The Future of Scotland

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 9:59 am on 29th March 2007.

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Photo of Gordon Jackson Gordon Jackson Labour 9:59 am, 29th March 2007

No, I am sorry, but I have to move on.

The prosperity of which I spoke is the key issue, not just for Govan but for the whole of Scotland. The question is, do we or do we not want to separate ourselves from our neighbours in the United Kingdom? [Interruption.] Is John Swinney going to speak standing up or continue to speak sitting down?

People say to me that they are toying with the idea of voting SNP and then, in the next breath, they share their horror at the idea of independence. It will not do. I say to those people, "If you vote SNP or in one way or another help it to form a Government, you are not just tinkering with who runs the health service or Scotland; you are putting into the seat of Government and at the levers of power a party whose sole rationale and avowed intention is to break up a structure that has served us well and can continue to do so." If people vote for the SNP, they will replace that structure with something that, quite apart from the cultural dislocation it would cause, would simply be bad for Scotland. People who believe in independence with a passion should vote for it. However, if, like me, people do not think that independence is a good thing for this country and believe instead that it would be a bad step and a retrograde action, they should not be vague about all this. We must ensure that we do not, without meaning to, carelessly wander towards something that we will live to regret. This election is about the future of Scotland.