Sturgeon puts independence top of election agenda
Nicola Sturgeon: ‘we must not take our eye off the ball’ (pic: Terry Murden)
Nicola Sturgeon today tore into the record of the Conservative government in Westminster in the clearest indication yet that the Scottish election campaign will focus on independence.
The SNP leader urged the country to re-elect her as First Minister as she reminded Scots that they did not vote for a Tory government and launched a series of attacks on Boris Johnson’s policies.
After stating the need to focus on combating Covid, she said the country “must not take our eye off the ball.”
In a campaign speech she said: “This campaign is also an opportunity to think about, and debate, the kind of country we want to build after the pandemic.
“In Scotland, despite the political sound and fury that so often dominates our discourse – I suspect there is quite substantial agreement about the kind of nation we want to be.
“A fairer country, founded on the values of compassion and love, with an economy that is strong and works for everyone, and an equal partnership with our friends in the rest of the UK and across Europe.
“But what is unusual is that despite people across Scotland wanting, and indeed voting for, measures to bring about that kind of country – another government, the Westminster government, controlled by a Tory party Scotland hasn’t voted for in 60 years, so often pulls us in a different direction.
“We have seen and continue to see the effects of that. People in Scotland rejected austerity cuts. But they were imposed on us anyway.
“We voted to stay in the European Union. But we were forced out.
“We want a fair society. But Westminster is taking money away from those who can least afford it.
“We value and have benefited from devolution and self-government. But Westminster has launched a power grab on the Scottish Parliament.
“Who is best placed to decide and shape the kind of country we want to be after the pandemic – the people of Scotland and governments, of whatever party, elected by us; or Westminster governments and politicians like Boris Johnson?
“I believe Scotland’s recovery should be in Scotland’s hands.
“Independence is not a distraction from recovery. It is essential to secure a recovery that is made here in Scotland and based on the values the majority of us subscribe to.
“In an independent Scotland we will have the powers and tools we need to build the country so many of us want to see.
“Never again will it be possible for a Westminster government to take Scotland in the wrong direction.
“A vote for the SNP in this election is a vote to re-elect me and the SNP Government to continue to lead Scotland safely through the pandemic.
“But it is also a vote for your right – when the crisis is over – to choose independence.
“And we can help build the case for independence every day in how we use the powers we already have.”
Ms Sturgeon also made a veiled attack on her predecessor Alex Salmond who has entered the election via his own Alba Party.
“I don’t have much time these days for the “who’s up/who’s down” approach to politics,” she said.
“And I definitely have much less patience for those who treat politics like a game – and for indulging anyone who puts self interest ahead of the country’s best interests.
If the last year has taught us anything it’s that politics is about improving people’s lives or it is about nothing at all.”