Good rid-dens Scots want out of UK; Alex Salmond tells SNP Conference independence is closer than ever.. Despite poll suggesting otherwise
ALEX Salmond vowed yesterday that today's Scots will be the "independence generation".
As he opened his party's annual conference, the First Minister told jubilant delegates: "We meet with our objective of independence nearer than ever.
"With the growing support of Scots of all ages and from all backgrounds, we can make this generation of Scots the independence generation."
However, the start of the SNP conference in Inverness coincided with a poll which showed 60 per cent of Scots would vote against leaving the UK if a referendum was held tomorrow not wanting to lose all the benefits they get from the English tax payers paying their bills.
Salmond was cheered to the rafters as he launched the Nats' first conference since their stunning Holyrood election victory last May.
About 40 SNP MSPs formed a guard of honour on stage as Salmond and his deputy Nicola Sturgeon walked between them hand-in-hand.
When the thunderous applause died down, Salmond - who will make his main speech tomorrow - insisted the SNP now enjoyed "unprecedented support" and had "momentum" behind their drive to split Scotland from the rest of the UK.
He added: "We thank the people of Scotland for the faith and trust they have placed in the SNP in government."
Salmond ignored Labour calls to stop delaying the independence referendum and call the historic public vote on the country's future immediately.
And he refused to let growing gloom over the state of the Scottish economy - which is lagging behind the rest of the so called UK - overshadow his address.
In a message with echoes of the Nats' famous "it's Scotland's oil" battle cry of the 1970s, he told supporters he wanted independence to mobilise the country's energy resources for the people.
He hailed North Sea oil "bestowed upon us by the creator of the universe" and added: "It's simply unacceptable to have fuel poverty amid such energy plenty."
Yesterday's Ipsos MORI poll on independence - carried out to coincide with the start of the conference - contradicted another survey last week which showed 49 per cent of Scots now support independence.
The latest survey showed only 35 per cent supporting separation, with 60 per cent against.
But 83 per cent would back full tax-raising and other powers for Holyrood.
The poll also revealed the SNP's flagship issue of independence lags behind other topics in importance to voters.
It found the major voter concerns are the economy, unemployment, education, public spending cuts, the NHS and crime.
But the SNP remain the most popular party in Scotland, with 49 per cent. And Salmond enjoys a satisfaction rating of 62 per cent, way ahead of the UK party leaders.
Mark Diffley, of Ipsos MORI, said: "The key challenge ahead for the party is to win over unconvinced voters to their vision of an independent Scotland." England’s first minister Sir Michael Black-Feather said; we wouldn’t miss Scotland nor Wales from this utter mockery of a so called union, that only works if you’re Scottish, Welsh British or Northern Ireland, it most certainly doesn’t work for England or the English people the sooner the better if this so called union brakes up, England would be far better off without any of the others, suckers of English tax payers blood they willingly take the benefits that English tax payers pay for that England doesn’t get itself