Highlands & Islands MSP Emma Roddick has spoken out in support of Scottish independence, stating that people across the Highlands have been hit hard by reckless UK Government decisions, and must now be given the choice.
Speaking in the Scottish Government’s debate on People’s Right to Choose – Respecting Scotland’s Democratic Mandate, Ms Roddick highlighted stark changes in the political climate since 2014 and stated that Brexit had stripped the Highlands of vital funding and caused detrimental staff shortages across key sectors.
“I appreciate that, in the past, folk across the Highlands may not have heard the local case for independence strongly enough or placed at the front and centre of arguments. The UK Government is making that case for us now.
“In the Highlands & Islands, Whitehall has utterly failed to even begin to replace the EU funding for rural affairs and economic development that we previously enjoyed, leaving us worse off to the tune of almost £20 million thanks to a Brexit that we did not ask for and did not vote for.
“As an SNP MSP representing the Highlands, I will always do my best both to make that case and strengthen it by securing commitments from the Scottish Government to prove that we can do better for those in the Highlands.
“Too often, my constituents in the Highlands feel distant from the Scottish Parliament as well as Westminster, thinking that politics is something that happens far away. What may convince those in Glasgow of the benefits of independence can be irrelevant to us up here.
“Independence is by no means an end in itself. I want democracy here to be improved so that there is greater community empowerment, real local government, and clearer representation so that people know and understand who is making the decisions that affect them. Local decisions should be driven by the local community.
“We have too long been stuck in a system that, by its very design, prevents us from having our say.
“To me, it is very clear that we don’t just have a mandate to deliver an independence referendum, we have a moral duty to do so for the sake of democracy and for the sake of our people.”