Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has launched her campaign for a second independence referendum, arguing that Scotland will be economically better off outside the United Kingdom.
Sturgeon, who leads the Scottish National Party as well as the devolved government in Scotland, said on Tuesday it’s the right time to revisit the case for Scotland to leave the UK.
“After everything that has happened – Brexit, Covid, Boris Johnson – it is time to set out a different and better vision,” she said as she released the first in a series of government papers laying out the arguments for independence.
Scotland rejected independence in a 2014 referendum, with 55 percent of voters saying they wanted to remain part of the United Kingdom.
Sturgeon has said she wants a new vote on independence before the end of 2023.
That would need a green light from the UK-wide government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who opposes a new referendum and has said the issue was settled in the 2014 vote.
But Sturgeon argues that the landscape has changed since then, most importantly because of Britain’s departure from the European Union, a move opposed by a majority of people in Scotland.
She urged Johnson’s government to grant a special order allowing a legally binding independence referendum to be held. She is ready to discuss the terms with Johnson, she added.
‘Building a New Scotland’
Like Wales and Northern Ireland, Scotland has its own parliament and devolved government and makes its own policies on public health, education and other matters.
But the UK-wide government in London controls matters such as defence and fiscal policy.
Sturgeon unveiled the first in the Scottish government’s “Building a New Scotland” papers, which argues that neighbouring, independent European countries of Scotland’s size are wealthier and fairer.
“The evidence is overwhelming that these countries … over time performed better than the UK,” explained Sturgeon.
“All of these countries are wealthier, fairer and more productive than the UK. And all of these countries — all of them — are independent.”
“Grasping that prize will not be without challenge. So in the months ahead, we will set out in detail how we can make the transition to independence … so that this precious prize, the opportunity of a better country, can be won,” she added.