Mike Vickers' Blog

January 16, 2014

Nicola Sturgeon at DHI – 15th January 2014

Filed under: DHI SPIF, Politics, Scotland, Scottish Independence — derryvickers @ 7:07 am

‘A choice between two futures – why it is better for all of us if decisions about Scotland are taken in Scotland

This was the first of five presentations by the five major political parties in Scotland about how Scots should vote in the September Referendum.

Nicola Sturgeon’s presentation was well prepared and polished, a fluent speaker.  She was on the ball when answering questions from the audience.

There was little that Sturgeon said that was new and I suspect cannot be found in Scotland’s Future.  There were a number of points of emphasis that are worth bringing out:

  1. She quoted David Hume ‘Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them’, but said nevertheless we need to bring Reason to bear when considering Independence.
  2. She emphasized that the decision on Independence is not just for us, it’s for our children and their children and so on.
  3. Devolution has worked, so why not have more of it with Scotland being solely in control of its own destinies – welfare and finance and debt.
  4. Why have to react to whatever Westminster chooses to throw at us rather than act on our own behalf.  In this respect she hammered home the fact that Scotland has just one Tory MP in Westminster yet we government by a Tory Prime Minister
  5. It’s not as though the No side don’t accept that Scotland could go it alone.
  6. Scots need to take Responsibility for the Risks rather than suffer Westminster’s Risks
  7. A Currency Union with the rUK is ‘common sense’ – almost a touch of Thomas Reid here. To Jeremy Peats’ question, what’s plan B if rUK rejects the currency union.  Sturgeon’s soft reply was there is no need of a Plan B – not quite an Osborne but almost.
  8. Child care of course and getting women back to work and the reason they must wait till after Independence.
  9. She accepted that the Scottish Government after Independence might not be SNP based but if it is, then removing Poverty would be a main thrust.  A minimum wage at least keeping up with inflation.  Scotland under Westminster is heading for 100,000 Scottish children in poverty.
  10. She was very careful in avoiding lambasting the NO side – no repeat of the 50 unanswered questions by the No side – just the occasional warning, such as what would happen to Barnett after a No vote
  11. Sturgeon coined the phrase Scotland a ‘Welfare State fit for purpose’ – I liked that –  though it needs a bit of expansion as did her comment that it could be ‘self-funding’
  12. Interestingly she saw no need for change in Holyrood’s single chamber but may be some adjustment on Committee procedure post review of law as well as the current pre-
  13. To a question why not devolve more responsibility to the cities (and for that matter the councils and beyond) – well may be.  Interestingly in talking afterwards the guy expressed the view that had there been more devolution to the cities then there would have been no call for Independence – worth a thought.
  14. To a question that only 14% felt they knew enough to make an informed decision as to Yes or No she responded that the information is there at least on her side in Scotland’s Future
  15. She defended Scotland’s Future as aspirational – and why not.
  16. Sturgeon made great play on Scotland being in the EU and its advantages for an open nation. £850 million alone from CAP.  She was astute enough not to bring up the UK leaving the EU.

In summary Nicola Sturgeon’s main thrust was as her presentation title, it is a self-evident truth that Scots are best placed to govern themselves.  I just wish there is more evidence that the buck doesn’t stop in Holyrood.

Nicola Sturgeon ‘s presentation in Jeremy Peat’s words quoting David Hume was of  ‘well-tempered eloquence’ – She received a good reception but not the standing ovation received by Mary McAleese  at the recent RSE MacCormick lecture  – but then Nicola  Sturgeon has a few more political mountains to climb before she reaches Mary McAleese’s  stature.

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