Positivity about Dundee’s future is pushing it towards becoming “Scotland’s Yes city”, according to Alex Salmond.
The First Minister told The Courier that “good sense by the people of Dundee and Tayside” meant they were leaning more towards backing independence in September’s referendum than the rest of the country.
Campaigners from both sides of the divide have identified the city as beingparticularly receptive to pro-Yes arguments on the doorstep.
Mr Salmond said: “I think Dundee is leading the way. We have strong support across Tayside, of course, and if you look at the European elections the best results in the whole of Scotland were in Tayside.
“As far as the Yes campaign is concerned, there is no question that the motivation of this part of the country, of Tayside ingeneral and Dundee in particular, has been extremely positive in recent years.
“It is generally thought to be a city that is going places and I think one of the places it is going is towards being Scotland’s Yes city.”As it happened:Alex Salmond at Five Million QuestionsHe also highlighted the waterfront development, the forthcoming arrival of the V&A, and the “incredible work” of the city’s universities as contributing to apositive atmosphere.
Mr Salmond took part in a question and answer session for Dundee University’s Five Million Questionsproject on Tuesday evening, aimed at giving people information in the lead up to the referendum.
The audience of more than 700 people quizzed him on everything fromcompulsory voting, which he favours, and how he will close the gap in the polls, to funding for further education and scientific research in an independent Scotland.
He confessed to the audience that he should have been “more careful with my language” during an interview withex-Tony Blair spin doctor AlastairCampbell, where he praised RussianPresident Vladimir Putin.
The SNP leader also said the “positive” Yes campaign would defeat the “negative” message of Better Together butprickled afterwards when asked by The Courier whether or not Yes Scotlandwarnings about Westminster having the power to abolish Holyrood and predictions of a Conservative/Ukip coalition in 2015 were good examples of pitching to hope not fear.
He said: “It’s perfectly fair to point out that there are people in the Conservative Party who want a coalition with Ukip. That is correct. That is not negative campaigning. That is a statement of fact. I can name some names, if you want.
“It is also true that Ukip’s policy no one knows what Ukip’s policies are of course, except on Europe and immigration but it’s perfectly fair to point out that their policies have included the replacement of all MSPs with Westminster MPs. That is what they went in to the last election with.”
Mr Salmond revealed he has approached “around half a dozen world renowned experts in a variety of fields” who have “absolutely” agreed in principle to be part of his “Team Scotland” which would be negotiating separation from the UK in the event of a Yes vote.