Salmond launches Independence week

Independence Week will highlight the many benefits of Independence
that feature in the SNP's Mini Manifesto on Independence. The SNP also
published new campaign material to be distributed during Independence

Included in the material, was information about a campaigning
drive by Sir Sean Connery for the SNP. A message from the legendary
Scottish actor will be sent by telephone to tens of thousands of Scots
across the country urging them to back Independence and the SNP in
order to give Scots the strongest possible voice in Parliament after
the forthcoming General Election.

SNP Leader Alex Salmond said:

"Independence is good for Scotland. It is the right future for our nation.

"This General Election will be another opportunity for the SNP to push
forward the case for Independence. This means giving the Scottish
Parliament full control over Scotland's affairs so that Scotland can
regain its status as a normal country and we can take responsibility
for our own affairs.

"Devolution is not enough and certainly not
enough to make a real difference to Scotland. Westminster keeps control
of vital areas such as immigration, tax, social security and pensions.
It can also decide whether or not to send Scottish troops to an illegal
war in Iraq.

"The Scottish Parliament has among the fewest
financial powers of any legislature on earth. This means that Scotland
has to make do with economic policy that is made by the Chancellor in
the South East of England and for the South East of England. Scotland
is a country rich in both natural resources and talented people. Our
problem lies in the lack of control over our economy and the ability to
use our wealth to benefit Scotland.

"Independence and the right
to make decisions over our own economy would make a huge difference to
Scotland. The SNP's economic plan would seek to boost economic growth
and tackle the crippling population decline. It has been estimated that
the SNP's plans would lead to an Independence Bonus. Over a ten year
period the SNP's plans would lead to a £2,000 increase in wages, £4,000
in wealth per head, 150,000 more people and an economy that would grow
by £20 billion.

"That is why Independence is so important. It is
also why Sir Sean Connery will again be getting behind the SNP in our
fight for Independence. Over the next few weeks tens of thousands of
people from across Scotland will be receiving phone calls from Sean
Connery urging them to vote for the SNP to boost the Independence
message and ensure that we send as many SNP MPs to Westminster to
Scotland its strongest voice possible."

Depute Leader of the SNP Group at Westminster Annabelle Ewing said:

"With Devolution Scotland can only look on from the sidelines while
other countries get to work tackling global problems such as poverty,
climate change and international debt. Countries that are much poorer
and smaller than Scotland also have seats at Europe's top table shaping
the decisions that affect them and having greater say on Scottish
affairs than Scots themselves do.

"At home we are also powerless
to make a real change to the way Scotland is run. Scotland is a rich
country yet our pensioners live in poverty, students face ever
crippling debt and the health service remains under funded and

"That is why this week the SNP will be pushing the
Independence and making the case to give Scotland the ability to make
its own decisions. It is also great to have Sir Sean Connery, the
greatest living Scotsman, back on board helping to push the
independence message and make sure that we get the strongest possible
team of SNP MPs to stand up for Scotland's interests at Westminster."


Copies of Sir Sean Connery's telephone message, images of Sir Sean
Connery and materials to be used during Independence Week are available
from the SNP Press Office.

Sir Sean Connery's message is also
available by calling 0871 210 0222. Calls are charged at a Standard
rate of 10 pence per minute.

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