The Scottish National Party (SNP) has published its election manifesto, pledging an “alternative to austerity.”
Speaking in Edinburgh, SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon laid out proposals for annual spending increases of 0.5 percent and committed the party to voting on issues concerning England such as National Health Service (NHS) investment.
Now William Black with the Radical Independence Movement in Edinburgh believes the manifesto “is not as radical as we were hoping, but it is certainly against the Tories and against Labour. It’s certainly progressive and it says all the right things.”
“The SNP could actually create specially in the north England, and the midlands, a huge resentment against any backsliding or any anti-austerity. So not only we’ll see the SNP put backbone into Labour, we actually believe that all the other bodies, that are determined to fight against austerity put backbone into the SNP and stop the SNP,” Black told Press TV’s UK Desk on Monday.
The SNP is currently Britain’s third largest party by membership and has been buoyed by strong opinion polls and assertive leadership in the form of party stalwart Nicola Sturgeon. They have tried to position themselves as the alternative to the Tories and a natural choice for progressive politics.
They have been surging ahead of Labour in Scotland as they are poised to seize large swathes of their former Scottish heartlands. The nationalists are hoping they will make significant inroads in this election, with their former leader Alex Salmond running in the Liberal Democrat constituency of Gordon.
Meanwhile, senior SNP figure and former leader John Swinney has said his party will use its clout at Westminster to positively influence the NHS across Britain. He said “the direction of travel in the health service in England is taking the health service increasingly in the direction of marketization, which will ultimately affect the funding available to the health service in Scotland, where we don’t believe in marketization.”
Scottish Labour has focused on the SNP’s desire for full fiscal autonomy to Scotland. Leader Jim Murphy, who has been suffering from poor opinion polls, believes that the SNP is creating a financial “bombshell” and that he is the one that is putting forward a manifesto that he said would “bring an end to austerity and make life easier for working class Scots.”