Nicola Sturgeon has said independence is the only way for Scotland to prevent “democratic wishes being ignored” as she marked a year to the proposed second vote on leaving the United Kingdom.
The First Minister set out her plans for a “Scottish pound” in the latest in a series of papers exploring how the country would function outside the union earlier this week.
Sturgeon wants to hold a ballot on October 19, 2023 to determine whether Scotland should remain part of the UK, but the legality of that is currently being assessed by the supreme court.
The Scottish Conservative said the SNP are “asking people to gamble their jobs, livelihoods and pensions on a wing and prayer”.
Westminster says the Scottish Government does not have power to legislate for a second referendum, but the FM said the 2024 general election will be held as a “de facto” vote.
The Scottish Conservatives insist the SNP’s push for independence is “the wrong priority at the worst possible time”.
Sturgeon believes she has a mandate from the Scottish people when they elected a majority of pro-independence MSPs to Parliament in last year’s Holyrood elections.
She said the refusal to grant a referendum showed the “so-called case for continued Westminster control is collapsing like a house of cards,” adding no country would choose to be in a “travesty of a partnership” with London-based colleagues.
“If Scotland were independent right now, there is no chance that we would look at today’s UK and believe it was in our interests to be ruled by Westminster,” she said.
“A year today, I want people in Scotland to be able to go the polls and choose that better future. And I am certain that when they are given that choice – they will vote to become independent.
“We would never choose to be in a travesty of a partnership which routinely ignores our democratic wishes, a country with an under-performing economy and growing inequality – in short, a political system which is dragging us down the wrong path.”
In the previous ballot in 2014, Scotland voted to remain in the union by a margin of 55% to 45%.
The First Minister said Scotland would continue to use Sterling for a period in the event of a Yes vote, but would seek to “build a wellbeing economy that works for all”.
The Scottish Government’s law officer – the Lord Advocate – made arguments in the Supreme Court around Holyrood’s competence to legislate for a second referendum last week.
The UK Government’s legal representative, Sir James Eadie KC, said it is “obvious” that the Scottish Parliament did not have those powers, stating it “squarely and directly” relates to a matter reserved to Westminster.
However, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain said his characterisation of the case is “so unfair” and the matter was only referred to the court after “detailed consideration”.
Sturgeon said independence was “no guarantee of success,” but said it was up to Scotland to take “better decisions for the future”.
She added: “The Scottish Government’s renewed prospectus for independence is making the case for an economy that works for everyone – dedicated to helping people live happier, more fulfilling lives.
“And the more questions we answer about Scotland’s future under independence, the more the questions pile up for those advocating continued Westminster control.
“Independence is no guarantee of success, but it is a guarantee that we will get rid of Tory governments we don’t vote for, for good – and no one will ever take better decisions about our future than the people living here.
“And as our analysis has shown, comparable European independent countries have national incomes that are, on average, more than £10,000 per person higher than Scotland under Westminster control.
“Being independent offers us the power to take better decisions – and use our extraordinary resources – that will help us match that success.”
Scottish Conservative culture, Europe and international development spokeswoman Sharon Dowey said: “The SNP have no credible plan for Scotland’s currency, our borders or the deficit.”
“They are asking people to gamble their jobs, livelihoods and pensions on a wing and prayer.
“They even admit that an independent Scotland would be outside both the UK and the EU.”
She added: “Scots are sick and tired of seeing government time and resources squandered on these self-indulgent plans.”