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banner Thursday, 21 September, 2000, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
Alex Neil: My message
Alex Neil website
Alex Neil is one of two challengers for the leadership of the Scottish National Party. Here is the message to party members from the list MSP for Central Scotland:

"Scotland will become independent when the idea of Scottish sovereignty gains intellectual ascendancy over Unionism, and is expressed as the majority opinion through the ballot box.

"The SNP won't achieve this if, as our opponents hope, the party's energy becomes mired in devolution.

We need to change our nation's status as soon as possible so as not to be left as an also-ran as the European Union enlarges and changes

Alex Neil
"Never forget devolution is an invention of Unionists, to stop our march to Independence.

"Devolution is designed to tie down the SNP in the administration of Scotland as a region of the UK.

"Independence is designed by the SNP to free a sovereign Scotland to use our own resources, fulfil our potential, and be governed as the nation wishes.

"In working in our present, devolved parliament, I have two aims:

  • To stretch the parliament's restricted powers to their limit to improve conditions for people living in Scotland

  • To inform Scots voters of the democratic advance, and social fulfilment, that can only be achieved by a parliament with full, sovereign powers

"The Scottish Parliament is bereft of the powers needed to solve our nation's problems or unleash our people's talent.

'Fulfil our potential'

"We need to change our nation's status as soon as possible so as not to be left as an also-ran as the European Union enlarges and changes.

"We can only fulfil our potential as a nation if we govern ourselves, step onto the world stage and engage with the great issues that face humankind today.

"The Scotland I seek is one that is self-confident, has pride in our values and standards, and governs itself by the principles of fairness and justice.

"Devolution consigns Scotland to the margins of international society.

Change through independence

"It locks us out of the key councils of Europe.

"We have to change that through independence.

"But of supreme importance is what devolution prevents us doing for our people - our economy, jobs, education, health service and our senior citizens.

"Devolution binds us tightly to Westminster control.

"Scots must set Scotland free - free to create full employment, end poverty, provide for our old folk, care for the sick and create a nation to be proud of.

"Freedom and independence are indivisible.

"Let the battle of ideas begin."

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See also:

26 Jul 00 | Scotland
Swinney delivers message to members
26 Jul 00 | Scotland
Swinney seeks leader's role
25 Jul 00 | Scotland
SNP leadership race narrows
17 Jul 00 | Scotland
Connery praises SNP leader
20 Oct 99 | Scotland
Scottish MPs' roles to be defined
24 May 99 | UK Politics
MPs meet devolution with evolution
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