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Scotland’s Future

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 18th September 2013.

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Photo of Drew Smith Drew Smith Labour

I welcome Mr McDonald’s sandwich heckling in these debates. We enjoyed his loudness at the beginning but perhaps he could have contributed to the debate if he has something to say at the end.

Last week, we had a budget for independence that failed to set out a plan for growing jobs and our economy. The week before, we had a legislative programme that showed the SNP’s lack of ambition, holding Scotland back because it thinks that undermining Scotland’s confidence in devolution is the only way in which it could ever convince enough Scots to take a chance with separation. It is therefore no surprise that we have heard the usual litany of complaints from the SNP this afternoon—other than from Christine Grahame, who must win some kind of positivity prize at the SNP Christmas party this year.

We reject the notion that the union must be broken to bring about the change that we would wish to see in our country, either here in Scotland or in the rest of Britain. The question, as many members across the chamber have said, is not whether Scotland could be an independent country but whether it wants to be.

As Malcolm Chisholm said, we believe in the best of both worlds: a strong Scottish Parliament that is focused on Scotland’s priorities and a strong United Kingdom in which we share and pool both our resources and the risks that we face together.

We have said this afternoon that we welcome the people of Scotland—not just Scotland’s politicians—having their say on this question next year. It is the people who are demanding information about the SNP’s plans for a separate Scotland and it is the people whom the nationalists need to convince.