a clear two-horse race between the SNP and Labour. It would be entirely unacceptable, and unfair to a Scottish audience, to exclude the party that forms the Government of Scotland and leads in the Westminster polls in Scotland.

  “In Scotland we have long had election debates for some time now and it is high time we had UK-wide debates for the Westminster elections.

  “If we are to have them they should reflect the democratic and political reality of Scotland and the UK.

  “Broadcasters must meet their obligations to audiences across the UK – and that means that any debates broadcast in Scotland must include Alex Salmond, and any other relevant spokespeople should there be subject debates.

  “We will be approaching the broadcasters to ensure such guarantees, given their clear public service obligations to ensure fairness and impartiality in election-related coverage in Scotland.”

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SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has today (Wednesday) welcomed news that the European Commission (EC) has sent a letter to the UK government about the UK transmission charges methodology being discriminatory against the development of renewables in the North of Scotland.

OFGEM, the UK organisation which regulates the gas and electricity networks, operates a pricing structure that ensures electricity generators seeking to connect to the grid pay increased charges the further away from “the market” they are. This leads to electricity generators in Scotland paying considerably higher charges than others further south.

Read the full story http://www.snp.org/node/15693

 

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The poll not only puts the SNP 5 points ahead of Labour, but shows the party securing an 11-point increase in its vote from 2005 – the biggest increase for any party in any part of the UK.

The poll of selected constituencies, conducted by Politics Home, puts the SNP five points ahead with 30% of the vote.

Today’s result follows the last full Scottish poll (MORI/Holyrood magazine) which gave the SNP a two-point lead amongst all those polled –rising to a six-point lead amongst those “certain to vote”.

SNP MP and Westminster campaign co-ordinator Stewart Hosie said:

“This is the second excellent poll for the SNP in a row, putting the party ahead nationally for a Westminster General Election, and showing that only the SNP can challenge the Labour-Tory agenda of cuts to Scotland’s frontline services.

“With the SNP securing the biggest increase in our share of the vote of any party in any part of the UK since the 2005 election, it is clear it is the SNP’s actions in Government reflect the priorities of the people – investment in public services and measures to support recovery.

“The latest national opinion poll in Scotland showed the SNP vote is the most motivated – with the party’s Westminster lead increasing three-fold amongst those who are certain to go to the polls, giving a projection of 25 SNP MPs. On election day, that motivation to vote for Scotland’s interests will see seats topple to the SNP, and deliver a block of MPs to stand up for Scotland.

“And as UK Cabinet ministers insist there is little difference between Labour and the Tories, it is clear that only a strong block of SNP MPs will have what it takes to protect Scottish interests.

“Scotland does well when the SNP does well. Whoever wields the knife in London, only the SNP have got what it takes to protect and promote Scotland’s interests at Westminster.”

 

http://www.snp.org/node/15698

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The SNP is seeking guarantees that Scotland will have a place in any UK-wide TV debate between party leaders and spokespeople at the General Election.

Following confirmation that Gordon Brown has agreed in principle to General Election TV debates, the SNP are demanding guarantees from the broadcasters that the party must be included in any UK-wide TV debates.

Commenting, SNP election campaign co-ordinator Stewart Hosie MP said: 

“We have long had election debates in Scotland, and it is high time we had

UK-wide debates for the Westminster elections. But if they are to be at

all relevant, they must reflect the democratic and political reality of

Scotland and the UK.

“The fact is that the General Election in Scotland is a two-horse race between the SNP and Labour, and so it would be entirely unacceptable, and unfair to the Scottish audience, to exclude the party that forms the Government of Scotland and is now leading in the Westminster polls in Scotland.

“The broadcasters must meet their obligations to audiences across the UK – and that means that any debates broadcast in Scotland must include Alex Salmond, and other relevant spokespeople should there also be subject debates. We shall be approaching the broadcasters to demand such guarantees, given their clear public service obligations to ensure fairness and impartiality in election-related coverage in Scotland.

“It would be entirely unacceptable for the leader of a party not just represented at Westminster but which is also the Government of Scotland to be excluded from any such debates.”

“We are obviously prepared to be flexible about options for the format, but the party of government in Scotland must on principle be included in any such

 http://www.snp.org/node/15699

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Scottish broadcasting would benefit from further devolution and independence, including the ability to show Scotland’s football internationals, according to a new report from the Scottish Government today.
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Scottish Government Energy Minister Jim Mather has today (Thursday 24th September 2009) congratulated SNP MEP Alyn Smith on his nomination in the MEP of the Year Awards for his work on EU Energy Policy.

 

 

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scottish-currency3SNP MSP Mike Russell has slammed the legacy of a massive PPP debt left behind by Labour, as recently released figures show that Dumfries and Galloway Council will be forced to pay over £52.6 million in PPP payments in the next three years.

PPP (Public Private Partnerships) are to charge local authorities across Scotland almost £400million this financial year and £450m next year as Scotland’s budget is set to be cut by £500million annually by Westminster.

PPP is the preferred capital investment procurement scheme of Labour and was used during its time in the Scottish Executive between 1999 and 2007, a scheme which is costing taxpayers in Dumfries and Galloway millions of pounds in inflated costs.

Commenting, the South of Scotland SNP MSP Mike Russell said:

“I am simply astonished at the level of these figures, which shows that Dumfries and Galloway has the sixth highest PPP debt in the whole of Scotland. Labour’s PPP is a total waste of public money it is as simple as that. By what stretch of the imagination can £52.6 million over the next three years be said to be value for tax payer’s money in Dumfries and Galloway?

“Labour has left a legacy of debt, this rising Scottish PPP inheritance bombshell of over £400million a year and now wants to cut the Scottish Government budget by a further £500million over the coming years to help pay for Westminster PPP bills and to bail out the banks who are normally at the centre of these Public Private Partnerships.

“Scotland can not afford to have its finances dictated to like this any longer.”

The PPP charges figures have been sourced from two Parliamentary answers from Finance Secretary John Swinney to John Wilson MSP. The answers to S3W-24128 and S3W-24127 can be found at:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/Apps2/business/pqa/default.aspx?pq=S3W-24128

 

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/Apps2/business/pqa/default.aspx?pq=S3W-24127

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