IndyRef2 will include new issues, says First Minister

Nicola Sturgeon believes the next referendum to decide whether Scotland will become an independent nation will be fought on very different issues than the 2014 campaign.

She says climate change, defence and international relations will be among a list of topics that have gained greater importance due to recent happenings – including Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and wars.

But other key debating points are also likely to emerge, she said.

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“The world never stands still,” the First Minister said.

“I’m sure when we come to the next independence referendum that many of the issues that were debated very, very vigorously in 2014 will be debated vigorously again.

“But the world has changed – as it always does. Brexit has happened since 2014. Climate change and the climate emergency are much higher up the agenda.

“And more recently, what’s happened in Ukraine has upended a lot of what we had previously taken for granted in the post-Cold War era about defence and security.

“So all of these issues will mean the debate around independence is not exactly as it was.

Supporters of Scottish independence at the site of the Battle of Bannockburn for an 'All Under One Banner'. Picture: Press Association

“The decisions on independence - and I firmly believe when we come to make that decision again, people in Scotland will vote yes - but inevitably people’s votes will be based partly on the world we live in at that time, and therefore some of the issues that will be very high up the agenda will be different than in 2014.”

With a potential move away from oil and gas in a bid to tackle climate change, the First Minister says renewable energy would play an important part in an independent Scotland.

“Offshore wind is one of the biggest opportunities we have in terms of meeting our energy needs,” she said.

It opens up huge export potential for us in terms of what it does for green hydrogen and also has massive economic opportunities.

Nicola Sturgeon in Dunfermline on Saturday. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

“What I would say is that this doesn’t happen magically.

“We have to work hard to get it but the 25 gigawatts of offshore wind that has been given the initial go-ahead in the recent ScotWind auction - the estimate is that there will be £1 billion of investment in the Scottish economy for every gigawatt generated.

“That’s a massive economic opportunity for jobs as well.”

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