Scotland in process of independence

Opening the SNP’s 75th Annual conference in Inverness today (Thursday) at the Eden Court Theatre, the Leader of the SNP and First Minister for Scotland, Alex Salmond MSP MP said Scotland was now in an irreversible process of independence.

Commenting Mr Salmond said:

“Fellow delegates, it is five years since conference has been to Eden Court and the Highland Capital.

“I hope you noticed, but there have been one or two advances and changes for the better since then – and I don’t just mean the refurbishment of this magnificent venue!

“Five years ago, I pledged to conference that I was running to be First Minister, and take the Scottish National Party into government for the first time in our history.

“Today, I am proud to be addressing you as First Minister on behalf of a successful and popular SNP administration – delivering for the people of Scotland.

“Scotland is a great nation, and is even better with the policies we have already introduced in our first two years – freezing the Council Tax, recruiting 1,000 more police, saving A&E units, restoring free education, and moving quickly in the downturn to implement an economic recovery plan that is protecting 15,000 jobs.

“We are on a journey to make Scotland the best nation we can be.  That is our purpose – and we’ve got what it takes to achieve it.

“And our national journey involves three stages.  Step one was the restoration of the Scottish Parliament after three centuries – the nation’s democratic heartbeat – and the SNP played our full part in the Yes-Yes campaign.

“Within a decade of the new Parliament, step two was the election of an SNP administration to provide bold and effective leadership – recognising that Scotland needs a real Government, not a peely-wally ‘Executive’.

“And step three is achieving the full opportunities and responsibilities that come with independence.  And that too will be achieved, because we are now in an irreversible process of independence, and closer to it than ever before.

“We have delivered good government in the devolved areas – and no-one can now argue against Scotland’s ability to be equally well governed in ALL areas.  And the London parties cannot sustain their position of refusing the right of the people to choose Scotland’s future in a referendum. If these parties will not give the people a vote, the people will not give them their votes.

“Delegates, we have work to do – first, in Glasgow North East, and within a few months at the General Election.

“And our objective is clear.  By winning a platform of 20 Scottish National Party MPs, we can transform the terms of politics.

“I want a hung parliament because a Westminster parliament that is hung on Scottish votes will at long last swing in Scotland’s direction.

“Let me give you a clear example.  Only yesterday, the Prime Minister wrote to me refusing the reasonable request of the Scottish Government to have ministerial representation at the Copenhagen Summit as part of the UK delegation – despite the world-leading climate change legislation that Scotland has passed.

“The Prime Minister conceded that Jack McConnell attended a sustainable development conference in Johannesburg in 2002 within the UK delegation – but he did give a very full explanation for this total inconsistency.  The reason for the difference, Mr Brown said, is that the issue is ‘not the same’.  So that’s clear then!

“Delegates, things will not be ‘the same’ if we deliver 20 SNP MPs next year – things will be much, much better, and the SNP will use our clout to Scotland’s maximum advantage.  Instead of saying ‘No’ to Scotland’s reasonable requests, Westminster will start saying ‘Yes’.

“That is our goal for the by-election and the General Election.  That is Scotland’s opportunity.  And the work begins at this conference.

“We’ve got what it takes.”