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There is clearly an attempt to rewrite history: the word “democratic” has been erased and replaced with “divisive”. It was democratic and it was empowering. That is the message that we have to take forward, and that is what any future referendum has to be as well.
I have no doubt that that was achieved as a result of the consensus that stemmed from the Edinburgh agreement and the securing of the section 30 order: a democratic and consensual approach to politics between Scotland’s two Governments. In that, a clear route map has been established for how a referendum can be best carried out in future.
The reasons for independence are important. Much of what I have spoken about has been on process, but I hope that, as the debate continues with other speakers, we will get on to “why?” Let me give my own tuppence-worth. It will be no surprise to people that I often wear a “yes” badge—I am proud about my involvement in that—but the reasons are more important than just about being in or out of Europe, although that is important at the moment. I hope that Scotland can become a fairer and more equal society. That requires us to have the full levers of power to make Scotland a more successful country. Now, 70% of tax and 85% of welfare powers remain in the control of Westminster; the Scottish Parliament has no say over immigration, and it is powerless to prevent the Trident weapons of mass destruction sitting a few miles from our largest city. We need an alternative to the economics of austerity, where our Scottish Government are not restricted to merely mitigating some of the worst aspects of Westminster.
Independence—this is worth saying again from a democratic point of view and as a lifelong SNP member—is about more than the SNP. Scotland now has a multiplicity of pro-independence groups, with a broad home-rule movement pushing the case for independence. No amount of huffing or puffing in Westminster will decide whether Scotland is to become independent or not. Indeed, it will not even be decided by who shouts the loudest back in Scotland. It will be decided by the Scottish people, and at a time of their choosing.