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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
28th November 2013

With the publication of the Scottish Government’s White Paper: Scotland’s Future: Your Guide to Independence – read it here - 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 Parliament.

I thought perhaps you would like to read what I said on the topic there:

This 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.

We can have a space at the world’s tables of power.

We can be heard in Europe, at the UN and international affairs.

We can build a successful economy out of our own resources.

We can be a country that is caring and compassionate.

We can be exemplars to the rest of the world.

We can prove that with the power to make all our own decisions, we are innovative, thoughtful and strategic long-term thinkers.

And 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.

Never 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.

All of 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.

Is 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.

Scotland’s Future is a modern, hard-headed and realistic blueprint for our nation, ready and waiting to be put into action.

In 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.

A 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.

It is 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 asylum.

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.

What 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.

We 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 working.

I don’t notice any of those countries seeking to go back to the old days of being part of a larger big brother.

I spoke at the Radical Independence Conference at the weekend ( ) . 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 happen.

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