Nicola Sturgeon warned SNP would ‘lose’ if independence referendum held tomorrow
indyref2: Sturgeon 'doesn't want to go to court'
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Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar shot down the First Minister’s long-standing ambition to leave the Union as he accused her of locking the country in a constitutional battle on “pause and repeat”. Since falling short of an overall majority at May’s Holyrood elections, the SNP has formed a coalition with the nationalist-backing Scottish Greens.
This alliance is part of her plans to deliver a second poll on leaving the Union – dubbed Indyref2 – by the end of 2023.
Speaking on Matt Forde’s Political Party podcast in London, Mr Sarwar added: “I honestly think if there was a referendum tomorrow they’d lose. And I think they know that.
“And so all we are doing here is keeping Scotland on pause and repeat, pause and repeat, to hold a certain percentage of the population together so they stay in power.”
Addressing Ms Sturgeon’s independence strategy, Mr Sarwar said they have to be given “credit for the fact that they have made a large part of the population believe that a referendum on independence is just around the corner”.
He added: “And they have kept people thinking that for seven years and kept them on that precipice.
“That is a political skill in itself.”
Addressing his own party’s political woes, Mr Sarwar said Labour cannot continue with its current approach.
The party – which until relatively recently held a monopoly on power in Scotland – endured its worst Holyrood election performance in May, winning just 22 seats.
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This pushed it to third place behind the Scottish Conservatives.
Mr Sarwar said that Labour must “compete on the politics of emotion” if they are to take on the SNP.
He said: “We haven’t tried to defeat the politics of anger with the politics of empathy.
“What we’ve tried to do is take the politics of anger, double down on it and do our own version of anger, take the politics of despair and do our own version of despair, and try and win on that basis.
“And do our own different type of division. If we do that, we ain’t going to win.”
Mr Sarwar continued: “The Labour Party often thinks, actually always thinks, that you win elections simply on the politics of ideas.
“I’m not suggesting the politics of ideas is not important… but we’ve also got to compete on the politics of emotion.
“And we have been defeated on the politics of emotion in Scotland for the last 14 coming on 15 years.”
These comments follow on from a speech he made at the Labour Party conference last month.
In it, he blasted the national Labour Party for letting “anger over injustice boil over into language of dislike and difference”.
He added: “This movement, one which has walked arm-in-arm with our working people, has been at the forefront of the fight not just to build a fairer society but to build a better society.
“You all know that politics is about communities being served and that no community thrives on division.”
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