Referendum countdown: Alex Salmond on why voting Yes is best way forward

Alex Salmond: 'A Yes vote gives us  a chance to create a brighter future'
Alex Salmond: 'A Yes vote gives us a chance to create a brighter future'

In just a matter of days, we’ll hold the future of this nation in our hands. Each and every one of us will have the opportunity of a lifetime – the chance to win our independence.

For me, it’s all about democracy. A Yes vote will finally mean that decisions affecting Scotland will be taken in Scotland by the people who live and work here.

That isn’t the case at present. We continue to get governments we didn’t vote for. The Tories have just one Westminster MP north of the border, yet they are happy to force their right-wing austerity agenda on our country.

Their priorities simply aren’t our priorities. Take two recent reports – one showed over 100,000 more people have fallen into poverty in Scotland in a single year. The other, from a panel of Westminster grandees, recommended spending billions on a new generation of Trident nuclear missiles.

So, as more and more of our families are forced to turn to food banks, the Westminster parties plan to upgrade weapons of mass destruction on the Clyde at a cost of £4 billion a year.

That’s despite a majority of MSPs at Holyrood opposed to Trident, and a majority of Scottish MPs voted against renewal.

To me, that’s an obscenity. With a Yes vote, we can remove Trident, address this searing injustice and instead mobilise our fantastic assets and people to achieve fairness, equality and prosperity.

Independence will give Scotland the opportunity to make the most of all our great industries. From oil and gas to shipbuilding, from life sciences to the renewable energy revolution, we are at the forefront of global innovation.

Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. But at present we simply can’t spend our money as we choose. With independence, that will change.

Independence will also allow us to protect our vital public services, including the NHS, as the privatisation of the health service in England threatens Scotland’s budget.

An independent Scotland will have a seat at the top table in Europe for the first time. That’s hugely important, as it means we’ll be able to fight for a better deal for our farmers and fishermen,

And if we don’t vote Yes? The alternative is risking seeing Scotland dragged out of Europe against our will as Westminster dances to a UKIP tune. That would have disastrous consequences for Scottish jobs and investment, cutting us off from a single market of more than half a billion people.

Thursday will be a defining moment for our nation. The decision we make determines whether we hand sovereignty back to Westminster or move forward in a 21st century partnership of equals.

That choice people have is a very simple one – should Scotland govern itself? Should the Scottish Parliament we voted for overwhelmingly 17 years ago have the full powers other national parliaments take for granted? Are the people of Scotland, who live and work here, best placed to decide our future?

Only a Yes vote gives us a chance to create a brighter future. We should – we must – grasp it with both hands.’