Sturgeon: Independence Won't Break Ties

Scotland would not be leaving the “family of nations” of the British Isles with independence, the Deputy First Minister has insisted.

Nicola Sturgeon said the ties that bind across borders were about people and not politics as she campaigned in Renfrewshire.

The comments follow Prime Minister David Cameron's plea to Scots not to “break this family apart” by voting to leave the UK on Thursday.

With less than 48 hours remaining until the polls open, Ms Sturgeon was joined by Finance Secretary John Swinney on a visit to Steel Engineering in Renfrew, where they met apprentices working on a metal “Yes” plaque.

Ms Sturgeon dismissed Mr Cameron's claims that independence would “rip” Scotland from the rest of the UK.

The Deputy First Minister said: “Those ties are not about politics, those ties are about people.

“I'm the granddaughter of an Englishwoman, I have family in England. We're going to continue to be part of the family of nations that make up the British Isles.

“We will work closely and co-operatively with our friends across these islands but we'll do so on the basis of equality, we'll do so knowing that we're responsible for the decisions that shape our future, that we're responsible for our own money as a country and we can decide the priorities for spending that money.

“That to me is the best of both worlds, being responsible and accountable and working with our neighbours where our mutual interests make that worth doing.”

Ms Sturgeon said she was “enormously optimistic” about the outcome of the vote.

She said: “It's a joy to be part of this campaign. This country is alive, it's engaged, it's enthused, it's informed - everybody is talking about it, everyone is interested in it.

“People who have never voted before in their lives are eager to vote on Thursday. People who wouldn't usually give politicians the time of day queue up in the streets for selfies.

“It's incredible and what's driving all that, I think, is an enormous sense of optimism.”

She dismissed a fresh vow by the three Westminster leaders to enhance Holyrood's powers in the event of a No vote as “empty and meaningless”.

Ms Sturgeon said: “My feeling going around the country is that we've got an enormous sense of growing confidence in Scotland and a feeling that having come this far we should keep control of the future of this country where it is just now, in our hands.

“We shouldn't hand it back to the Westminster establishment and have to cross our fingers in the hope that we get some crumbs from the table.”

She added: “For me, independence above all else perhaps is about creating the best opportunities for the next generation of people.

“If we've got our hands on the levers of economic decision-making, we're going to be better able to encourage companies to locate here, to expand here, grow here, create jobs here.”

Mr Swinney said: “With a Yes vote on Thursday we can grow our economy and grow our revenues.

“By having the power to make decisions about our own future we can choose to invest our wealth and our resources in manufacturing, in renewables, and innovation.

“We can ensure access to high-quality education and training is available to all and where our recovery has been slowed by Tory spending cuts - we can elect governments who will pursue economic policies that are right for Scotland.

“Thursday's referendum is a golden opportunity for Scotland to vote Yes and to build an even stronger economy for future generations.”

The Deputy First Minister was later met by a crowd of Yes supporters - and a silent group of people backing a No vote who held aloft posters with the words “SNP NHS Lies” - on a visit to Renfrew Town Hall.

Ms Sturgeon tucked into a “Yes” cupcake as she met with members of the pro-independence group Carers for Yes, as well as some carers who are still undecided about how they will vote.

She said: “It's often said that the true test of any society is how we treat the most vulnerable and right now, if that's the test, the UK Government is failing that test.”

She called on carers to “strike a blow for a better country” and back a Yes vote to “ensure carers get the support they need”.

Lynn Williams, organiser of Carers for Yes, said: “With a Yes vote, future Scottish governments will be able to ensure carers are no longer seen as second-class by a Westminster welfare system that doesn't recognise their hard work.”

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