with Alex Salmond, First Minister and MSP for Aberdeenshire East

Alex Salmond addresses the SNP Spring conference in Aberdeen.
Alex Salmond addresses the SNP Spring conference in Aberdeen.

SNP Spring Conference in Aberdeen

The Scottish National Party met in the North-east for its annual Spring Conference, held at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre last weekend.

It was our biggest spring conference ever, with more than 1,200 attendees, 42 exhibitors, 22 fringe events, 170 from domestic and foreign media, three times the number of observers compared to last spring – all generating £1 million in economic benefit to the economy of the city and shire.

There is little wonder that there was such overwhelming interest in the party’s last conference before September’s referendum. The excitement and anticipation in the air was palpable – the assembled delegates realising that momentum is with the Yes campaign.

The people are coming towards us. Political public meetings are being revived and halls have been crowded across Scotland as we discuss our nation’s future. In Inverurie alone there were two successful events – a Women for Independence meeting at the Locos Club last week, and a panel discussion on independence at the Kintore Arms.

Looking forward to next week, the Inverurie Business Association is hosting a business breakfast event on the economic case for independence, presented by Business for Scotland Director Ivan McKee.

The event is free to IBA members, but anyone else is welcome to attend for a small charge of £5 for refreshments. The meeting takes place from 8am until 9.30am at the Locos Club.

Business for Scotland is an independent and political party neutral business network, with over 1700 members. They aim to improve performance, ambition and confidence within the Scottish business community and believe that when the economic facts of independence are scrutinised, that our business community and nation as a whole will be better off as an independent country.

On top of these opportunities for undecided voters to find out more about the positive case for independence, Yes activists have been out in their droves as the campaign steps up a gear across the North-east.

Across Aberdeenshire this week there are more than 20 campaign activities taking place, in Drumoak, Turriff, Ellon, Strichen, Banff, Aberdeen, Peterhead, MacDuff, New Byth, Banchory, Inverurie amongst others.

Can the No campaign match this?

Well...not really. Last month the BBC sought to cover both sides of the debate and their grassroots campaign in action. Their problem was that the No campaign struggled to find them any grassroots campaign to film – or even a single grassroot.

It is much like what happened a few weeks back when the UK and Scottish cabinets met on the same day in Aberdeen.

What a contrast. We met in Portlethen church hall in a public meeting with hundreds of people. The London Cabinet met in private behind the security screen in the HQ of Shell Oil.

The trouble for the No campaign is this:

The more the people of Scotland hear the case for No, the more likely they are to vote Yes. And no wonder.

They are the most miserable, negative, depressing and thoroughly boring campaign in modern political history.

They are already out of touch with the people and are now losing touch with reality.

Lord Robertson last week told a startled Washington that the “forces of darkness” are getting ready to celebrate a Yes vote. In a similar vein, UK Defence Secretary Phil Hammond told an audience this week that an independent Scotland would face an increased risk of attack from outer space. Not only are the scare stories wearing thin from the No side, it’s clear that they are on a completely different planet – totally laughable and completely ludicrous.