Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister and Scottish National Party (SNP) leader, told the SNP conference that it is”our job to deliver independence” in her keynote speech on Tuesday.
The annual SNP conference took place last week 13-15 October at the Event Complex in Aberdeen.
The conference had 72 fringe events and keynote speeches including that of Nicola Sturgeon and Derek Mackay, Scotland’s finance minister.
MacKay’s speech was optimistic about the economic future of Scotland, especially as an independent state:
“The message is ringing through loud and clear – Scotland cannot afford the Union. Our economy, our public services, and our people cannot afford to be subject to the whim of Westminster turmoil for years and years.”
Scotland cannot afford the Union, but it can more than afford to be independent.”
This current ‘turmoil’ at Westminster dictated much of the conference. Sturgeon’s speech focused heavily on Scotland’s decision to stay in the European Union in the 2016 referendum.
In her speech, she claimed: “What makes Brexit so much worse for Scotland is that it is happening against our will.
“Whilst England and Wales voted to leave the European Union in the Referendum, the majority of Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain. The highest remain vote was in Scotland, at 62 per cent voting to remain.
Sturgeon is expected to formally ask consent from the prime minister for a second independence referendum, before the end of the year. There are, however, reports that the UK government is unlikely to grant this consent.
Such fast-paced politics is likely to have a widespread effect on the university community and Edinburgh itself.
Other policies were discussed at the conference including housing. However, Brexit and independence seemed to take centre stage.
Compared to Sturgeon’s 2015 speech, which pledged 50,000 affordable homes by 2021, this year, only two fringe events were on the topic of housing and Sturgeon’s speech contained no mention of the policy.
Also on the agenda were a number of social policies, including the Dungavel detention centre, the Urban Green Deal, and the abolition of graduation fees, universal credit, and Scottish Child Payment benefit.
A spokesperson for the University of Edinburgh’s SNP Society told The Student,
“We were very happy about the outcome of the conference, and glad to see that support for a second independence referendum is very strong.
“As students, we’re also excited by many of the motions passed, such as the motion to scrap graduation fees in Scottish universities.”
This was welcomed as it would remove a major financial barrier from higher education and would enable more students from different economic backgrounds to attend University.
“We we real so pleased to see a motion in favour of the decriminalisation of drugs across Scotland, and though Westminster still reserves legislation that prevents the Scottish Government from doing that, it was encouraging to see the party adopt a more liberal policy that we believe will help those struggling with addiction.”
The motion to create a Scots Language Board was also very exciting, especially as it was introduced by youth members of the party.”
Such commentss how the widespread impact the policies presented at the party conference has the potential to have on all areas of Scotland, including our own university.
With Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal dominating the headlines, the SNP conference shone a light on the possible future of Scotland in the UK with a deal or not.
Image: Colin via Wikipedia