Twenty years have passed since Scotland secured devolution and it is now clearer than ever why it is time to complete our journey towards independence.
The Westminster system is broken and it is failing Scotland. Throughout the Brexit process, our wishes have been ignored and our interests sidelined. Any pretence Scotland will be treated as an equal partner in the UK has long gone.
Scotland did not vote for Brexit – but the Westminster parties are dragging us out of the EU against our will towards economic disaster. Continued Westminster rule is the biggest threat to our economy, to jobs, living standards, our public services and our society.
There is no such thing as a good Brexit – whether it is a Tory Brexit or a Labour Brexit, it will be devastating for Scotland.
It is no surprise then the three most recent opinion polls, published by YouGov, Panelbase, and Survation, revealed the Tories and Labour risk sliding into terminal decline in Scotland if they continue to act against our interests.
The SNP has opened up a massive 23-point lead at Westminster, a 24-point lead in the Scottish Parliament, and a 26-point lead in the European elections.
📢 @IanBlackfordMP: "These are no ordinary times and this is no ordinary conference.
We are here to make history.
— The SNP (@theSNP) April 28, 2019
We will never take a vote for granted but it is clear people are putting their trust in the SNP to stand up for Scotland as the other parties continue to fail us.
At the SNP conference at the weekend, we saw the contrast between a Scottish Government building affordable housing, tackling climate change, championing equality, mitigating UK austerity and creating a social security system based on dignity and respect – and a UK Government taking us backwards and failing to even do the day job.
Scotland deserves the choice of a better future than Brexit Britain – and that choice must be ours to make. Rather than continue down a path to decline, Scotland can rejoin the family of nations as an independent European nation.
Last week, Nicola Sturgeon announced the Scottish Government will bring forward legislation for the option of an independence referendum by 2021, to give the people a choice over our future.
The SNP was re-elected in 2016 on a specific manifesto commitment that the people should have the right to choose independence in a referendum if Scotland faced being taken out of the EU against its will. That mandate was underlined in a majority vote of the Scottish Parliament.
It was a pleasure to speak with friends and colleagues at #SNP19. I outlined to conference that the Westminster parliament has failed and we must now win our independence to ensure a prosperous future for Scotland. Let’s do this! pic.twitter.com/2pKNywMhwN
— Ian Blackford (@IanBlackfordMP) April 28, 2019
In contrast to the chaos at Westminster, the First Minister has offered cross-party talks, inviting those who don’t back independence the chance to say which powers they think Scotland should have.
She has also proposed a citizens’ assembly, inviting a cross-section of society under an independent chair to offer their views on how best to equip Scotland for the future in light of Brexit.Westminster has failed Scotland and Brexit now means change is unavoidable.
The polls show support for change is growing – with almost two-thirds of people wanting a fresh referendum and support for independence now too close to call.
Those political parties who oppose our vision for Scotland need to show they understand that and respond positively – otherwise the process of change will pass them by.
This article originally appeared in the Daily Record.