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Monday, April 19, 2021

Scottish Election 2021: George Galloway pledges to tackle 'scourge of separatism'

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The founder of a new pro-union party has pledged to “tackle the scourge of separatism” as he launched its Scottish Parliament election manifesto.

George Galloway said the All For Unity party was standing candidates in all eight regions of the country.

The party says indyref2 should only happen if a majority of Scottish adults vote for pro-independence parties.

And it says regions that vote No should be allowed to remain in the UK if the country as a whole backs independence.

Mr Galloway, a controversial former Labour MP, wants to form a cross-party Government of National Unity with Scottish Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat MSPs after next month’s election.

But they have distanced themselves from the new party, and have claimed that voting for All For Unity in the regional list could actually reduce the number of pro-union MSPs at Holyrood.

Mr Galloway has dismissed this claim, and insisted that he is “the one the separatists fear” ahead of the election.

Mr Galloway, the party’s lead candidate, said All For Unity’s other election hopefuls included businessmen, doctors, teachers, lawyers, engineers and former military officers.

He added: “Politicians at Holyrood are rightly criticised for having little experience of the real world.

“We’ve got, without doubt, the most qualified and capable candidate list of any party to take the fight to the separatists in the next Scottish Parliament.

“All For Unity will open the books of the Scottish Parliament, tackle the scourge of separatism and save our Scotland”.

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SCOTLAND’S ELECTION: THE BASICS

What elections are happening? On 6 May, people across Scotland will vote to elect 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). The party that wins the most seats will form the Scottish government. Find out more here.

What powers does the Scottish Parliament have? MSPs pass laws on most aspects of day-to-day life in Scotland, such as health, education and transport. They also have control over some taxes and welfare benefits. Defence, foreign policy and immigration are decided by the UK Parliament.

How do I vote? Anyone who lives in Scotland and is registered to vote is eligible, so long as they are aged 16 or over on the day of the election. You can register to vote online.

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The party’s manifesto says that indyref2 should only happen if pro-independence parties are backed by a “clear majority of Scots entitled to vote (rather than those who actually do vote)”.

It also says any referendum should allow Scots living in other parts of the UK to have a vote.

And it argues that, if the country does vote for independence, each region of the country should be allowed to choose whether they want to remain in the UK or join the new independent country.

The manifesto also proposes renaming the Scottish government as the “Scottish Executive”, and says powers should be devolved to the regions of Scotland, rather than central government.

The manifesto states the SNP’s “14 years of corruption and failure have shown the constitution settlement to be flawed”.

And it calls for all Scottish funding to be “properly accounted for and audited each year by an external auditor”.

A modern browser with JavaScript and a stable internet connection is required to view this interactive. More information about these elections

Who can I vote for in my area?

Enter your postcode, or the name of your English council or Scottish or Welsh constituency to find out. Eg ‘W1A 1AA’ or ‘Westminster’

Note: This lookup covers national elections in Scotland and Wales, the Hartlepool by-election, as well as council and mayoral elections in England and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections in England and Wales. There may be parish council elections or council by-elections where you are. Official candidate lists may be updated until after the close of nominations for each individual election – 1 April for Scotland and London, 9 April for Wales, English councils, mayors, PCCs and the Hartlepool by-election. Check your local council website for full details.
Last updated: April 6, 2021, 14:07 GMT

Mr Galloway was expelled from the Labour Party in October 2003 in the wake of his outspoken comments on the Iraq war – which Labour chairman Ian McCartney claimed had “incited foreign forces to rise up against British troops”.

He stood as the Respect Party candidate in the Bradford West by-election in 2012, and won the seat from Labour.

All For Unity party leader Jamie Blackett said he was a traditional Conservative supporter who would until recently have thought it “inconceivable” that he would be sharing a platform with “a man of the left like George Galloway”.

‘Unity not division’

He added: “That we have done so underlines the deep threat facing Scotland from corrupt and authoritarian separatism.

“We want the return to Scotland of solidarity, community, excellence, entrepreneurship and good humour. We need unity not division in Scotland. We want a vibrant, self-confident country that is at ease with itself.”

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said she wants to hold a referendum in the first half of the next parliamentary term if there is a pro-independence majority after the election.

Ms Sturgeon says a referendum is needed to ensure the country does not go in the “wrong direction” by leaving decisions on the coronavirus recovery to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Her stance is backed by the Scottish Greens, who say “decisions about Scotland should be made by the Scottish people.”

But the Scottish Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats all argue that the “divisiveness” of a referendum is the last thing the country needs as it attempts to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

And they say the focus should be on rebuilding the economy and the NHS and improving the country’s education system rather than the constitution.

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This post courtesy of bbc-politics

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