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Salmond: Miliband is blind to the real fight in Scotland

ALEX Salmond has accused Ed ­Miliband of fighting the wrong fight in Scotland and being blind to the ground "shifting from under his feet".

SPEECH: Ed Miliband yesterday told an audience in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire that a Labour government was coming. Picture: Getty
SPEECH: Ed Miliband yesterday told an audience in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire that a Labour government was coming. Picture: Getty

The First Minister claimed the Labour leader was still locked in a battle between political parties when many voters who "couldn't give a stuff about Ed Miliband or me or David Cameron or anybody else, are engaged for the first time in politics".

But pro-Union parties accused the SNP of trying to create "mood music" rather than answer hard questions about independence.

Today, Labour will again step up its attempts to win over voters to No, after polls suggested the Yes campaign had significantly narrowed the gap between the two sides.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown will give a keynote speech at Westminster on his vision for a "stronger Scotland and a stronger UK". Mr Brown is also expected to be among a number of Scottish Labour MPs who will vote for a Bill in the Commons that would scrap the so-called bedroom tax for potentially hundreds of thousands of people.

Mr Miliband is expected to return to Scotland next week as Labour big beasts including Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott campaign north of the Border. For the Tories, Prime Minister David Cameron is preparing to "lovebomb" Scotland in the final days before polling, with a message of ­"Scotland we love you, stay with us".

Yesterday, Mr Miliband told floating voters their choice was not for or against change, but "what kind of change you want".

And he insisted that Mr Cameron's days in the top job were numbered. "Change is coming," he said. "A Labour government is coming."

Mr Miliband, who was campaigning in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, highlighted his plans to scrap the bedroom tax, freeze energy bills and increase the minimum wage if he wins next May's General Election. He attacked the SNP's claims that independence would build a fairer ­society and criticised its plans to cut corporation tax for business, including the big six energy firms. He said: "The right choice for social justice in this referendum is No, not Yes."

But he faced some opposition in the former mining community, with one heckler telling the Labour leader "you are not welcome in Blantyre".

Mr Salmond was scornful of the Labour leader's attitude, saying Mr Miliband was fighting the wrong battle.

He accused Mr Miliband of thinking he was in an SNP/Labour fight for Westminster or Holyrood seats, while "the ground is shifting from under his feet".

Mr Salmond defended the SNP's corporation tax plans, saying they were designed to create 27,000 jobs and increase economic growth.

The First Minister was speaking as he met supporters in Glasgow's Buchanan Street alongside Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

There, tensions between the Yes and No camps spilled over into a number of verbal spats between a large group of pro-independence supporters and a few No activists carrying placards featuring Mr Salmond's image and the slogan "Tax Cuts for the Rich".

As Mr Miliband left Scotland there was embarrassment for the Labour leader as members of the transport union RMT narrowly backed a Yes vote in the Scottish independence referendum.

l First Minister Alex Salmond has been named politician of the year by men's magazine GQ. The magazine praised the SNP leader's "audacity, panache and persistence" in its Men of the Year Awards, published in the latest edition.

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