Nicola Sturgeon clashes with Jackie Baillie on pandemic response
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Scotland Matters, the non-party political campaign group also strongly opposed to Scottish independence, has erected the massive billboard poster in Greenock, Inverclyde. The billboard features a serious-looking Ms Sturgeon and a coronavirus vaccine jab, criticising the Scottish Government and also features the message: “Vaccination not separation. Do your job, First Minister.” In a message on its website, Scotland Matters warns Ms Sturgeon her SNP Government of the “need to focus 100 percent on ‘Vaccination and not Separation’”.
The campaign group accuses the First Minister and her party of “consistently” straying from the need to “totally focus on delivering a mass vaccination programme and saving lives, to their obsession of Separation at any cost from the United Kingdom”.
Scotland matters also accuses Ms Sturgeon and the SNP of making “mistake after mistake” in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, adding the death toll from it is “totally unacceptable”.
The message on its website reads: “The First Minister and the SNP Scottish Government need to focus one hundred percent on ‘Vaccination and not Separation’.
“Over the last year, since the Pandemic struck Scotland, our First Minister and her SNP team have consistently strayed from the need to totally focus on delivering a mass vaccination programme and saving lives, to their obsession of Separation at any cost from the United Kingdom.
“We have seen mistake after mistake by the First Minister and the SNP in relation to this virus, our death toll is totally unacceptable.
“If the obsession with separation had been put to one side and a total focus on dealing with this pandemic had been adopted as the Scottish Government’s priority then we would be much further ahead in vaccination numbers and saving lives.
“Scotland Matters and Inverclyde supporters of staying in the United Kingdom call upon the First Minister and SNP Scottish Government to drop their obsession with separation and put Scotland’s health first.”
The campaign group also lashes out at the coronavirus vaccination rollout in Scotland, highlighting four crucial points.
Scotland Maters says: “Rollout has been lagging behind the other parts of the UK; British Army has been drafted in to help along with substantial funding and quantities of vaccines from the UK Government.
“Target of 1Million vaccinated by Jan 2021 missed by weeks, this target was set by First Minister and Scottish Health Sec; Confusion as appointments double booked leaving many of our elderly population queuing in sub-zero temperatures for hours.”
Scotland Matters said in a further statement: “We are happy to team up with Inverclyde ‘Yes to the UK’ campaign to emphasise at this time what should be the priority for the Scottish Government.
“We can only hope that the First Minister and her SNP Government put aside their fixation with Separation and concentrate on getting Scotland through this pandemic by vaccinating the people of Scotland as quickly as possible and not needlessly worrying them with the threat of another divisive and unwanted referendum on separation”.
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The Inverclyde Yes to the United Kingdom campaign group added: “It is time for the First Minister and the SNP to put aside the threat of Separation and concentrate on vaccination to get us out of this pandemic.
“We need to save as many lives as possible and now we have the vaccine, delivering it should be the absolute priority for the SNP Scottish Government.
“Speeding up rollout to all of our age groups should be the sole focus of their attention, and catch up and match the rest of the United Kingdom in vaccination numbers.
“Do your job First Minister listen to what Scotland needs (Vaccination) and not what the SNP want (Separation)”.
The SNP and Ms Sturgeon have faced a backlash for continuing to campaign for a second referendum on Scottish independence – despite the ongoing pandemic and the vital need to vaccinate millions of Scots as soon as possible.
The First Minister has vowed to press home the party’s second referendum demands should they achieve a majority in the upcoming Scottish election, scheduled to take place on May 6.
As of 8.30am on Thursday, data from the Scottish Government showed more than 1.3 million people had received their first dose of a Covid vaccine.
This is the equivalent of just under a quarter (24.8 percent) of the total population of Scotland, and 30.6 percent of people aged 18 and over.
Speaking at the Scottish Government coronavirus briefing on Friday, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said as of 8.30am this morning, a further 31,186 Scots had received their first does of the coronavirus vaccine.
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