Letter: Independence remains at heart of SNP

I did not say in an interview in another paper, as David Maddox suggests (your report, 26 June), that independence was "no longer" the centre of gravity in Scottish politics.

Still less did I say anything to provoke your editorial suggestion that independence is not the centre of gravity in the SNP.

I was in fact making exactly the opposite point – that the centre of gravity in Scottish politics is shifting towards independence, not away from it.

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A generation ago it was for an assembly, then for a parliament, then for Calman, now for fiscal responsibility, which is currently galvanising a range of opinion across Scottish society.

At each stage in that road, the SNP campaigned in favour of more powers for Scotland as well as pursuing the independence campaign.

There has never been any contradiction in doing that – nor is there now.

Indeed, one of the essential ingredients of gaining more power for Scotland is the vigour of the independence campaign. It is the engine which fires the debate.

The publication of the Government Expenditure & Revenue Scotland report – showing in 2008-9 a Scottish current budget surplus of 1.3 billion, compared to a UK current budget deficit of 48.9bn – is a strong illustration of the argument which both increases the urgency of fiscal responsibility as an alternative to a dismal decade of Westminster spending cuts, and also shifts the centre of gravity in Scottish politics towards independence.


First Minister

St Andrew's House