The Future of Scotland

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:21 am on 29th March 2007.

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Photo of Kenny MacAskill Kenny MacAskill Scottish National Party 11:21 am, 29th March 2007

I have to say that Mr Purvis is not one of those members who will be missed after 3 May, but I will address his question in a moment.

The important point is that we need to be a nation state. Miss Goldie said that the union was in her DNA, while the First Minister talked about atomisation. Indeed, as Wendy Alexander, who has not contributed to this debate, has put it, the issue is whether, in the modern world, we should be independent or interdependent.

Of course, all nations in the modern world are interdependent. Post 9/11, no country can isolate itself from terrorism, just as no country can isolate itself from global warming. However, no matter whether we are talking about the UN—where, despite the efforts of Blair and Bush to undermine it a few years ago, Britain still has to go—or the European Union, whose expansion we welcome and whose 50th anniversary we celebrate, the building block of participation is not the devolved state or the federal legislature, but the nation state. In the UN, it is a Micronesian atoll or Cyprus—not California or Catalonia—that can stand up and say, "This war is not in our name." As Mr Finnie well knows, when the European Union decides on fishing matters that affect our nation, it is not Bavaria that has the vote, but landlocked Slovakia or Luxembourg. The fact is that anything that is not a nation state does not have the right to representation.

Of course, nation states have to cede some powers. Indeed, that will be the case in the interregnum that must occur when a devolved state becomes a nation state. If we want the benefits of EU membership, we have to acknowledge that, at times, a shared central bank will provide low interest rates and a stable economy.

All such matters require co-operation and must be driven forward, but states that are not nation states are left with the problem that wars can be fought in their name; that their young men can die for they know not what cause; and that their elderly can be treated without the dignity or respect that they deserve. That is why Scotland must be independent.

At the end of the day, we have a choice in this election. This morning, we have heard all about the apocalypse and catastrophe that will happen if people vote for the SNP. Even Mr Aitken in his summing up seemed to suggest that, all of a sudden, the earth will open up. However, the fact is that Scotland is looking for a change. We have had eight years of an Executive that has failed to move Scotland on. The time has come for the people of Scotland not to apportion blame or to say, "It's all the fault of 18 years of Thatcherism or the eight wasted years under this Executive." We must take responsibility, improve our economy, act internationally in a way that allows us to adhere to our moral values and change our society for the better.

It is time to move Scotland on. It is time for the SNP.