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Independence will benefit UK says Sturgeon

NICOLA Sturgeon will make a speech in London today highlighting her own English ancestry and claiming that Scottish independence will be good for those south of the Border who argue for progressive change.

SPEECH: Nicola Sturgeon
SPEECH: Nicola Sturgeon

She will use the fact that one of her grandmothers was English to ridicule the notion that family ties would be severed by a Yes vote, and insist only Scotland stands against a determination by Westminster to undermine the foundations of the welfare state.

"Independence for Scotland will be good for our relationship with the other nations of the UK," she will say.

"Indeed, I will go further and venture to argue that an independent Scotland would be good for - and should be embraced by - all those across the UK who want to see progressive change."

Echoing a previous speech by Alex Salmond, she will say: "An independent Scotland could be a progressive beacon for those in the rest of the UK who, like us, crave a different direction to the one set by the Westminster establishment.

"The very institutions that the No campaign is seeking to use to build support for continued Westminster government - the NHS and the welfare state - are being undermined by Westminster.

"An independent Scotland can show that the post-war settlement needn't be a thing of the past, that social justice and enterprise are two sides of the same coin, and that more equal societies really do result in more prosperous economies."

She will argue that by showing things can be done "differently", an independent Scotland can offer a positive example to those elsewhere in the UK who are "also being let down by the status quo".

Her speech comes a week after Prime Minister David Cameron called for people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to send a message to Scotland: "We want you to stay."

He evoked his Scottish heritage and argued in an emotion-laden plea that independence would tear up an "intricate tapestry" of human connections across the UK.

But Tory leader Ruth Davidson, in a speech at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, will say that Alex Salmond's "pick'n'mix" proposals for Scottish independence will not work.

"If you want to keep the pound, then you need to keep the Union," she will say."That's the reality. That's what's worked."

Ms Davidson will also claim: "The truth, as we are beginning to learn, is that pick'n'mix independence won't work. You can't just choose the bits you like out of the UK and leave the parts you don't."

She will argue the UK's social, economic and political unions are all linked, claiming: "Our social ties have been founded on economic and political union. Our economic ties need political, democratic legitimacy to work. If you don't support that principle, it leads you into some truly bizarre positions.

"The SNP now argues, for example, that Scotland should have no representation in Westminster. This, despite the fact it wants to keep the pound, the Bank of England and the UK safety net. These are the contortions of the SNP."

The Tory leader will also insist Scottish Unionists have "never seen any contradiction" in having a "fierce loyalty both to the UK and Scotland", adding: "Those of us who believe in Scotland's place in the United Kingdom are every bit as patriotic as those who favour independence. It may be quieter, but it runs just as deep."

Responding to claims by Business Secretary Vince Cable that under independence RBS would move to London, its chief executive Ross McEwan said: "Mr Cable and I have not talked about moving our head office."

He added: "It's really important that the Scottish people get the opportunity to vote, and then if I need to adapt my business to serve England, Scotland, Wales and both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, then I will."

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Local government

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