Westminster will use the damage inflicted by Brexit to argue that Scottish independence is unworkable, said Nicola Sturgeon, calling on her party activists to “resist [this] with everything we have ”.
In his address to delegates on the last day of the Scottish National Party’s online conference, the SNP leader and Prime Minister warned: ‘There is a double blow that Scotland needs to be vigilant … Westminster will use all this damage that they inflicted as an argument. for even more control of Westminster.
Sturgeon said, “By impoverishing us they will say we cannot afford to be independent. By cutting our trade with the EU, they will say that we are too dependent on the rest of the UK. By dropping our labor force, they will say the country is aging too quickly. They want us to believe that we are powerless in the face of the disastrous decisions they have made for us and the damage these decisions do. “
Sturgeon said evidence from other countries the size of Scotland showed independence worked, arguing that neighbors in northwest Europe were richer than the UK and more equal, with lower poverty levels, higher productivity and stronger public finances.
“Measure after measure, the evidence is overwhelming and conclusive: independence works. It works for Denmark, for Ireland, for Austria, for Norway, for Finland – and for so many more. “
Reiterating her pledge to hold a referendum on legal independence by the end of 2023, if Covid allows it, she told delegates the party’s success in the Scottish parliamentary elections in May was “an indisputable mandate”.
Responding to the address, Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar said the speech contained “no new ideas to help the Scots, just the same old rhetoric, slogans and platitudes”.
Scottish Tories rejected Sturgeon’s claim that Westminster was trying to impoverish Scotland to diminish support for independence as a ‘savage conspiracy theory’.
Conservative shadow cabinet secretary for the constitution Donald Cameron said: ‘Only the most fanatic supporters of the SNP will buy Nicola Sturgeon’s savage conspiracy theory that the UK is trying to impoverish Scotland as the Scotland’s budget hits an all-time high, the UK on leave program has saved a million Scottish jobs, and the UK vaccination program has protected the health of millions of Scots. “
Regarding the pandemic, Sturgeon urged the public to pursue basic mitigation measures that remain in place in Scotland, such as wearing face coverings in shops and on public transport, saying “a great national effort is still needed ”in response to the more transmissible Delta variant.
Getting the vaccine was “an expression of love and solidarity,” she said, as she spoke directly to those spreading anti-vaccine propaganda: “To the small but noisy minority who knowingly have spread fear and misinformation about vaccines, I say this: stop being selfish irresponsible. Stop putting the health and well-being of the country at risk. “
After the UK government announced a turnaround on the introduction of vaccine passports on Sunday, Sturgeon said Scotland’s “limited system” of vaccine certification, which was approved by the Holyrood parliament this week last, would be worth it, ”despite continued opposition and industry concerns.
“I hope it won’t be necessary for long. But if just showing that we’ve been vaccinated helps keep businesses open and our lives free from restrictions, then I think it will be worth it. “
Sturgeon also attacked the British government’s asylum policy, which she said “fails the basic test of humanity”, and its decision to end the increase in universal credit.
“If this deeply cruel cut occurs, the only conclusion we can come to is that Boris Johnson is simply not ashamed of himself. “
Highlighting the importance of the upcoming Cop26 conference in Glasgow for future generations, Sturgeon announced that the Scottish government will provide £ 300,000 in funding for the Youth Conference, which will take place ahead of the rally and is hosted by Youngo , the youth of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
She told delegates: “I don’t know why the UK government decided not to fund it – and it doesn’t really matter – but I know we cannot allow children and young people in the world to be silenced in Glasgow on an issue so vital to their future.