The May elections in Scotland are drawing closer. All nominations had to be in by 4pm on the 10 th of April 2007. this is the biggest election for many years and is being seen as a prelude to Independence for Scotland . If the SNP should win they have pledged to have a referendum on the independence issue within their allotted 4 year span of government.
We at Crann Tara, being a non-political organisation, watch with interest from the sidelines. Many in our organisation will be directly effected by the forthcoming election results, so it is our best interest to give our readers and members, information from all sides of the political battlefield.
Alex Salmond on the �Break-Up Of The Union '
England would still be Scotland 's "biggest pal" if the two nations split, the Scottish National Party's leader has told the BBC.
Alex Salmond denied that independence for Scotland would cause chaos, saying the two countries could be good and friendly neighbours.
Mr Salmond said the SNP was on course to win control of the Scottish Parliament in next month's elections.
He denied that independence would create border or passport problems.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme the SNP leader said that just as there was no need of a passport "to visit your cousin in Cork", there would be no need for one to "to visit your granny in Grimsby".
The SNP has already said it would hold a referendum on independence in 2010 - towards the end of its first four-year term if it were to take power at Holyrood - at a cost of £7m.
Labour has called the proposal a ticking tax bomb.
snp - 2007-01-14
SNP leader Mr Alex Salmond MP today welcomed an article in the Sunday Herald by Crawford Beveridge, who was Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise for nine years to 2000, in which he endorses Scottish Independence.
In the article, Mr Beveridge says that during his days at Scottish Enterprise "our numbers about Scotland 's finances came down in favour of fiscal independence"; and that the claims about a deficit in Scotland are "illogical" and "offensive". He believes that "independence could focus the minds of politicians to create the conditions for economic growth, which would translate to better jobs, higher wages and stronger communities"; and his opinion on independence is based on his "confidence that Scotland is just as capable of running its own affairs as any other country."
He also writes: "But let me remind everyone that on May the 3 rd what we are voting for is our confidence in one of the political parties to be in power for the next four years. The question is who will represent our hopes for the future and help lead us to a more prosperous Scotland . Personally, I believe that leader could be Alex Salmond."
Alex Salmond said:
"There has been a seismic shift among business leaders towards the concept of independence. Clearly, the views of someone who had to grapple under successive governments with growing Scotland 's economy are hugely significant and will be influential.
"The SNP are accentuating the positive, and that is generating an extremely favourable reaction. We are being positive about building a more prosperous and fairer Scotland , and the right of the people to choose their own future.
"Crawford Beveridge joins a range of prominent business men and women who are enaging in the debate, and supporting Scotland becoming an independent country."
SNP Campaign Director Mr Angus Robertson MP added:
"As Crawford Beveridge says, the election on 3rd of May is about electing the next Scottish Executive. His positive remarks about Alex Salmond as a First Minister who can lead the country to prosperity are important and welcome."
a senior figure in Scottish tourism and the arts has joined the business battle for Holyrood, saying independence would provide an opportunity rather than a threat.
Donald MacDonald, who operates businesses in Scotland , England and Ireland , with England as the major market, rubbished Labour's argument that Scottish commerce would be cut under independence.
Mr MacDonald writes in a letter to The Herald today: "Having developed with other Scots a number of businesses in Scotland for whom England is now the largest market, we have no fears about these markets in the wake of the independence. Just consider the success of many Irish products despite the Troubles."
His contribution is backed up with a £20,000 donation to the SNP, aimed at promoting its campaign message to an estimated 120,000 small businesses that it could remove them from business rates requirements or reduce bills for 30,000 more.
The comments follow an article in The Herald last week by Ben Thomson, chairman of investment bank Noble Group, and echo the financier's argument that independence is "an opportunity and not a threat".
Mr MacDonald was one of five people to set up MacDonald Hotels in the 1990s, though he split from them to set up MacDonald Orr, which runs the City Inn chain. He is joint chair of Caledonian Brewery and was president of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce. As chairman of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and a board member of the Edinburgh International Festival, he is also keen for an independent Scotland to replicate the Finnish success in funding the arts.
His letter says: "Speaking to many people (not only businessmen) their minds are turning to consider the benefits of independence, where previously agnostic or hostile, and are now recognising that Scotland is underperforming and needs cultural change".
A spokesman for the party said: "The SNP's economic strategy, Let Scotland Flourish, has struck a chord with small businesses and the small business rates relief scheme in particular will give the country's smallest businesses an opportunity to thrive which will benefit towns and cities across Scotland ."
Donald Trump Comments on Independence .
�I think Scotland is an amazing place and the people are incredible. I think if they set their minds to do something, they can do whatever they want. The biggest people in New York are from Scotland . They are a tremendous success. Scotland will always be a success, whether it is independent or not independent.�
THE BNP has recruited nearly half its Holyrood candidates from England so that they qualify for a free political broadcast on national television.
At least 14 of the BNP's 32 candidates standing in next month's elections live south of the Border - but have Scottish sounding names.
Among those canvassing will be five regional party organisers, while another, fighting in the Highlands and Islands , will also be involved in a simultaneous by-election campaign 625 miles away in Berkshire .
Gerry Gable, editor of anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, said the BNP's approach to the elections is not surprising.
He said: "They did the same thing in Wales previously. They could not rally enough support there, so they asked for people living outside the country but with Welsh-sounding names to get in touch.
"They had also had a fundraising group specifically for the campaign in Wales , but that was based in Humberside."
Among the candidates in the Highlands and Islands region for the Scottish parliament elections is Roger Robertson, a south-east England organiser. The Lothian's sees Sadie Graham from the East Midlands and Tim Rait, who unsuccessfully stood in Maidenhead in the 2005 general election. Mid Scotland and Fife has Michaela MacKenzie, who stood in Warwickshire North two years ago. Meanwhile, the West of Scotland region has Kevin Scott, north-east of England regional organiser.
The election fight between Labour and the SNP has dominated the run-up to this year's Scottish elections, but critics of the BNP fear this could play right into the hands of Nick Griffin's party.
Recently, the BNP has been trying to raise its profile in the North East of Scotland, a move which critics claim is in direct response to the influx of migrant Eastern European workers there.
But because of its traditional lack of support in Scotland , the party has had to rethink its strategy for next month's Holyrood challenge.
Among the methods that it has adopted is the creation of an organisation called 'Scottish Heritage', which the party describes as its "election fund".
By using the name, the BNP has been able to hire various venues without disclosing the reality of who is behind it.
Several hotels in Glasgow and Edinburgh are believed to have allowed the party to hold fundraising events booked under this name recently.
The strategy was cited as an illustration of the BNP acting deviously to try to maintain a place in "mainstream" politics.
Gable added: "Using a name such as 'Scottish Heritage' is a classic smokescreen for them.
"They known that no-one wants to be associated with such an organisation, so the only way they can get round it is to fudge the issue."
A senior official of the union, Unison, said this was an attempt by the BNP to appear "more Scottish" to the electorate.
The official, who asked to remain anonymous, added:
"People can see the BNP for what they are ... it is precisely why they are having to 'import' people from down south, because they do not have the support necessary here.
"It does not surprise me that they are doing this, because they are topping up their electoral list so they qualify for the TV time.
"These people have no chance of winning and they know that, but they are just here to make up the numbers."
But Kenny Smith, the BNP's secretary in Scotland , defended the party's decision to "import" candidates from England .
"We are fielding candidates in each region to get the TV broadcast. We are standing 32 candidates and we have to take in candidates from down south to make the threshold and meet the requirements.
"It is not unlike what UKIP or other parties do. After all, we are a British party."
Smith claimed the fact that English-based candidates had Scottish-sounding names was a coincidence. He described Scottish Heritage as a "legitimate fundraising organisation".
Fishing Industry back SNP
Mallaig and North West Fishermen's Association have taken the unprecedented step of endorsing the SNP and urging their members to vote for SNP candidates on 3 May. John Hermse, Secretary of the Association, made the announcement at a public meeting in Inverness where SNP leader Alex Salmond MP and the SNP's candidate for Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber were speaking.
Earlier that day Mr Salmond met with members of the Mallaig and North West Fishermen's Association and others in the fishing industry in Benbecula as part of his tour of the Western Isles with SNP Candidate Alasdair Allan.
Welcoming the endorsement Mr Salmond said:
"The SNP has always had a good relationship with the fishing industry and amongst fishing communities. However an endorsement by a representative organisation is unprecedented and I thank the fishermen of the north west for this unequivocal support.
"Since the Tories took Scotland into the Common Fisheries Policy in 1973 our fishing communities have been hit hard by failing Governments in London .
"Recent events have shown that a Labour-LibDem government has been little better as they meekly give away our fishermen's quotas and ignore the wishes of our fishing communities.
"The SNP want success for all of Scotland and Scotland 's fishermen. I can pledge to the fishermen of Scotland that an SNP Government will stand up for our fishing interests in Europe and at home."
Explaining his association's reasons for backing the SNP, John Hermes, Secretary of the Mallaig & North West Fishermen's Association said:
"The SNP has always supported us in the Scottish Parliament. After eight years of being constantly failed by the Liberal-Labour Executive it is vitally important we have a Scottish government that stand up for Scotland and puts the livelihoods of people first.
"The last straw for us was the ban on scallop fishing in the Firth of Lorn. After having an unwanted marine park foisted upon us by the Liberal-Labour Executive we felt that they were not listening to any and all of our concerns. The SNP opposed those plans thanks to our local MSP Fergus Ewing.
"We believe it is time for a fresh government in Scotland . One that puts the interests of communities first. One that puts the interests of people's jobs first."
Fergus Ewing, SNP candidate for Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber said:
"Since being elected in 1999 it has been my pleasure to represent the interests of the fishermen in my constituency who are ably represented by John Hermes and John MacAlister of the Mallaig & North West Fishermen's Association.
"I welcome very warmly this endorsement. Fishermen in my constituency and across Scotland have been let down and frustrated for decades by Government's in London and latterly by the London parties controlling the Scottish Executive.
"The issues of prawn quotas and the Marine National Park were of important concern to my constituents and those throughout the west Highlands and Islands . However the Labour-LibDem Executive ignored their concerns.
"That will not happen with an SNP Government and I can pledge to John Hermes and the fishermen of the Highlands and Islands that we will stand up for their interests and livelihoods as we will stand up for the interests and livelihoods of other important industries in Scotland."
Alasdair Allan, the SNP's candidate in the Western Isles who met with the Mallaig & North West Fishermen's Association and other members of the fishing industry earlier that day in Benbecula also said:
"Most recently we have seen Scottish fishing quotas cut with the weak acceptance of the current Labour-LibDem Executive.
"It's time for a fresh government with new thinking that aims for success of the Scottish fishing industry. This endorsement proves beyond doubt that the SNP has support across all of Scotland 's fishing communities and we won't let them down."
This piece sourced from the SNP website