This is why we need independence more than ever

I’ve been campaigning for independence for almost three decades now. Now, let me be clear that I started very young!

In that time, support for independence has grown significantly to around 50% today. We must not lose sight of how far we have come, nor all of the activists who helped us get to this point and those who continue to campaign day in day out.

Six weeks ago I was appointed Minister for Independence by First Minister Humza Yousaf. Every day since I’ve been working to build the case for independence, with a new independence prospectus paper set to be published in the coming weeks.

I want to also pay tribute to the incredible amount of positive work ongoing across the Yes movement at the grassroots.

Work is well underway to produce new materials for our activists so that we can take the positive case for independence to the doorsteps the length and breadth of Scotland.

This week I spoke to the National for their podcast to talk about my role as Independence Minister.

It’s fair to say that my appointment has panicked Westminster, who are clearly worried about the prospect of having to defend the damage they are inflicting on Scotland.

But rest assured, I won’t be distracted by a sabre-rattling Tory Governor-General who commands 6 MPs.

It’s entirely legitimate for a democratically elected Scottish Government with a clear manifesto commitment to seek to advance Scotland’s independence.

And that’s exactly what I intend to do.

With the prospect of a hung parliament at Westminster and the SNP holding the balance of power, we have an incredible opportunity to ensure that Scotland’s voice is heard and to secure the powers to hold a referendum on independence.

Independence is the golden thread that runs through the First Minister’s core missions in government, including tackling child poverty, improving public services, and building a fairer, greener Wellbeing Economy.

We only have to look at similar sized countries in Europe to see that as independent countries, they are both wealthier and fairer. So why not Scotland?

The European Single Market is by population seven times the size of the UK. As an independent country in the EU, Scotland has the opportunity to be part of that huge market.

We need independence more than ever to unlock the enormous potential of this country. In an independent Scotland we can put the health and happiness of citizens equal to the
importance of economic growth.

The cost of Westminster control is clear. Households across Scotland are struggling to pay their bills due to the Tory Cost of Living crisis, compounded by their disastrous mini-budget and Brexit.

Food prices are at their highest since 1977 and people are struggling.

And this week we saw interest rates rise yet again, piling further pressure on family budgets.

While the Tories wreck the economy, pro-Brexit Labour are lurching further to the right under Starmer, refusing to commit to reversing the damaging policies being inflicted by the Tories.

It’s clear that we don’t just have a Cost of Living crisis, but we have a Cost of the Union crisis.

And let’s not forget, Westminster is actively undermining devolution.

Make no mistake, the question is no longer between the ‘status quo’ vs independence.

This week we’ve seen renewed calls to abolish the Scottish Parliament altogether.

In the face of these attacks on devolution and our democratic right to hold an independence referendum, it’s vital that we come together, as a party and as a movement, to defend Scotland’s democracy.

With a General Election on the horizon, let’s send a message to Westminster that support for the SNP and independence remain strong.

Unlike pro-Brexit Labour, we’re not interested in just getting rid of the Tories for a little while. With independence, we can get rid of Tory governments forever.

Let’s get out there and build support for independence so that Scotland’s voice cannot be ignored.