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Sturgeon: I wish SNP's founders chose a different name

The First Minister said the word 'national' is viewed negatively around the world.

By STV News

Published 18 Aug 2017.

Nicola Sturgeon has said she wishes the founders of the Scottish National Party had chosen another name as the word 'national' is "hugely problematic".

The SNP leader made the comments during a discussion at the Edinburgh International Book Festival with Turkish author Elif Shafak.

Ms Shafak spoke of her negative perceptions of nationalism as she has seen "how ugly it can get" and "how destructive it can become" in her homeland and in other parts of the world.

The First Minister responded by saying Scottish nationalism is different than other forms of nationalism as the movement for Scottish independence has a "civic, open, inclusive view" of identity.

The SNP leader said: "If I could turn the clock back, what 90 years, to the establishment of my party and choose its name all over again, I wouldn't choose the name it has got just now, I would call it something other than the Scottish National Party.

"Now people say why don't you change its name now? Well that would be far too complicated.

"Because what those of us who do support Scottish independence are all about could not be further removed from some of what you would recognise as nationalism in other parts of the world."

Sturgeon added: "So the word is hugely, hugely problematic sometimes... but Scottish independence is about self-government, it's about running your own affairs and making your own mark in the world.

"So, yes, words do matter but I think we can't change the connotations that the word has in other parts of the world, what we have to do is just demonstrate through words of our own, through deeds, through actions, through how we carry ourselves, that we stand for something completely different to all of that."

The pro-independence party was formed in 1934 with the merger of the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party, with the name marking the amalgamation of both groups.

Sturgeon's predecessor, Alex Salmond, focused on the party's name during his victory remarks following the 2011 Holyrood election.

"For the first time, we're living up to the idea that we're the national party of Scotland, all classes, all communities, all parts of Scotland," Salmond said.

"We will do our absolute best to redeem the people's trust."