Campaign for Scotland’s independence from UK launched 

June 15, 2022 - 18:33

The Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has pledged to deliver on her party’s “electoral mandate” arguing she won last May's election with a "clear commitment to give the people of Scotland the choice of becoming an independent country"

Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Edinburgh, Sturgeon says a discussion is essential on a referendum for Scotland’s independence and argued a vote can be held legally with or without London’s approval.

Publishing the first in a series of papers that will form the outlook for an independent Scotland, the First Minister said there was an “indisputable” mandate for another vote, pointing out how circumstances have changed since the first independence referendum in 2014. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson government is opposed to a vote and analysts say the road to a second Scottish Independence referendum will be a bumpy ride as the legislation that set up the Scottish parliament stipulates Westminster has to authorise any referendum affecting the UK constitution, under a so-called section 30 order.

Surgeon argues “if this UK government had any respect at all for democracy, the issue of legality would be put beyond doubt,”

Sturgeon says the path to a referendum would be a legal one "if that is what is required", and if the government of Boris Johnson refuses to grant a Section 30 order then she would set out her own legal path to the referendum, after pledging to hold the vote by the end of 2023.

Sturgeon said she was ready to sit down and discuss the matter with British Prime Minister but noted “my duty, as the democratically elected First Minister, is to the people of Scotland – not to Boris Johnson or any Tory Prime Minister. This is a UK government that has no respect for democracy. And, as we saw again yesterday, it has no regard for the rule of law either.”

She says the parties who argue about the legalities of a vote are the same parties that “don’t want to engage on the substance of this debate, because they know how increasingly threadbare their arguments are. So they prefer to cast doubt on the process.”

Sturgeon’s first publication pamphlet did not present all the matters surrounding the path to a referendum. She says the next series of papers alongside her address to the Scottish parliament will make a credible case for Scotland becoming an independent country.

She says the “refreshed case for independence” will help people across Scotland “suffering the impacts of the soaring cost of living, low growth and increasing inequality”

She again highlighted how Brexit has made Scottish people suffer more, in reference to the fact that the majority of people in Scotland voted in favor of staying inside the European Union but were forced to leave the EU because the majority of people in England voted to leave. 

The SNP leader noted Scotland faces “constrained public finances and the many implications of a Brexit we did not vote for.”

“Brexit has ripped us out of the EU and the single market against our will, with massive damage to trade, living standards, and public services.
Thanks to Brexit, the cost of living crisis is worse here than in any other G7 country – inflation in the UK is double that of France.” she said. 

“These problems have all been made worse or, most obviously in the case of Brexit, directly caused by the fact we are not independent,” she added. 

Laying out her case as Scottish first minister she asked “do we stay tied to a UK economic model that consigns us to relatively poor economic and social outcomes which are likely to get worse, not better, outside the EU?”

She compared the economies of other small European countries with the UK, “countries that, in many cases, lack the abundance of resources that Scotland is blessed with. But all of them independent and, as we show today, wealthier and fairer than the UK” she said. 

“Ten comparator countries – Ireland, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Iceland, Sweden, Austria, Belgium, and Finland.
The evidence is overwhelming that these countries – now and over time – perform better than the UK.”

When Scotland held an independence referendum in 2014, in which 55 percent of Scots voted in favor of staying in the UK, one of the main talking points was the state of Scotland’s future economy if it separates from the UK. Opponents of an independent Scotland argued the country’s economy would suffer. 

Sturgeon claims the economic situation has changed since 2014 arguing that “Scotland now has our own tax and social security agencies, an independent fiscal commission and a national investment bank.”

She pointed out “substantial parts of the infrastructure that an independent country would need, and which did not exist in 2014, are now in place.
Scotland now is even more prepared for independence than we were in 2014.”

She further argued how “with independence [Scotland] can build a more sustainable economy and therefore stronger public finances, pensions and social security, EU membership and trade, and defense and security.”

During the launch of her independence campaign, Surgeon hit out at Boris Johnson saying “we have a Prime Minister with no democratic authority in Scotland and no moral authority anywhere in the UK.”

But she expressed her willingness to sit down with Johnson and discuss the matter and that although they disagreed on the substance of independence, she hoped as a democracy they will be able to agree on the process of how the Scottish people should decide their future. 

The Scottish government says it will now publish a series of documents detailing how it will approach important matters around independence including how Scotland may rejoin the European Union, and how the flow of people, goods, and services would work in practice across the border between Scotland and England after independence.

She concluded her speech by pointing out the vast energy resources (90% of the UK's oil resources are considered under Scottish jurisdiction), invention, engineering, industries, not being under the influence of Westminster any longer, and “governments we don’t vote for and which are taking us in the wrong direction.”

Sturgeon was joined at the press conference by the co-leader of the Scottish Green Party and a member of the Scottish cabinet. The SNP and the Greens are both pro-independence and struck a power-sharing arrangement at Holyrood (Scotland’s devolved parliament) after last year's election.

Responding to Sturgeon’s announcement, a Downing Street spokesman said: "The UK government's position is that now is not the time to be talking about another referendum. We're confident that the people of Scotland want and expect their governments to be working together to focus on issues like the global cost of living challenge”

Critics say the timing of the announcement was not right ahead of the General election, however supporters say the people of Scotland voted for a renewed push for independence by voting for the SNP. 

Last year, The SNP won 64 seats in the Scottish Parliamentary election, one seat short of a majority but one seat more than it won in 2016. Sturgeon hailed her party's fourth consecutive victory as a “historic” result paving the way for her independence mandate. 

The first minister said she had been elected "on a clear commitment to give the people of Scotland the choice of becoming an independent country.”

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