The Future of Scotland

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 9:29 am on 29th March 2007.

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Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party 9:29 am, 29th March 2007

The difference between Karen Gillon and me is that I want to give the Scottish people the right to choose and she wants to deny them that right. If she wants to put her point to the test, she should back the right of the Scottish people to a referendum. Let me make this promise: when the time comes, my party will win the argument for independence by building the confidence of the Scottish people, not by trying to scare them into submission like Labour.

I have to admit, however, that some of Labour's scare tactics make a very convincing case—for independence. What other Government anywhere in the world would go to great lengths to prove that, while it had been in charge, its country had amassed a huge economic deficit and was incapable of running its own affairs and then give that as the main reason to vote for it? That is pathetic. If Labour were right—it is not, but if it were—and a huge economic deficit is really what Scotland has to show for 10 years of Labour government and 300 years of the union, the lesson for Scotland is clear: it is time to get rid of Labour and win back our country's independence.

I agree with the First Minister that Scotland has a choice at this election. It is a choice between a Labour Party that peddles fear and an SNP that will build confidence; between a Labour Party that is stuck in the past and an SNP that is looking to the future; and between a Labour Party that preaches dependence and an SNP that will put the people of Scotland in charge. Above all, it is a choice between a Labour Party that has failed to deliver and an SNP that is fit and ready to govern.

We are ahead in the polls, we are winning new converts every day and we are winning the argument. Our job now is to win the election. For every one of the next 35 days, we will work hard to earn the trust of the Scottish people and persuade them that it is time to put Scotland first, that it is time for a new Government and that it is time for the SNP. We are looking forward immensely to that challenge.