Nicola Sturgeon: No “shortcuts” to independence

Nicola Sturgeon delivers her speech at Pollock Halls. Picture: Scott Taylor

Nicola Sturgeon delivers her speech at Pollock Halls. Picture: Scott Taylor

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There are no shortcuts to independence and it will not happen just because supporters become “more impatient for change”, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

In a speech at Edinburgh’s Pollock Halls, marking the first anniversary of the referendum when Scots voted 55-45 to stay in the UK, she reaffirmed her commitment to use the SNP manifesto to set out the circumstances in which another referendum might be appropriate.

She said: “It is a judgement that will be driven, not by the interests of the SNP, but by the interests of the people of Scotland as a whole.

“It would be wrong to propose another referendum without a fundamental change of circumstances or a strong indication that a significant number of those who voted No last year had changed their minds.

“But it would also be wrong – in the face of a clear and material shift in circumstances or public opinion – for any one politician or party to rule out another referendum.”

Ms Sturgeon said if Scotland were to become independent, a majority of Scots had to be convinced that was best future for Scotland.

“That was true last year, it is true now and it will be true at all times in the future. There are no shortcuts.

“Independence won’t happen just because its supporters become more impatient for change. An even more committed, enthusiastic and impatient 45 per cent is still just 45 per cent.

“If Scotland is to become independent, we must build the support for independence. We must persuade the people we failed to persuade last year.

“That means understanding why they voted No. And it means addressing those concerns, patiently, carefully and comprehensively.”

Labour leader Kezia Dugdale criticised the continued focus on Scotland’s constitutional future. She said: “It makes no sense for the SNP government to be focused on campaigning for another referendum. Instead of trying to rerun the arguments of the past, we need everybody to focus on creating a better future.”

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson claimed Scotland did not want another referendum. She said she feared Ms Sturgeon would leave Scotland in a “constitutional no-man’s land – putting a handbrake on Scotland’s future”.