South of Scotland MSP Aileen McLeod today [Monday] welcomed a speech by First Minister Alex Salmond in which he set out what independence will mean for Scotland. Dr McLeod also said that Dumfries & Galloway’s unique position as a link between Scotland, England and Ireland will continue after independence.
The First Minister said there are six unions which impact on Scotland, and after independence we will still remain fully part of five of them – the European Union, a defence union through NATO, a currency union, the Union of the crowns and the social union which binds those in Scotland, England, Wales, Northern and the Republic of Ireland – which we can improve on with independence.
Commenting, Dr McLeod said:
“The First Minister’s address on Friday set out what independence will mean for ordinary Scots. The reality is that the majority of things will remain the same; you will not need a passport to visit friends and family in England or Wales; you will still be able to watch the BBC; and we’ll continue to use the pound.
“That will perhaps be particularly clear in Dumfries & Galloway, which has always had close links with England and Ireland. Those will not change with independence.
“What will change is our ability to do things such as stopping the bedroom tax, creating a childcare system amongst the best in the world and encouraging investment and creating more jobs by using tax powers more effectively. The powers we will gain for Scotland will help create a fairer and more prosperous society.
“Out of dozens of countries that have become independent in the last 100 years, not one has shown any desire to return to their previous union. With independence, the decisions that affect Scotland will be taken by people who live in Scotland – not forced on us by Tories at Westminster, a government that Sotland did not vote for.
“The independence referendum is still over a year away and there is plenty of time for people to make up their minds about what they think is best for Scotland. This is the first in a series of speeches the First Minister will make over the summer setting out what independence truly means. You can find out more info on the Scottish Government’s website Scotland.gov.uk; snp.org; and yescotland.net.”
Alex Salmond said:
“We must address and fundamentally change the political and economic union as a matter of urgency. This political union is only one of six unions that govern our lives today in Scotland – and the case for independence is fundamentally a democratic one.
“A vote for independence next year will address the democratic deficit which sees policies like the punitive Bedroom Tax, the renewal of Trident or Royal Mail privatisation imposed on Scotland against the wishes of Scotland’s democratically elected representatives.
“But that will still leave five other unions intact. We will embrace those other unions while using the powers of independence to renew and improve them.
“People in England will still cheer Andy Murray, and people in Scotland will still support the Lions at rugby. People will still change jobs and move from Dundee to Dublin, or from Manchester to Glasgow. With independence, we will continue to share ties of language, culture, trade, family and friendship. The idea that these ties are dependent on a Parliament in London are and have always been totally nonsensical.”