'Glasgow will vote Yes and become Freedom City...'

GLASGOW will vote yes in the referendum, and be "Freedom City" Alex Salmond predicts.

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The First Minister said the opportunity to extract the city from Tory power will inspire people to choose independence.

Many within the Yes campaign believe if they can win over a majority of people in the city then there will be a majority across the country.

Mr Salmond said that target is within reach and benefits for the economy and health will then follow.

Speaking exclusively to the Evening Times, Mr Salmond said he was focussing on enjoying the Commonwealth Games and would be on a "self-denying ordinance" from the referendum for the Games.

However he said Glasgow can see improvements from an independent Scottish Government raising its own money setting its own priorities.

He said: "I think Sir Harry Burns put his finger on it. The Chief Medical Office, recently retired believes the key to success in facing the deep-seated health problems of this city and this country because it's not specific to Glasgow, is the sense of empowerment that independence will bring.

"He thinks it will change people's lives for the better, not just the country and the economy, but people's lives and that was a very powerful message from Scotland's most respected physician."

"Also practical things, we won't have bedroom taxes and oppression of the poor which is what happens from Westminster at present so we won't have regressive policies that bear down on the poor, led by people like George Osborne.

"The amount of money he has taken out of this city is huge."

Three years after the SNP took more seats in the city than Labour for the first time ever, Mr Salmond said he sensed an appetite for independence.

He said: "I'm on this self-denying ordinance, so I'm trying not to get drawn into argy-bargy with George Osborne. He'll go back to London and then we'll all get on with enjoying ourselves at the Games.

"That's what I intend to do over the next 10 days and I'm sure I speak for everybody in Glasgow and Scotland. What I would say is I'm confident yes will win in Glasgow.

"Latest poll indicated that swing last week and I'm confident we will win the city of Glasgow so I suppose you could call Glasgow Freedom City."

Chancellor, George Osborne had just announced £18m towards medical and scientific research projects in the city, as part of the City Deal Prime Minister David Cameron announced this month.

Mr Salmond said people in Glasgow will see through the UK Government's announcements of cash for projects in the city.

The money, he said, was dwarfed by Scottish Government investments, including benefits of the Games spending.

He said: "I think most folk in Glasgow say beware of Tories bearing gifts. But let's take every advantage we can get because we've had precious little from George Osborne and the Tory Party."

The First Minister said the money was a "drop in the bucket" but welcome

He said: "The link between the facilities and the economy is very important. The Hydro is probably the best investment made in a venue in Games history.

"Now, without the Commonwealth Games we wouldn't have the Hydro. The economic effect of the Hydro is going to be huge for this city and this country in the next generation."

Returning to the Games he kept us guessing if he would repeat his Wimbledon flag waving moment.

He said: "There will be a million saltires in this city, so mine would be one of a million."

But its clear he believes it will be an independent saltire flying over Glasgow on September 19.

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