In her speech at the SNP’s annual conference which has taken place in Aberdeen, the Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said “the problem is not just which party is in power in Westminster – the problem is Westminster”.
She said that despite her disapproval of the Conservatives, Labour are no better for Scotland as they have chosen to support a hard Brexit too.
The speech included a broad mix of immediate policy pledges that government will adopt immediately, plans for independence, and jibes at the failure of other parties.
Of course, Scottish Independence was a key feature in Sturgeon’s speech. From tomorrow, the Supreme Court will consider whether the current law allows the Scottish Parliament to legislate for an independence referendum.
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“If the Court decides in the way we hope it does, on the 19th October next year, there will be an independence referendum,” she says, adding that if the court decide against it, she will respect the decision as she respects the law.
But, she says the choice then becomes about putting the case for independence to the people in an election or give up on Scottish democracy.
“I don’t know about you, well, I think I probably do know about you actually….I will never – ever – give up on Scottish democracy,” she says, to a raucous applause from her audience.
There were countless standing ovations for her promises that “the overwhelming power of democracy” would triumph. The speech made it very clear that Sturgeon certainly has her party behind her.
The first minister went on to chastise Westminster, saying that “i
She criticised the prime minister and her predecessor, and what she called a “Tory Misery-Go-Round”, saying that although it was bad enough that the party took three years to realise Boris Johnson was inadequate, “it only took three weeks” for them to realise the same about Liz Truss.
Comparing her new policies with the Conservative “trickle-down economics”, Sturgeon announced that her government will increase the Scottish Child Payment again, this time to £25.
This will be introduced in five weeks and will be extended to families with children up to the age of 16.She also says the quarterly “bridging payments” of £130 will be doubled to £260.
“I hope this investment of almost £20m will bring a bit of Christmas cheer to those who need it most.”
There was a message to staunch unionists too, with the first minister promising that “whatever happens in future, Scotland belongs to you as much as it does to us”.