‘Tell the truth, Nicola’ Sturgeon accused of hiding independence reality from Scots voters
Nicola Sturgeon grilled by host over UK currency union
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Michelle Ballantyne, the leader of Reform UK Scotland, offered her sobering analysis with less than a week to go before Thursday’s crunch Holyrood elections. Mrs Sturgeon is targeting an overall majority which she believes will strengthen the SNP’s case for a second referendum on the subject of independence.
If she told the truth, she would send the voters running
However, Ms Ballantyne, a member of the Scottish Parliament, told Express.co.uk the First Minister’s vision failed to spell out the impact on Scotland’s economy of going it alone.
She told Express.co.uk: “If she told the truth, she would send the voters running.
“The whole premise of separation is based on trying to convince people in Scotland that somehow it’s this land of milk and honey, that they’re going to create, where nothing will be a problem, everybody will have more, and therefore why wouldn’t you support it?
“But the reality is obviously very different.
“Even her desire to join the EU is premised on the idea that we’re going to get support from them and that will help our financial position.
“But we all know the European Union is not going to be the body that it was without us there.
“Without the UK it’s it’s now a bit more of a busted flush.”
With respect to Mrs Sturgeon’s approach, Ms Ballantyne said: “I would have a lot more respect for her, if she laid out the reality, if she said there were going to be some problems and that we were going to have to completely change the way we do things in order to sustain the country financially.
“If she laid it out and put it in front of people and said that this is why, despite all that, I believe we could have a good future that would be more honest.”
Ms Ballantyne explained: “There is an argument if we completely changed, didn’t have an NHS, didn’t have a welfare system and became a very low tax country that could eventually be quite wealthy, but not with the welfare state that we currently have and the levels of public spending.
“But she’s not being honest about that because the vast majority of her voters depend on that welfare state.
“She says independence will protect the NHS.
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“Well, actually, it will have completely the opposite effect – but she won’t tell them that because it will have completely the opposite effect.”
In 2018 the Scottish Government commissioned a group of experts named the Growth Commission to prepare a report into how the finances of independence would work, Mrs Ballantyne pointed out.
She added: “Of course they have quietly shoved that off the end of the table now, because it didn’t tell them what they wanted to tell everybody else.
“It told them a bit more of the truth, of the reality of this programme that whoever inherited managing Scotland would have to produce to even stabilise the position.”
Mrs Ballantyne acknowledged opponents of independence were facing something of an uphill battle punching through the SNP’s optimistic and often emotive appeal to Scots.
She said: “It was once described to me back in the 2014 referendum that the SNP had a song sheet and we were running around with the balance sheet is much easier to inspire people with a song with a set of accounts.
“In the end, the accounts went through and people saw through the song.
“But the problem is, it’s a bit like a cult following, it’s a bit like a band playing a song and you’re carried along on the waves and it’s very easy to lose sight of the realities underneath it.
“And you do end up sounding like moaning minnies.”
She explained: “If you’re on the union side it’s quite easy to fall into the trap of sounding like ‘they can’t do that, no, that’s not possible, we’d be in dire straits’ and sounding very negative and very miserable against the side that saying ‘we will have freedom, we can do what we like, we will be made the best decisions from Scotland. we can make our own choices’.
“I mean these are real rallying cries and they have got and I think that does that does put them on the front foot, and put supporters of the Union slightly on the back foot. Truth is often a bitter pill.”
An SNP spokesman said: “The SNP are completely focused on getting Scotland through and out of the pandemic – which is why we have pledged that if re-elected we will take steps within the first 100 days to protect and support job, to boost our NHS and to give opportunities to Scotland’s young people.
“In contrast, politicians like Michelle Ballantyne who supports the rape clause, the two child cap and appeared to want to let Covid rip through our communities bring no credible policies to the table. Scotland needs serious politicians with serious ideas for the leadership and direction of this country – the SNP have that in Nicola Sturgeon.
“On Thursday, voters have the opportunity to elect Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister and secure the serious leadership Scotland needs to lead us through and out of the pandemic.”
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