Ian Blackford has told Scottish voters their homes, pensions and incomes “are not safe under Westminster” days before the Supreme Court decides if an independence referendum can go ahead.
The SNP’s leader at Westminster slammed “the disastrous duo” of prime minister Liz Truss and chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng for making “the worst first impression in the history of British politics” in a speech on the opening day of the SNP’s conference in Aberdeen.
Blackford told delegates the “equality and incompetence of [Kwarteng’s mini] budget will go down as one of the worst financial interventions in modern history.”
In a blistering attack on the Truss government, Blackford continued: “What was once ‘fairytale economics’ – used to bribe votes from Tory members in the summer – has become everyone else’s nightmare this autumn and winter.”
“This is now broke, broken Britain. Your homes, your pensions, your incomes are not safe under Westminster control.
“It is a cost, a risk, a price that Scotland can’t afford to pay any longer.”
Blackford blasts ‘Starmer’s Brexit-backing, democracy-denying, Tory-enabling Labour party’
Blackford challenged the “new Conservative rebels who are magically multiplying by the day” to show a “sense of morality” and “join with us in stopping any real-terms cuts to benefits and any return to austerity.”
He told SNP members that Scotland should not be “shackled to the Westminster shambles” and also laid into Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour for being a “Brexit-backing, democracy-denying, Tory-enabling party”.
“I can only think of one sentence more ridiculous than the Tories’ ‘Get Brexit Done’. And that’s Labour’s new slogan – Make Brexit Work,” said Blackford.
Sturgeon to publish economic case for independence
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister and leader of the SNP said the party will publish its economic case for independence this week with no “fixed timescale” to replace sterling with the Scottish pound.
That scenario, the Telegraph reports, would mean the “Bank of England would continue to determine monetary policy and interest rates” for an independent Scotland “indefinitely”.
Sturgeon, who will give her conference speech on Monday, argues the pound is “Scotland’s currency as much as it is the currency of the rest of the UK”.
She told BBC Radio Scotland that the turmoil in financial markets caused by Kwarteng’s unfunded-tax-cutting budget demonstrates the importance to Scotland “of being careful, being responsible and understanding the detail of what we’re seeking to do.”
The SNP plans for an independent Scotland include immediately establishing a central bank though Sturgeon conceded the BoE “would continue to be in charge of monetary policy” through a period of transition.
The Supreme Court will hear the case for another independence vote on Tuesday and Wednesday to decide if the Scottish government has the power to hold a legal referendum. Scotland’s most senior law officer, the Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain told the Supreme Court in July that a referendum can be held because the outcome would be “advisory” thereby not putting the UK government under legal obligation to act.
Sturgeon announced plans in June to hold the independence referendum on October 19, 2023.