At the SNP’s annual conference in Aberdeen, Nicola Sturgeon spoke to party members.
Speaking at The Event Complex in Aberdeen, the Scottish First Minister and SNP leader touched on issues including independence and net zero. Additionally, she used the occasion to attack her political rivals.
During her keynote address to the SNP convention, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon referred to her party’s members as “the independence generation.”
Independence was “essential,” the SNP leader told attendees.
She also announced at the Aberdeen conference that she will present a new economic plan the following week.
According to Ms. Sturgeon, if Scotland gained independence, a plan would be made to use oil income to establish a £20 billion investment fund.
She also disclosed an increase in a bridging payment for child benefits.
“We are the independence generation,” Ms. Sturgeon said during the convention as a rallying call to party members.
“I believe – firmly – that we will be the first, in the modern world, to live in an independent Scotland.”
The SNP leader argued that while warning that independence was not “a miracle economic cure,” it was “essential to escape Westminster control and mismanagement.”
The “independence generation” was admonished by her to remember two things.
“First is the fundamental right of the nation of Scotland to self-determination,” she said.
“And the second is what history teaches us – the overwhelming power of democracy to triumph.”
The SNP’s unity under its leader and its conviction that independence is imminent were highlighted by this speech and the response to it.
Nicola Sturgeon spoke of being a part of “the independence generation” and the “arc of history” pointing in that direction.
How that will really happen is still a big mystery, and to be quite honest, there were significant stretches throughout the weekend when this did not seem like a meeting of a party one year away from a referendum.
However, the Supreme Court has been given the day’s deliberations on the process problem, which will now be the main topic of discussion starting tomorrow morning.
As usual, Ms. Sturgeon’s address served as the conference’s catalyst for energy.
Her assurances that “the overwhelming power of democracy” will prevail were met with applause after applause.
The first minister also sent a message to ardent unionists, saying, “Whatever happens in the future, Scotland belongs to you as much as it does to us.”
The faithful in the room, however, were the target audience for the most of this address, and they evidently enjoyed every second of it.
The first minister said at the first in-person conference since 2019 that her party will issue a report the following week that would present the economic justification for independence.
It is the third report that the Scottish government has released in a series.
She stated that proposals will be included for a fund that would make up to £20 billion in investments in the first ten years.
This, according to the SNP leader, would be paid for using borrowed money and any residual oil income.
According to Ms. Sturgeon, “It will set out how we can build a new, sustainable economy based on our massive renewable energy resources,”
“It will show how in an energy rich, independent Scotland, we can deliver lower prices and stronger security of supply.”
Prior to a Supreme Court hearing on the Scottish parliament’s authority to pass laws requiring an independence referendum, the address will be given.
According to Ms. Sturgeon, the Scottish government will organise a referendum on October 19, 2023, if the court decides in her favour.
In that scenario, she pledged to uphold the law before “put our case for independence to the people in an election”.
“I will never – ever – give up on Scottish democracy,” the first minister said.
She said that gaining independence would enable Scotland to establish stronger connections with its immediate neighbours.
England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, according to Ms. Sturgeon, will always be “the closest of friends.”
“We will always be family.
“But we can achieve a better relationship – a true partnership of equals – when we win Scotland’s independence.”
She said that the NHS will be safeguarded under a written constitution following independence and announced the creation of two new cancer diagnostic centres, one in Lanarkshire and one in the Borders.
The government will quadruple financing for this year’s last quarterly bridging payment to 145,000 school-age children, Ms. Sturgeon, who declared her intention to remain first minister for “quite some time yet,” told the conference. This will increase as part of a £19 million investment from £130 to £260.
The Scottish Child Payment will not be provided to eligible under-16s until the bridging payment, which is administered by councils on the government’s behalf, is implemented.
She continued by launching criticism at Liz Truss’ UK administration, which she claimed was in charge of “chaos and calamity.”
On the Conservatives: ‘My dream is very different’
Sturgeon criticised the institution of Westminster for a large portion of his address. She didn’t hesitate, though, to highlight the ways in which she differs from certain politicians.
The Home Secretary was one example. Suella Braverman stirred much debate last week when she stated that it would be her “dream” to have an image of refugees travelling to Rwanda on The Telegraph‘s front page. She was making reference to the divisive programme that transported asylum applicants to the African nation while they awaited a verdict on their claim. The courts have thus far halted the policy.
Sturgeon made a point to insist just how unhappy she was with Braverman’s comments. She told the conference: “Even as I quote her, I struggle to comprehend that she actually said these words…
“Conference, my dream is very different. I am sure it is shared in this hall and by the vast majority across Scotland. My dream is that we live in a world where those fleeing violence and oppression are shown compassion and treated like human beings… not shown the door and bundled on to planes like unwanted cargo.”
Sturgeon made the case that Scotland is politically distinct from Westminster and Tory policy by using the phrase “the vast majority of Scotland” to put her party in opposition to the Conservatives.
On Labour: ‘Just as committed to Brexit as the Tories’
In Sturgeon’s address, the Tories weren’t the only party facing criticism. The Labour Party of Sir Keir Starmer received criticism as well.
“Take Brexit,” she argued. Imposed on Scotland against our choice, harming our interests, our economy, and our young people in a meaningful and long-lasting way.
“Labour is now just as committed to Brexit – a hard Brexit – as the Tories. At least the Tories believe in it, Labour doesn’t. Yet, rather than make the principled argument – which they could now win in England – they cower away from it.”
To gain control of Downing Street, Sturgeon continued, the Labour party was “chuck[ing] Scotland under Boris Johnson’s Brexit bus to get the keys to Downing Street.” One of the primary justifications for Scottish Independence put up by the SNP during the Indyref2 campaign was the Brexit.
The Leave campaign won the majority of votes and support in England and Wales during the 2016 Brexit referendum. In contrast, Scotland’s whole council area chose to stay. Some people have taken offence to this since they think Scotland has a totally different political philosophy than the rest of the United Kingdom.
By include Labour in the group of Brexit supporters, Sturgeon has bolstered her case for independence. According to the SNP, if Scotland became independent, it would want to re-join the EU.
After the Tories withdrew from discussions without an agreement, Labour’s camp in Westminster, however, has stated that the party would not attempt to reverse the decision and will instead move through with the current post-Brexit plans and develop the UK economy around them.
Therefore, Sturgeon is attempting to persuade individuals in Scotland’s remain majority who might have been on the fence regarding independence by assuring them that the SNP would continue to advocate for an independent Scotland to rejoin the EU regardless of whether major party is in power in Westminster.