First Minister Humza Yousaf’s address to the Believe in Scotland March

Thank you very much. Thank you.

Glasgow! What a beautiful sight you are!

Didn’t I tell you in Edinburgh? When we rally together, the sun always shines on the righteous.

And it has once again – look at you, in all of your beautiful diversity. Look at you. We’ve got those from Yes Borders to Yes Shetland, we’ve got the pensioners for independence, the EU citizens for independence. We’ve got Bikers for Yes! We’ve got all of the yes movement, represented in all of your beautiful diversity represented here today. And let me tell you, you look bloody gorgeous, Glasgow.

Friends. Look, the last 48 hours have been tough. They’ve been a bit of a shock for some of us in the movement, for example, for those in the SNP.

But let me say this much. That we can’t always choose what happens to us in life, but what we can choose is how we react. And let me ask you, when it comes to the obstacles that come our way, just because obstacles are thrown in our way –¬† are we going to pack our bags and go home?

Or are we going to fight for what we believe in?

Are we going to go to every single city, every single town, every single village, every single island, every single doorstep, every single tenement, every single person, and talk to them and tell them that this country’s best future is, as an independent nation in the European Union.

And that is what we’re going to do.

And, you know, our opponents, they’re tried to write us off over the years. It was Lord George Robertson who said that with devolution, the independence movement would be killed stone dead. And here you are, very much alive.

They said, our opponents, they said, ‘oh, you’ll never get a pro-independence party as the Scottish Government’.

Well, here we are!

They said, ‘you’ll never get a pro-independence majority’ and we literally broke the electoral system. And here we are with our partners and the Green Party, a pro-independence majority government. And in the last few days, my friends, they’ve said the independence movement is finished. Well, you don’t look finished to me!

And why? Why do we do what we do? Because we are driven by our values. It is our values that drive our desire for independence. I don’t want independence only for its own sake. I see it as a means to a fairer, a greener, more prosperous, more equal Scotland. And if you ever, if you ever want a demonstration of our values, this very square is a demonstration of our values.

How many times have we gathered here in defiance of Westminster rule? When it comes to Westminster’s creation of the hostile environment? The Westminster of Windrush? Of go home vans? The Westminster who wants to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda? Have we not come here, time and time again? Not in our hundreds, but in our of thousands. And we’ve said loud and clear. Refugees are welcome here.

Or take matters further away from here. And we’ve seen a complete and utter lack of moral courage from Westminster when it comes to having failed the people of Gaza. And is it not the case that week after week after week, the good people of Glasgow have come to this square to say to the people of Gaza, you are not alone!

We have come here and are thousands week after week to demand an end to the occupation, an end to the violence and an end to selling arms to Israel. We must see an end to the arming of Israel while, so many innocent people are being killed.

And when I talk about our values, let’s also talk about a pensioners. And I’m delighted that this rally has been led by Pensioners for Independence. Let’s give it up for the Pensioners for Indy, the Pensioners for Yes!

And if you want a demonstration of the contrast of values; well look how Westminster has failed our pensioners, failed to protect TV licences for over 75’s. Failed. Utterly failed, when it comes to entrenching poverty of our pensioners through the mismanagement of the UK economy by Westminster. And ladies and gentlemen, friends, the biggest betrayal is the betrayal of the WASPI women.

And we stand here as a movement to say to each and every single one of those women, my mum included, by the way, that we will stand with you in your fight for justice and your fight for compensation.

And that, my friends, is why we stand here. And that is why it’s so important that we are all here united for that cause, that cause of independence. That’s why I was so delighted, as you heard from Gordon, to work with, Believe in Scotland, to work with the Green Party, the SNP, all together – to lay the groundwork for a constitutional convention.

But be in no doubt, my friends, the cause of independence, regaining our nation’s independence will not be won by politicians. It will be won by the people. It will be won by you.

And my friends. It is the last yards that are the hardest. But remember this. That it will be through our hard work, for our perseverance that we regain our country’s independence.

So we have to. We have to. Because every day that goes by, broken Brexit Britain is squandering the potential of our country. So we owe it to the giants on whose shoulders we stand, those who unfortunately have passed on and didn’t get to see independence in their life.

We owe it to those giants. The Margot McDonalds. We owe it to the Winnie Ewings, the Neil McCormacks, the Bashir Ahmeds, the George Leslies.

We owe it to every single one of them. And to those generations who are yet unborn, that’s for us to finish the job. That job that was started by our brave countrymen and women. Not decades ago, but centuries ago, as they stood in defiance of Westminster rule.

And they said that no man has the right to halt the progress of a nation. That was what they said and I believe, my friends, that if we are driven by our values, if we are putting at the centre of our campaign love, compassion, empathy, then I don’t doubt that we will achieve our nation’s independence.

Friends, believe in Scotland, believe in the people of Scotland and let’s get out there. Let’s work harder than ever before. And my goodness, what a prize at the end of it. I promise you, if we do that, we will win and regain our nation’s independence. Thank you very much. God bless.