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ALBA PARTY CHAIR TELLS NEIL GRAY “THE GENTLEMAN DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH’

Alba Party’s Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh has dismissed Cabinet Secretary Neil Gray’s claim that “independence is front and centre” of the programme for Government.

She says that by pussyfooting around independence the Scottish Government is in grave danger of letting the London Tories “off the hook”

Mr Gray had responded in the Holyrood Weekly podcast to Ms Ahmed-Sheikh’s claim that independence was posted missing from the legislative programme by protesting that it was actually “front and centre”

ALBA Party Chair Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh said;

“It is palpable nonsense that the SNP/Green coalition Government are prioritising independence.

“Instead they have produced a devolved programme for Government which simultaneously lacks independence ambition but will also prove unaffordable within the new Westminster settlement.

“If the administration wish the people to understand how London is financially squeezing the Scottish Parliament, then they have to publish their independence ambitions for a real attack on poverty and a real drive for economic growth. That can then be contrasted with what is realistic in a Government programme under the ever-tightening straight jacket of devolution. That is the groundwork for a sustained attack on London for holding Scottish people back not just on the constitution but on the pursuit of prosperity and equality for Scots.

“Instead the SNP and Greens have made a range of publicity claims for what will be achieved under the legislative programme which are at best questionable given the latest Westminster raid on the Scottish finances. Indeed given the extravagant and undeliverable language of some of the publicity surrounding the Government programme, it is somewhat surprising that they have managed to keep the higher echelons of the civil service on board. However, when they inevitably fail to deliver then the blame will be placed squarely on Edinburgh not London.

"They are thus letting Westminster off the hook and setting themselves up to take the political fall.

“Neil was a first class colleague and is proving himself a highly competent Cabinet Secretary, but he needs to understand that after nine fruitless years the people are desperate for independence progress. The coalition Scottish Government are guilty of both bad politics and bad faith. Bad faith in promising what cannot be delivered and bad politics in downgrading independence.

"Neil Gray attempting to counter the argument that independence is not the focus of the government is a case of the gentleman doth protest too much!”

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