the publication of the Scottish Government’s White Paper: Scotland’s
Future: Your Guide to Independence – read it here
http://tinyurl.com/ocr2r9f - we’ve all been having a very busy week.
The 670 page document
sets out a blueprint for how independence would actually work in action,
so it’s been tremendously exciting to offer it up for reading by
everyone with an interest in Scotland’s positive future.
As well as the formal
launch on Tuesday, we had a lengthy debate in the Chamber on Wednesday
afternoon as the First Minister introduced the blueprint to the
I thought perhaps you
would like to read what I said on the topic there:
is the day, our day, Scotland’s day, the day that we can cradle in our
arms Scotland’s Future and hear the infant cries of our new country. On
18 September 2014, we will despatch our child off to a new kind of
school, one that recognises the worth of every single infant and one
that gives her wings to fly.
“The greatest gifts you can give your
children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence”,
says Denis Waitley in the Psychology of Winning.
In an independent Scotland, with 1100 hours
of free childcare, we won’t be clipping any wings. We’ll be giving them
the power to fly with confidence.
And here we have set down the structures to
make it work. We are shining a torch upon our ambitions; showing
everyone what a prosperous, fair and equal society would like.
That prospect excites me; it represents the
values I hold dearest and it tells me not only that an independent
Scotland can work but that it will work.
This is no vague concept or woolly notion.
These 670 pages are of intricate detail. Scotland’s Future isn’t a quick
bedtime read. It is the blueprint of our future and everyone of us
should study it.
Now we can see, in concrete, verified terms,
what we can do as an independent nation and I am immensely proud to see
it projected out to every citizen in the country.
have a space at the world’s tables of power.
be heard in Europe, at the UN and international affairs.
build a successful economy out of our own resources.
be a country that is caring and compassionate.
be exemplars to the rest of the world.
prove that with the power to make all our own decisions, we are
innovative, thoughtful and strategic long-term thinkers.
above all, we will be able to genuinely reflect the demands of the
electorate. It is they who will give us the power to succeed. No longer
will the people of Scotland be ruled by governments in Westminster that
we did not elect.
has the future of our country been so well considered and carefully
planned. This is a piece of history. There is a strong argument that it
is the most important political document to be produced in Scotland
since our country’s nobles appealed to the Pope in the Declaration of
Arbroath in 1320.
us here are included in this history in the making. We are honoured to
each play a part in the building of this new and liberated Scotland.
that not an incredible feeling? At this landmark on our journey, we are
joined together not only by common purpose but by a common surge of hope
and anticipation. We will bring about the birth of our new heritage in
our new Scotland.
is a modern, hard-headed and realistic blueprint for
our nation, ready and waiting to be put into action.
every way, it reflects our values as a people and the confidence we have
in ourselves. It points us to that new Scotland built on compassion,
equality, tolerance, prosperity and innovation.
Scotland that offers every person in this land respect and dignity; that
prizes free education and the right to improve ourselves, that generates
wealth and encourages economic growth.
a Scotland that treats immigrants with respect, which will close
Dungavel detention centre and which will end the practice of dawn raids.
I am immensely proud that we will do that. We will end the inhumane
treatment of those who have exercised their legitimate right to seek
Westminster has diminished many such rights. It has also reduced key
aspects of workers’ rights. On independence, we will restore the 90-day
consultation period for redundancies that affect 100 or more employees.
The right to that was taken away by the Tories, backed by Labour.
will it all add up to? A Scotland that is free of the stifling hand of a
Westminster government that says it wants us on the one hand but ignores
our needs on the other. We will be able to dump policies inflicted upon
us and which we know do not reflect our priorities.
Instead, we will build our own policies, right for the people of
Scotland and right for our country’s place on the world stage.
will be in charge of our own destiny.
We will have a future with our own place in
Europe, with at least 11 MEPs instead of the current six, with a
Commissioner and a greater voice in Brussels and Strasbourg to protect
and grow our interests there.
Europe has been good for smaller member
nations. We have the proof from Ireland, Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia,
Lithuania – which currently holds the EU presidency - and Croatia just
this summer. These are young, independent nations proving that playing
an active part in that global bloc of more than 550 million people is
I don’t notice any of those countries
seeking to go back to the old days of being part of a larger big
I spoke at the Radical Independence
Conference at the weekend (http://radicalindependence.org
) . That group has a declaration that sums up the position perfectly. It
says that Yes “is a hope fashioned from knowledge.
“We know a better economy is possible
because we have seen it in other nations. We know greater equality among
citizens is possible because we have seen that in other nations. We know
that ending poverty, reviving democracy and respecting our environment
are possible because we have seen these things too.
“And we know how to bring these things to
Scotland. We must abandon 30 years of the politics of exploitation, the
damning, corrosive exploitation that makes a few rich from what the many
lose. We must replace it with the politics of sharing, where we all gain
from the riches of our land and the fruits of our labour.
“It is a fine Scottish tradition; to find
what works, to find out how it works and to make it work better. For
centuries Scotland’s ingenuity has been a gift to the world. Now let it
be a gift also to ourselves.
“Let us gift ourselves an economy where we
make and create. Let our creativity make working people prosperous. Let
prosperous people sustain a great welfare state. Let that state end the
fear that comes with insecurity. Let us gift ourselves that Scotland.
“Look at the forces that stand behind NO.
Look at the forces that stand behind YES.” I tell people today to
“choose your side.”
Together we can raise up our heads and work
for a Scotland yet to come but visible already. A Scotland of the Common
Weal, of shared wealth and shared wellbeing.
Our Scotland. All of us first.”
From one end of our
country to the other, let’s take this out, make the case for our new
Scotland and give it our all.
We have a solid case. We
have self-belief and confidence. We have the right policies.
Now we will make it