Friday, 11 April 2014

SNP Spring Conference: Scotland Can, Should and Must be Independent


On the eve of the SNP’s spring conference in Aberdeen, the party are highlighting the fact that it is game on in the referendum campaign - with support for YES and NO now extremely close with less than six months to go.

Ahead of the conference, SNP Business Convener Derek Mackay MSP said:

“As the SNP gather in Aberdeen for our final conference before September’s referendum, it is game on in the campaign - with support for Yes and No now virtually neck and neck.

“In recent months support for Yes has grown significantly, with the most recent poll finding Yes only needs another 3 points to get to 50 per cent. This is hugely encouraging – as more and more people across the country hear the case for Yes, they are realising that Scotland can, should and must be independent.

“The European elections are just around the corner in May, and a strong team of SNP MEPs and an independent Scotland is the only way to guarantee that Scotland can make its mark. With the latest poll showing the SNP leading in Holyrood, European and Westminster voting intentions, we can be encouraged, but we can’t be complacent.

“The European elections are a fantastic opportunity to stand on the SNP’s positive message of an independent Scotland playing a constructive role at the heart of Europe – in contrast to Westminster threatening isolation through an in/out referendum."

“And with the full powers that a Yes vote in September will bring, we can build a fairer, more prosperous Scotland that is no longer held back by a Westminster system that isn't working."

SNP Conference: Key messages

The slogan for the SNP's 2014 Spring National Conference in Aberdeen is FORWARD - which encompasses both forward with the SNP and forward with independence. The key message will be that Scotland can, should and must be an independent country.

The conference agenda contains resolutions which promote these key messages, including motions on the gains of independence for families and young people, Scotland’s contribution to the international community and the consequences of a No vote for Scotland’s economy. And they will be amplified in the key addresses from Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. There will also be a session with our team of European election candidates.

This important conference will be the last before the European Election on 22 May and the independence referendum on 18 September. Conference also comes in the same week as the 80th anniversary of the SNP’s formation. This will be marked by a motion in the name of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

Opinion polls have shown that over the last five months the momentum in the referendum campaign has been with Yes – with the gap between Yes and No closing by two-thirds since November.

Scotland can be independent

Even David Cameron agrees, saying: “Supporters of independence will always cite examples of small, independent and thriving economies across Europe, such as Finland, Switzerland and Norway. It would be wrong to suggest that Scotland could not be another such successful, independent country” Daily Telegraph, 11th April 2007

As an independent country Scotland would be the 14th richest country among the world’s most developed nations. The UK would be 18th. Even without oil and gas resources, our economic output per head is about the same as the UK's - with oil and gas, it is significantly higher.

Scotland should be independent

Independence is about ensuring decisions are taken here in Scotland, not at Westminster by governments we don't vote for. The Scottish Parliament has shown that decisions making in Scotland works – we have been able to protect the NHS, keep education free, and put more police on the streets.

With a YES we’ll be better off because:
  • With responsibility for the economy and taxation, we can design an economic policy that puts Scotland first and makes the most of our many strengths to create jobs and opportunities.
  • We can make big savings of £600 million a year because we’ll no longer pay for things like politicians at Westminster or nuclear weapons.
  • We can save some of our vast offshore wealth in an oil fund – like the Norwegian fund, which is now worth around £500 billion.
  • With control of welfare we can run a fair social security system and abolish measures which hit the poor and disabled like the Bedroom Tax.
And for people in Scotland there are specific big gains too:
  • For older people, we will keep the triple lock pension protection, ensuring the value of people’s pensions is protected year on year
  • For hard-pressed households, we’ll be able to cut energy bills by £70 on average, deliver cost of living increases in tax credits and ensure fair wages
  • For young families, we can deliver a transformational increase in childcare with a near doubling of free nursery education for 3 & 4 year olds and, over time, extended this to every 1 & 2 year old too.
Scotland must be independent

The referendum is a choice between two futures. After the White Paper we have a clear picture of what a Yes vote will mean for Scotland, and we are increasingly seeing the consequences of voting No too. With a No vote we’re guaranteed more governments we reject and more damaging policies like the Bedroom Tax, cuts to Scotland’s budget, and the danger of a UK in/out referendum on Europe.

Biggest ever spring conference
  • 1,200 attendees
  • 42 exhibitors
  • 22 fringe events
  • £1m in economic benefit to the Aberdeen economy
  • 170 domestic and foreign media
  • Three times the number of Observers compared to last spring
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