MPs, MSPs, cabinet ministers, women for indy, Scottish Greens’ co-leader, activists ... a movement speaks...

Mhairi BlackSNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South

The National:

“We are regularly told we are not respecting democracy. We are regularly told we are not respecting the result of any referendums that have happened – whether it be 2014 or 2016. They are wrong. The key difference between us and those who criticise us is we do not fear referendums, we do not fear democracy – this here right now is democracy.

“If anything it seems to me it is actually the winners of these referendums who are terrified of democracy and terrified of being held to account for the promises that they have failed to deliver time and time again.

“No matter what is devolved to us, ultimately nothing affects the power of Westminster to make laws for Scotland. We cannot afford to be naïve – the only way to protect our Parliament is to become an independent country. Vote Labour to keep out the Tories we are told. Scotland has woken up to that myth and we will not be made to feel guilty about it.

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“What I want to know is if Scotland genuinely was an economic strain on Westminster, if we genuinely were subsidised – why do they want to keep us? The Tories wouldn’t subsidise a spare bedroom, what makes you think they would subsidise a whole country?

“The UK is in the Guinness World Book of Records as the country from which most countries have gained independence. Since 1939, 62 countries have gained independence from Westminster and not a single one has ever looked back.

“Only one country has ever decided to stay and look where it has got us. Scotland – let’s be 63.”

Maggie Chapman, Scottish Independence Convention

The National:

“Freedom is not a gift given to us by anyone else. It is something we have to fight for, something we have to campaign for, something we have to win for ourselves. If we want a better Scotland, a Scotland that can play its full part in the world, a Scotland that looks after all of its citizens, a Scotland for everyone – then we need to win that Scotland for ourselves.

“We know we can only win our independence by working together – working across all sorts of divisions in our society – political divisions, class divisions, community divisions.

“The prize for coming together as one independence movement will be a Scotland for everyone. We want independence not just for the sake of independence, but because what we can do with that independence.

“We want to have the power to take the decisions that affect our lives, we want to have the power to create an economy that works for everyone.

We can create a different kind of Scotland – a Scotland that is outward looking and open to the world. A Scotland that truly is for everyone.

“It is time for our independence movement to come together and make that case for a better country.

“No-one could have predicted what has happened since 2014. It is clear that far from being strong and stable, the British state is a rolling omnishambles heading rapidly down a hill. We do not feel better together and the UK is most certainly not okay.

“We do not want to be there when the British state tumbles off the edge of a cliff.”

Valentina Servera Clavell, Young Scots for Independence

The National:

“I was only 16 when I met Young Scots for Independence back in Catalonia. From that moment I fell in love – with Scotland, with your movement and with you the Scottish people. I started dreaming about living in this country – but I come from a working-class background back home and that dream seemed impossible. I found out in Scotland education is not a privilege – it is a basic need.

“I can still remember the tears in my eyes realising my dream was closer and closer. As soon as I was 18 I grabbed the little savings I had and decided to pursue my dreams.

“The road hasn’t been easy. I lost my dad halfway through my dream. In those times you wonder if that sacrifice was worth it or not. But then I remember how proud my dad was of me and how much I love this country.

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“Scotland is my home, this is my place. I am proud to be one of the many immigrants that study and work to create a better Scotland. It is really hard to understand how everything I have worked so hard for can vanish in an instant. Life took away my dad in a second, but Brexit can take my future. I can’t have that happening, I won’t let that happen.

“Scotland doesn’t want Brexit.”

Patrick Harvie MSP, Scottish Greens co-leader

The National:

“Scotland’s journey to independence has been long, but we continue it today with confidence. Every step of that long journey has required us to be a broad and inclusive movement. It is in our diversity as a country that we are strong and it is in our diversity as a political movement we are strong as well. That is how we will win.

“The brutal reality of Thatcherism that had been inflicted on this country left Scotland with a clear conviction that we needed democracy, we needed political institutions that could protect us from that in the future. If it hadn’t been for that savagery there might have been some people who didn’t feel the need for a Scottish Parliament.

“Devolution has achieved a lot. But it wasn’t enough to protect us from austerity economics, from the assault on the welfare system, Universal Credit and the bedroom tax. Devolution wasn’t enough to protect us from the obscenity of nuclear weapons on the Clyde or from the racism of the hostile environment against immigrants. Devolution wasn’t enough to protect us from Brexit itself. The limitations of devolution are well-known. Power devolved is power retained.

“So many people who voted No in 2014 are already concluding devolution is not enough and independence is the necessary, urgent next step. “

Paul Kavanagh, aka the Wee Ginger Dug, National columnist

The National:

“We are here today to say we want Scottish independence. A lot of people have different ideas about the best way to get there, about different strategies at arriving at an independence referendum. But all those routes, all those different strategies must first cross the bridge of the General Election yet to come.

“Next month there is going to be a General Election and it is vital Scotland sends back as many pro-independence MPs as possible in that election.

“The message from Westminster will be – if we don’t do that – that Scotland doesn’t want independence.

“If we don’t get out there and vote, if we don’t put our differences behind us and make sure we all campaign for the SNP to get as many MPs as possible, the message won’t be that we are disagreeing about strategy for getting an independence referendum. It won’t be that Scotland wants to send a message on climate change. It will be that Scotland doesn’t want an independence referendum.

“If we get the people that have come over to our cause because of Brexit and we can get back on board all those people who voted Yes in 2014, we’ve already got a nailed-on majority for Scottish independence.

“That is why the independence parties in this country are so terrified. They know Scotland will have its say. When Scotland does have its say, it is going to say Scotland wants to rejoin the international family of independent nations.”

Suzanne McLaughlin, Women for Independence

The National:

“Women for Indy want a better, more diverse, more inclusive society and government and for that we need to see more women entering public life and politics. We need to do better than down the road – currently we have 32% female MPs and if you have read a newspaper you will know they are leaving in their droves. We believe we in Scotland can do better.

“Having said that, women make up 52% of the population and only 29% of Scottish councillors are women. Only 35% are MSPs. We can do better than that.

“Women are not going to be quiet any more and we are not going to be silenced.

“Like Scotland itself, women face the sharp end of UK politics – the bedroom tax, the rape clause, the Universal Credit fiasco, drug deaths, attack on carers and an increasingly impoverished population.

“I see the fight for women’s equality in public life and politics to be a bit the same as the fight for independence itself. It is the fight for the right to be heard, to have your views listened to, to see your views make a difference, your votes make a difference and your own principles improve the lives of those most in need. To know you are taking an active part in shaping the kind of country we all want to live in.’’

Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary

The National:

‘‘Scotland has to look out for its own interests and those interests are not the interests of Brexit. Brexit is all the things that we are not – Brexit is about looking backwards, not forwards. Brexit is about looking inwards and not outwards. Brexit is about the past not the future.

“We have got to define ourselves by what we are – we are people who want to be in the world, we want to contribute to the world and we want to look forward not backwards.

“What can we do today? We can say to ourselves we have to choose. There is only one thing this election is about on December 12 – that is about choosing our own future, having the right to choose our own future. Taking our own future into our own hands. That is what we have to do and that is what we are going to do.

“There is no such thing as a good Brexit, there is no such thing as get Brexit done. There is only one way to get rid of Brexit, by not doing Brexit. By making sure Scotland takes the lifeboat that is available to us – that lifeboat which is ready to launch, is fully provisioned, it is seaworthy. It is a lifeboat of independence that takes us back into the real world. We have the chance to move forward and we need to take that chance now.”

Humza Yousaf, Justice Minister

The National:

“This is an inclusive movement – whoever you are, wherever you are from, this is your country. Whether you are from Poland or Pakistan, whether you are from Germany or Ghana, whether you are 10 generations Scottish or you are a Syrian refugee. This is your independence we are fighting for. An independent Scotland will be a rainbow nation.

“We are standing here in George Square. It is so symbolic to have this rally here, because you stand on the shoulders of some giants. This square in many times in Glasgow’s history has shown the very best of Scotland when we have seen the very worst of the United Kingdom.

“In 1993, the great and late Nelson Mandela was here in George Square thanking the tens of thousands of Glaswegians who gave him the freedom of the city in 1981 – when the UK Thatcher Government called him a terrorist.

“A few years ago when David Cameron shunned and turned his back on Syrian refugees, thousands of us gathered in this square and we said loudly and we said clearly you are welcome here.

“You stand in George Square writing and about to write the most important chapter in our nation’s history and you do it on the shoulders of some giants.

“You stand here in defiance of a United Kingdom arrogant Tory government that tells you Scotland cannot have its voice. We will not just have our voice, we will choose our own path and that path will be to reclaim our own independence once again.”