Scottish independence: We’re already halfway to a split with the UK, says Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland 'not starting from scratch'. Picture: PA
Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland 'not starting from scratch'. Picture: PA
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NICOLA Sturgeon will today outline a unusually personal vision of independence, arguing that Scotland is halfway towards regaining its sovereignty following devolution.

Quoting the late US senator Bobby Kennedy, the SNP Deputy First Minister will argue that the world “is changed by people who don’t look at things as they are and ask why, but who look at things as they could be and ask why not”.

However, Ms Sturgeon, who is leading the independence campaign for the SNP Scottish Government, acknowledges that her party needs to explain the “how” of independence, not just the “why”.

She will say that over the coming year, the Scottish Government will publish a white paper, speeches and other documents to try to show Scots the process of independence is not difficult, and explain what could be achieved if the country is no longer run from Westminster.

And she will point out that thanks to devolution, Scotland will “not be starting from scratch.”

She is expected to say: “We are already governing in a manner which is light years from the UK. We have in place a great foundation – it was designed to be built on. We will remind people that we are already halfway there – we have brought half the powers home and made a success of it. Now we must build on the foundation and bring the rest home, to finish the job.”

In her speech, the Deputy First Minister she will also

attempt to shift the debate away from national identity towards the idea of preserving social

justice north of the Border against a privatisation agenda south of it.

In a speech to civic and business leaders in Glasgow, Ms

Sturgeon will argue that for her, the “overwhelming objective is to benefit, not just this but the next and future generations”.

“It is about ending, once and for all, the cycle of deprivation, so that our people can enter a thriving economy and contribute more meanfully to the their own wellbeing and that of the world.”

She will add: “My conviction that Scotland should be independent stems from the principles, not of identity or nationality, but democracy and social justice.

I believe Scotland has a democratic right to choose our own government and determine her own future, a democratic right to put in place her own values and a democratic duty to make her own decisions.”

She will argue that while voting on a single question, Scots will be answering two, on who governs Scotland and on what kind of society they want.

“It is only by bringing the powers home, by being independent, that we can build the better nation we all want,” she will say.

“As the people of Scotland make up their minds over these next two years I ask them to base their decision, not on how Scottish or British we feel, but on what kind of country you want Scotland to be and how best you think that can be achieved.”

Ms Sturgeon will extol the Scottish Government’s achievements thus far. She will say: “In the 13 years of devolution, great changes have occurred. We lose sight of them in the pell-mell of politics, but unlike the privatisation process south of the Border, our health service remains true to Nye Bevan’s founding principles; our education system has a new curriculum fit for modern teaching and learning; our universities offer education based on the ability to learn not the ability to pay; and our older people have more security in their later years.”