Case for indyref2 "more vital than ever"
1 September 2018, 07:17
Building a fresh case for Scottish independence is "more vital than ever" as the UK's departure from the European Union draws ever closer, the SNP depute leader has said.
Keith Brown, who was elected to the post in April, spoke out as activists gathered in Aviemore in the Scottish highlands for a special national assembly to discuss a recent paper on the economic case for leaving the UK.
It is taking place after thousands of campaigners took to the streets to show their support for independence in a series of marches held over
While Scots voted against independence in 2014 the country voted to stay in the EU two years later, but the majority of voters across the
UK backed Brexit.
Mr Brown said: "A fresh case for independence is more vital than ever - and that is what we are working on at the national assemblies, and
with wider engagement enabling members of our party direct input and people from across the Yes movement and civic Scotland a say too."
The Sustainable Growth Commission, set up by Nicola Sturgeon to look at the economics case for leaving the UK, concluded that living
standards in Scotland could "equal the best small countries in the world" within a generation of independence.
But opponents said plans to cut Scotland's deficit to less than 3% meant it was "really a cuts commission".
However Mr Brown said: "The publication of the growth commission report, coupled with an increased level of grassroots activity in
communities up and down the country, has shown that Scotland's future is full of opportunity.
"People are rightly interested in having their say as the SNP builds the fresh case for the 'why' of independence.
"Scotland is already a wealthy nation with huge resources, strengths in innovation, world class universities, hi-tech sectors and unrivalled
"But despite those enormous strengths, similar sized nations have performed better over decades - all of them independent and most of
them with fewer resources than Scotland."
He added: "No one voted in 2014 for Scotland to be dragged out of the European Union against our will.
"No one voted in 2014 for Scotland to be poorer, for our public services to suffer, or for our businesses and people to be cut off from their
customers and friends in Europe.
"This is what the UK government's no deal Brexit threatens."
Mr Brown insisted: "Only independence will enable the people of Scotland to build a fairer, more prosperous country which reaches its full
potential on the global stage."
Scottish Labour Deputy Leader, Lesley Laird MP, said: "Across the country families and communities are paying the price of more than a decade of SNP government cuts to our public services.
"The SNP say that they stand up for Scotland but how is cutting the number of teachers, underfunding our NHS and increasing child poverty
standing up for Scotland? It's no surprise that the SNP want to keep talking about referendums and not their record in government.
"We know from the SNP's Cuts Commission plan that Nicola Sturgeon's vision for our country is even more austerity, more cuts to our
lifeline services and more pain for working people and their families.
"The change that the people of Scotland need is not another independence referendum which will create more division, it is a radical Labour
government at Holyrood and Westminster redistributing power and wealth to working people.
"Only Labour will deliver the radical change the Scottish people want and create a country that works for the many, not the few."