Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP):
It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine (Sir Robert Smith), and may I congratulate the hon. Member for Glasgow North East (Mr Bain) on ensuring we have this important, but all too short, debate today? May I also say to hon. Members that I will not be taking any interventions? Members of the other parties will get 90% of the time so it is only fair to the people watching this debate that they get the opportunity to hear from the other side.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (David Mundell):
On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Can you confirm that next Tuesday the SNP is in control of Opposition business in this House and that it has not tabled a motion to discuss independence for Scotland?
Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Lindsay Hoyle):
Order. That matter is on the record and certainly does not need my confirmation.
What a chance; what an opportunity: on 18 September this year we can make the choice to become a self-governing nation once again—to walk tall in the world with national self-respect and dignity like all other normal independent nations do, being responsible for ourselves and blaming no one else for our setbacks. The most exciting thing for me is that our independence will release and ignite a tsunami of energy, creativity and imagination as we get down to the business of building and creating our new independent nation—a new nation according to our Scottish priorities, built on our sense of community, always securing the Government we vote for, pursuing the agenda we want.
We will run an independent Scotland better than the Westminster Tories because of one key and very important fact: we care more about Scotland than the Westminster Tories do—of course we do, and that is why we will run it better. Never again will we have a Tory Government without our democratic consent. We want no more picking on our vulnerable; no more obscenities such as the bedroom tax; no more of Labour’s illegal wars and no more Tory or Labour weapons of mass destruction defiling our beautiful country—[Interruption.]
Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Lindsay Hoyle):
Order. Can I have a bit of calm? In fairness, it has been a good-hearted debate so far, and I know that no one wants to spoil the harmony of the House.
We will ease pretty seamlessly into a new independent status. The day after we secure a new nation, it will be pretty much like the day before, but something remarkable will have happened. All of a sudden, the country will be ours to shape and to determine. If things do not work out, we can change them. We can change them because we have the power of independence. For the first time in 300 years, our nation will belong to us, and nothing could be more exciting and transformative.
It is all down to this choice. If we vote no, we are accepting that this is as good as it gets. This is what we have to settle for. It signals a contentment with Westminster rule and Westminster politicians’ ability to deliver for Scotland.
Will my hon. Friend give way?
Of course I will.
My hon. Friend will no doubt remember, as I do, campaigning in the first referendum on devolution in ’79. We were promised, “Vote no and you will get more powers”, and he will remember what happened. We got absolutely nothing.
I do indeed remember that, and I am grateful to my hon. Friend for bringing that up because it happened in my constituency. In Perthshire, we have long memories when it comes to these issues.
If we vote no, we will be saying that we approve of Westminster government and whatever future the rest of the UK decides for us. Well, I do not like where the UK is going.
I am not giving way. I do not like where the UK is going at all. I do not have much time, so I will mention just two examples. The first was last week’s appalling Immigration Bill, which would charge visitors to our country fees for health care and turn those who rent houses in the private-rented sector into immigration officers. It is a nasty, pernicious and rotten Bill that is designed to counter the threat of the UK Independence party. We do not do UKIP in Scotland; we barely do Tory. We have a national treasure on the Front Benches; our one and only Tory Member. None the less, we will get that Bill, because this Government took it through on a Labour abstention. I object to my country being dragged into this monstrous race to the bottom between this Government and UKIP about who can be the hardest on those who might want to come and live in my country. Scotland is better than that, yet the Bill was passed. It was passed on the same day as the House of Lords debated our country. I do not know whether you saw that, Mr Deputy Speaker. That bloated, unelected Chamber stuffed full of party placement cronies and donors had the audacity to tell our nation what it should do. Then it also had the effrontery to defile the memory of our war dead and insult the many brave veterans who have served this country with distinction just because they happened to support independence for our nation. One thing we will get with independence is the ability to wipe away that ermine-wearing unelected Chamber from the face of Scottish public life, and our nation will be much better for that. Scotland is so much better than that.
We know that if we gain control of our own resources and secure all the necessary powers, there is nothing stopping us becoming an economic powerhouse, and that is what we look forward to.
Sir Robert Smith:
The hon. Gentleman is putting an emotional case for independence, but he is not taking on board the wise words of the Governor of the Bank of England who talked about the illusion of independence if an independent Scotland keeps the pound sterling. The voice of Scotland will be taken away from the decisions that will affect its very core monetary policy.
I have had enough of that “You cannae do that stuff”, so I thank the hon. Gentleman. We have a decision to take. It is a choice between negativity and positivity—[Interruption.]
Mr Deputy Speaker:
I want to hear the hon. Gentleman. It is not fair that you are enjoying yourselves. I want to hear the speech.
We have listened to their speeches with as much respect as possible, but we are shouted down. It seems impossible for Members to listen to the other side of the debate. I do not know why this place thinks that that is attractive. It is a choice between negativity and positivity. No European country has done what we are about to do. As an exercise in democracy, this is huge. This is Scotland’s great choice, because it is a choice between two very different and distinct futures. We can decide that this is as good as it gets, or we can decide to do something much better—to take control of ourselves and to put the nation in the hands of the Scottish people. If we get this chance, this once-in-a-generation chance, we will vote for the positive, because positive beats negative. What a prize there will be when we vote yes in overwhelming numbers. When we go to the polls in September, we will vote “yes”. What a prize there will be—a country of our own.
I can’t help but contrast Peter’s plain speaking to the ‘dark arts’ allegedly being deployed by the MoD. Excuse me, what have they got to do with it anyway?
I remember being incensed back when the kerfuffle over the ‘compensation’ payments for Faslane (something the Scottish people were resolutely opposed to, as was well-know to the Tory government of the day) were raised. The MoD issued a statement to the effect that they were “confident the Scottish people would vote to remain part of the United Kingdom”.
Excuse me, you’re the bloody MoD, not the NO campaign! Your response *should* have been “The decision is entirely a matter for the Scottish people, and we will respect whatever choice they make”.
Every time stuff like that happens, it’s a couple more points on the YES vote.
As an Australian with Scottish connections (wife and family in Aberdeenshire) it astounds me that the UK as a whole does not understand the enormity or gravity for them of what is happening here. The Scots on their 4.5 Million own are being allowed to vote on weather to formally break up 400 years strong constitutional arrangements for 65 or so million people. and by a straw pole its at least well on the likelihood ranks.
THE WHOLE UK is on the wrack here, and will be immeasurably poorer for the break up of the whole. This is Irish free state again, and with due respect it has taken many years and two civil wars and great statesmanship to master the divisive nature of nationalism in Ireland. Scotland will be no different – Wales will Follow or the South East may precede them. This is UK on Wholesale and our competitors will be rubbing their hands in glee. . those competitors are UK’s competitors just as much as they would be a weaker Scotland’s in a break up. WHO IN THIER RIGHT MIND WOULD INVEST IN A COUNTRY WHICH IS SPLITING ITSELF UP. The bits of UK will have to fight for the same investment money with every one else but now also each other. . . this is little short of tragic.
this whole movement is born of emotional arguments:
IF the SCOTS DONT LIKE WESTMINSTER THEN MOVE THE BLOODY PARLIAMENT TO EDINBURGH. it matters not one bit where the parliament meets. Necessary but unpopular UK government decisions would have very much less divisive effect if they were physically made in Edinburgh. But the decisions are not made for any one bit UK, like the speech above implies. . . they are for ALL the UK citizens.
This idea that somehow a “Free” Scotland would never have to make a hard decisions between say, hospital beds or old peoples accommodation, is a travesty. But if those decisions where to be made by all UK Parliamentarians IN EDINBURGH then it could hardly be described as anti Scottish. . . it would then be seen as Just a hard decision.
The associated cost of moving the whole Government apparatus to the north pales into insignificance compared to the damage done by a break up of the Union. The author believes that even at this late date this could be put forward as a realistic compromise to allowing 4.5 million to chose the next forseable future for 65 million.
So in summary: We’re Scottish nationalists. You’re a UK nationalist who doesn’t believe in the *existence* of a Scottish people, or the right of that people to self-determination.
I think that about covers it.
We are not making choices for anyone else but ourselves,a chance to decide our destiny rather than a bunch of charlatans in thrall to greedy financial institutions and multi nationals who care about nothing but profits,you don’t mention whether you live in Australia or here ,if its here fine but if its Australia keep your nose out of our affairs,I am sick of every Tom Dick and Harry telling me what a mistake I’m making my country my choice.
Well done Peter Wishart! Although I have no taste for the emotional arguments put forward for Scottish independence, there is nonetheless an opportunity for the country to grasp: the opportunity to take a different, more humane path as to how our lives are lived, whether you have lived here since birth, or have moved to Scotland from elsewhere. If that path will not be taken by the current UK Government, nor one headed by an alternative administration (and from what I read, that seems to be the case), and the people of Scotland know what they are getting into, then why not look at becoming an independent country again? Peter, you have come a long way since we studied at Moray House together in the early 80s!
An excellent speech Pete, It is so sad that the so called honourable members tried to howl you down. One thing is certain you did manage to finish your great heart-warming speech.
I have noted replies are not too keen on the emotional arguments ? At least Peter Wishart has shown a great degree of Emotional Intelligence (EI) which is sadly lacking in British Politics. If anyone else in UK Politics cared enough to understand and empathise with the point of view of fellow Scottish people then perhaps we would not now be in a situation where Scotland knows it can only thrive by becoming an Independent nation.
Instead, we have endured the tories over the years ONLY because our voice, even a majority voice, doesn’t actually count when we vote in a UK general election.
I would put it to all Politicians out there – Develop your Emotional Intelligence skills, Improve your EQ and do some research on EI and Leadership and note that it is a top skill for managers and leaders and perhaps some politicians out there could learn something about Emotional Intellligence, instead of using the term ’emotional argument’ like it is something to be dismissed – We are all human and to understand humans you need to understand what makes them ‘tick’ and disregarding emotions, as a variable, is an oversight to be avoided.
This is real life – not Eton College that encourages ‘the boys club’ to disregard emotions. In today’s society, that could be viewed as Political Suicide. Read up on EI and ignore at your peril.
The Scottish Government and Pro Independence campaign is for a fundamentally BETTER Scotland. We can NEVER be better under Westminster rule because they just do not care about the Scottish PEOPLE, they care enough about the income generation we bring to the Westminster Government – and that is the ONLY reason they want Scotland to stay in the UK.
If it was about the people, then we would not be in the situation we are now and our standard of life would already be better – but for the UK Government, it is all about the MONEY, NOT THE PEOPLE.