Building A New Scotland: Renewing Democracy

Paving the way towards an independence referendum on the 19th of October 2023, the Scottish Government has launched the second in a series of independence papers – Renewing Democracy through Independence.

The “Building a New Scotland” series will outline the case for an independent Scotland.

This second paper sets out what Scotland has managed to achieve with the limited powers of devolution while being faced with a UK Government content on overriding decisions of the Scottish Parliament and is clawing back powers from Holyrood, all while having just six MPs and losing every election in Scotland since 1955.

Click here to read the full paper or scroll down for a handy summary of the key arguments.

How Scotland is using the limited powers of devolution to improve lives:

Having our own Parliament has allowed the people of Scotland to make decisions like:

• Introducing free personal care
• Scraping prescription charges
• Scraping NHS dental charges
• Scraping university tuition fees
• Protecting our NHS from privatisation
• Introducing the £20-a-week Scottish Child Payment
• Creating a fairer and more progressive tax system

Scotland is being dragged down by a broken Westminster system:

Scotland’s position as part of the UK isn’t allowing us to reach our full potential, and the ‘status quo’ within Westminster control is holding us back.

Under the current system, it is still only the UK’s Government and Parliament that can make decisions about many issues that affect all of us every day in key areas such as:

• Defence
• Scotland’s membership of the EU
• Managing the money raised through oil and gas
• Support for renewable projects
• Decisions on borrowing or increasing tax
• Pensions
• Benefits like Universal Credit
• Even the Scottish Government’s budget is controlled by Westminster

Decisions over these areas are usually taken by a government that Scotland wasn’t even voted for.

Many of the decisions made by Westminster have had long-term, damaging effects on the people who live in Scotland:

Here are some examples:

1. Westminster could have chosen like Norway to invest Scotland’s North Sea oil revenues in a fund that could now be worth over £500 billion – around three times Scotland’s annual national income.

Instead, they squandered it, so while Norway has a cushion to fall back on when global events cause the economy to shrink, vital public services don’t need to be cut, unlike in the UK.

2. In the 2016 EU referendum, Scotland voted 62% remain, with every council area in Scotland returning a majority for remain.

Despite seeking compromise with the UK Government, Scotland has been dragged out the EU under a Brexit deal that makes it much harder for Scots to travel, work, trade and do business in EU countries.

Now, Labour and the Lib Dems have joined with the Tories and turned their backs on Scotland’s EU membership, making it clear the only way for Scotland to re-join the European family of nations is with the full powers of independence.

3. Scotland wants to be an open and welcoming country that celebrates the talents of all its people wherever they come from.

Still, Westminster is content with dragging Scotland down an isolationist route that turns its back on the world and creates a hostile environment for immigration.

Westminster has consistently refused to give powers over migration to Scotland so that we can build an immigration system that reflects the values of the country we want to be.

4. Finally, in 2014 the people of Scotland were promised that if they voted against independence, they would have “something near to federalism”.

Now the Tories are using Brexit as an excuse to weaken the Scottish Parliament by grabbing powers back to Westminster.

Watch our explainer video here:

The Scottish Government has a clear democratic mandate to deliver a referendum on Scottish independence:

In the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, the SNP and the Scottish Greens stood on explicitly pro-independence manifestos, pledging to hold an independence referendum in the current term of the Parliament.

• The election resulted in a record high pro-independence vote, with:
• The highest ever number of votes for pro-independence parties
• The highest ever vote share for pro-independence parties
• The highest ever number of pro-independence MSPs with an increased majority at Holyrood

The SNP and the Greens formed a pro-independence majority government.

This clear electoral victory in 2021, further reinforced by the SNP’s and the Greens’ record performance in the 2022 local elections, amounts to a clear mandate for Scotland’s right to choose.

Pledge your support for independence:

People in Scotland have a clear democratic right, and a clear democratic mandate, to choose their future.

That choice is coming, with an independence referendum set for October 19th, 2023.

The power to win over undecided voters, and get Yes over the line, is in your hands – so pledge your support here, and click here to get involved.