By Martin Kelly
Scotland could be independent by the 24th March 2016 if the nation votes Yes in the 2014 independence referendum, according to Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the Independence White Paper next Tuesday, Nicola Sturgeon has set out a vision of an independent Scotland with jobs, growth and fairness at its heart.
Previewing the launch of the paper, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“This guide to an independent Scotland will be the most comprehensive and detailed blueprint of its kind ever published, not just for Scotland but for any prospective independent country.
“It is a landmark document which sets out the economic, social and democratic case for independence.”
The Deputy First Minister said the document would demonstrate Scotland’s financial strengths and would detail the process and what the Scottish Government see as the agreements and negotiations that will take place in the lead up to independence day in March 24th, followed by Scotland’s first ever general elections to an independent Scottish Parliament in May of that year.
The date of March 24th resonates symbolically and happens to be the anniversary of both the Union of the Crowns in 1603 and of the signing of the Acts of Union in 1707.
The Independence White Paper will be the most detailed and comprehensive blueprint for an independent country ever published, and runs to 670 pages and more than 170,000 words. It sets out, in five parts and over the course of 10 chapters, the independence prospectus on which people will vote in the referendum on September 18th next year.
Designed specifically to make it accessible to the public, it has been produced in tablet size, to make it as easy to read in hard copy as on a kindle, iPad or tablet. It will also be available to download as an e-book. A summary document will also be available in print and online.
More details of how the white paper will be made available to the general public will be outlined on Tuesday of next week.
“The guide describes what a newly independent Scotland will look like. It illustrates how the powers of independence can be used to benefit individuals, families, communities and the nation as a whole – and it answers a range of detailed questions that we have been asked.” Ms Sturgeon said.
The Deputy First Minister added:
“The white paper has economic growth, jobs and fairness at its heart. The route to a successful Scotland is greater economic growth that benefits all and which supports greater participation – particularly amongst women – in the workplace and the economy as a whole.
“Ensuring that work pays, for example through a decent minimum wage, is central to our economic and social approach. We won’t succeed and reach our full potential as long as we are locked into an unbalanced Westminster-controlled economy that disproportionately benefits one region and one section of society.
“The white paper will set out the strong economic position that an independent Scottish Government will inherit, but it will also be very clear that the key to long-term prosperity is sustainable economic growth.
“It is a document designed, above all, for the public.
“Our message to the people of Scotland is simple: read it, compare it with any alternative future for Scotland and make up your own mind.”
The proposed Independence Day of 24th March 2016 follows the dissolution of the current Scottish Parliament which is set to be scheduled to take place at midnight on Wednesday 23rd March 2016
The launch of the paper, at the Glasgow Science Centre, will be live-streamed online on the Scottish Government website – http://scotreferendum.com