THE ONLY way Scotland can ensure decisions are taken in the best interests of its people is with independence, the Scottish government has said.
It comes as it today published a new document in its Building a New Scotland series, called 'Renewing Democracy through Independence.'
The document has several sections, including some called 'Scotland's place in the UK', 'The UK Parliamentary system' and 'Scotland's right to decide.'
The aim of the Building a New Scotland series is "to give the people of Scotland the information required to make an informed choice on our future," the Executive Summary states.
The paper sets out the Scottish Government's view, and the evidence supporting it, "that independence is the only realistic way to renew Scotland's democratic institutions, respect the voice of the people of Scotland, and secure Scotland's democratic future," it continues
"The paper rests on the fundamental belief that decisions about Scotland are best made by the people who live in Scotland through our own, independent parliament.
"It presents evidence to show that the tradition and practice of parliamentary sovereignty as exercised by the UK Government and the Westminster Parliament is eroding and constraining Scotland's democracy, and undermining a devolution settlement that is already too limited to enable Scotland to fully address the challenges of the future."
Speaking at the launch of the document at her official residence in Bute House, Edinburgh, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the document "exposes the significant and increasing democratic deficit that Scotland suffers as part of the Union."
“It shows that, far from being abstract, this inbuilt deficit has real life consequences for individuals, families and businesses across Scotland - from the impact of austerity to the implications of a Brexit we did not vote for."
What if we could choose our future?
The next in our #ANewScotland series sets out how independence:
🔵 would renew Scotland’s democracy
🔵 gives people in Scotland the power to decide how they are governed
Find out more at https://t.co/GSg61Iyi2q pic.twitter.com/Rmo9hT6il4
— Scottish Government (@scotgov) July 14, 2022
The argument for independence, she said, "could not be more timely or urgent."
“The fact is independence is not just the best route to renewing and securing democracy in Scotland - which is, in turn, so essential to building the economic and social future we want. Independence is the only credible route.
“That is why offering Scotland the choice of independence - a policy mandated by the Scottish people - is so essential.”
Sturgeon also discussed the ongoing Conservative party leadership election.
“We may be just a few days into this Tory leadership contest but it is already crystal clear the issues Scotland is focused on: tackling child poverty; supporting NHS recovery; building a fairer economy and making a just transition to net zero; will be hindered, not helped, by whoever becomes prime minister in the weeks ahead.”
She noted how the party has not won an election in Scotland since 1955, and that voters north of the border had repeatedly returned a majority of elected representatives who support independence.
One of Johnson’s last acts before resigning was to formally refuse the First Minister’s request for Holyrood to be granted the power to have a second independence referendum – a ballot Sturgeon wants to be held on October 19 2023.
The UK Supreme Court is now considering if the Scottish Parliament can stage its own consultative ballot.
If a referendum is denied by Westminster, Sturgeon said the plans for the next election would be a "de-facto" ballot on the issue.
“While we hope and plan for a referendum, this should also be clear: if a referendum is blocked by Westminster, we will put the choice to the people of Scotland in the general election.
“Either way Scotland will have a choice.”