Page last updated at 12:11 GMT, Sunday, 18 October 2009 13:11 UK

Best of the rest at SNP gathering

Sunday, 18 October

The UK Government was accused by the SNP of turning a blind eye to the "persecution" of asylum-seeking lesbians and gays in their home countries.

The party's conference in Inverness passed a resolution criticising the government for sending back lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender asylum seekers to countries where they faced harsh laws or execution.

SNP Glasgow MSP Anne McLaughlin told the conference decisions on asylum-seekers were taken without regard to the treatment they would receive in their home countries - which could include jail or execution.

Another speaker, Esther Sassasman, told delegates: "We are making a statement to the world that Scotland is a land of hope, promise and opportunity.

"Even though I am a respectable married lady, I am indeed a bisexual person.

"We are everywhere - all over the world, in every country, in every walk of life and we should be proud and holding this light up for the future."

Saturday, 17 October

Leading Welsh nationalist Helen Mary Jones branded Prime Minister Gordon Brown a "sorry excuse for a Scotsman", in a speech to the SNP annual conference.

The Plaid Cymru deputy leader - whose party is in coalition with Labour in the Welsh Assembly government - also hit out at Tory leader David Cameron.

She said behind the "fluffy cuddly mask", the Conservatives still had the "cruel, hard face of the party that brought our communities to their knees in the 80s".


The SNP was urged by a former party leader to fight dirty by campaigning hard on the theme of "Bankrupt Britain".

The call came from Gordon Wilson, leader of the SNP from 1979 to 1990, in an SNP conference lecture on the history of the party.

Dr Wilson said the SNP had to offer a vision of the future that neither unionism nor devolution could satisfy.

But he went on: "Let us never forget that negative campaigning has its place."

Friday, 16 October

The SNP launched a new mobile version of the campaigning technology which the party says "gave it the edge" in its 2007 Holyrood election campaign victory.

Nicola Sturgeon with Activate system
Nicola Sturgeon shows off the Activate iPhone app

The Activate system, which provides registered campaigners with the names and addresses of voters in particular areas, can now be used with iPhones, the party said.

The technology, which can be downloaded as an iPhone software application - or app - was unveiled at the SNP annual conference in Inverness.

SNP campaign coordinator Stewart Hosie, said: "The SNP is better prepared than at any time in its history to fight elections, adding: "We have the most sophisticated campaign tool available to any party in the country."


SNP Highland MSP David Thompson called for a scheme to install barriers at 23 level crossings in Scotland.

He said "open" crossings accounted for just 2% of all crossings, but nearly a third of all crossing accidents.

Mr Thompson's call came during a debate in which delegates called on the Scottish government to urge rail bosses to improve safety.

Thursday, 15 October

Prime Minister Gordon Brown again turned down a plea for Scottish ministers to be included in the UK negotiating team at climate change talks in Copenhagen.

The refusal came in a letter to Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond - who in turn told Mr Brown that Scottish ministers plan to go to Copenhagen anyway.

The text of letters between Mr Brown and Mr Salmond was released at the SNP annual conference in Inverness, in which the prime minister repeated the Westminster offer for a Scottish government official to be included in the UK delegation.

Delegates passed a motion calling on Westminster and other industrialised nations to follow Scotland's "global leadership" on climate change.


A minimum noise level should be set for electric cars to help make the roads safer, the SNP conference was told.

Sheena Clelland, the party's candidate in the Edinburgh West constituency, told delegates electric cars, with their quieter engines, were a "potential safety hazard".

She argued that if people could not hear electric cars coming, there was the risk of an accident.

Delegates passed a motion put by the SNP's West Edinburgh Branch, which called on the government to set a minimum sound level for electric cars, so they can be heard amongst the traffic and to allow blind people and other pedestrians to cross roads safely.


Broadcasters were accused by the SNP of "high-handedness" if the Nationalists were excluded from a televised General Election debate between party leaders.

The charge was made at the SNP annual conference in Inverness, where delegates passed a motion urging broadcasters to work "constructively" to find a solution to the wrangle.

The possibility of a televised leaders' debate has prompted SNP demands to be included if that debate is broadcast within Scotland.

The party's Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, told the conference that, if the broadcast debates were to have any relevance to viewers, they had to reflect the "democratic reality" of Scotland and the political diversity of the UK.



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