Nicola Sturgeon’s opening address to #SNP20 conference

Good morning and welcome.

For the first time in our history, we are gathering virtually.

This has been a difficult year for all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken thousands of lives, it has upended our society and it has severely damaged businesses and the economy.

But these dark times have also brought out the best in people.

Every day I have seen examples of people across Scotland pulling together in a time of crisis to support each other. These last few months have reminded me just what a privilege it is to serve as First Minister.

Since our last conference, we have won a landslide victory in a UK general election and support for independence has risen. It has become the sustained and majority view in public opinion this year.

While our primary focus is on tackling and beating COVID-19 – for which we have renewed hope – Scotland must be ready for what comes next. And I know we will be.

Our country has so much talent and potential.

We can build a resilient economy, with job creation and fairness at its heart.

We can protect and invest in public services like our NHS.

We can overcome poverty, inequality and we lead the way in tackling the climate emergency.

The question for all of us as we look ahead to the election next May is this: who should be taking the decisions that shape our futures?

We know that it is the people who live here, wherever they come from, who can best harness Scotland’s immense human and natural resources to the benefit of everyone.

So this weekend, and over the next few months, let us reach out – to all of Scotland – like never before.

Let us demonstrate – with cool heads and patient persuasion – that Scotland is ready to take its place in the global family of independent nations. Scotland is now a nation on the brink of making history.

Independence is in clear sight – and if we show unity of purpose, humility and hard work, I have never been so certain that we will deliver it. The people of Scotland have the right to choose their future.

Let’s now focus all our efforts on making sure we bring about that better country that we and future generations deserve.

An independent future lies ahead – lets grasp it.