SNP Leader and Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond this afternoon opened SNP Conference in Perth with a call to delegates to “win the argument” on independence.
Reflecting on a momentous week in Scottish politics, in which he signed the historic Edinburgh Agreement with David Cameron, Mr Salmond said that the economic facts showed that families would be better off in an independent Scotland, and that it was in the best interests of the Scottish people to use Scotland’s resources to defend their services and advance the nation’s social welfare.
Mr Salmond said:
“This week is a pivotal one in the history of our party and Scotland. The game has changed dramatically, and delegates, we are standing on the shoulders of the giants of our movement who are no longer with us, but are responsible for bringing us within reach of achieving an independent Scotland.
“We now have an agreement on the process, and respect for the outcome. We’re now closer to our goal of Scottish independence – not just in the 80 years of SNP history, but at any time in the last 300 years. That’s what awaits the people of Scotland in two years’ time.
“Sometimes in politics it’s wise to look at the arguments and the statistics that your opponents most fear.
“At the last count, Scotland received 9.6% of the UK’s taxation, and received 9.3% of the UK’s spending. That gap is £2.7bn, or to put it another way £1,000 for every family in Scotland. That’s £1,000 that we could spend on vital services. That £1,000 that means we could borrow less, we could save for the future, or we could defend the vital services which are part of the social fabric of Scotland.
“In economic terms, if we stay within the Westminster straightjacket we can be ingenious, we can be clever, we can develop new schemes – but we are still within that straightjacket.
“That fact tells us that an independent Scotland will have the resources to invest in the economy and defend the services of the people.
“The only way to defend the social fabric of Scotland – to consolidate the gains from devolution, to make sure we can advance the social welfare of Scotland – is through Scottish independence.
“The Unionist parties fear these statistics.
“Our job now is to persuade the people of Scotland that our future lies as an equal, independent member of the family of nations.
“And if we win the argument, we will win the referendum.”