THE equal union of the UK has been shown to be a farce. Our very own First Minister has no idea when Article 50 will be triggered – does this not indicate the sheer level of contempt that the UK Government displays towards us? They are happy enough to declare that we are a burden, yet they begged us to stay with them in September 2014.

As was indicated recently at the Scottish Conservative Party Conference, they do not care about Scotland having a voice. There was a bolted-on debate at a spin-off meeting regarding whether the Scottish Parliament could be dissolved, yet we are meant to trust this party to negotiate the best deal for us and the rest of the UK?

Scotland did not vote to be removed from the EU or the single market. I think it’s important that our membership of these important institutions is maintained – are we not Better Together in the EU?

Loading article content

There are apparently special deals being made with the car industry but the Tories can choose to ignore an entire country? This is not fair and it is not on.

Nicola’s speech was delivered with her usual confidence, she will be fully aware that support for independence is growing, for better or worse. Referencing the marriage vows was particularly poignant – has this so called marriage of equals become far too abusive to be tolerated? Are we to be continually subjected to a Tory government that we do not vote for? Even Jeremy Corbyn has admitted that to try to stop a second independence referendum would be wrong.

It was really important that Nicola mentioned the last campaign, as it was flawed on both sides, with Project Fear being used to scare people, and lack of clarity and information on the currency question being a main stumbling point for the Yes movement.

We must be more clear on this and other matters, and as Nicola said, these matters must be able to stand up to the most robust attacks and prove that we have finally answered all queries and laid to rest any doubt about what matters to us, as individuals and communities.

Immigration is a huge matter that I think the Scottish Government should have power over. I live in a very multicultural area of Glasgow, it enriches our society and we need immigration in this city. There are people who come here to escape war, abuse, and the most horrendous conditions – we cannot turn our back on these people. No way is it acceptable to refuse shelter and help to another human being who is struggling. The only way we can keep our country diverse, and vibrant is to have control over immigration.

I want our country to move forward, to be seen as a welcoming and friendly place, not a place that refuses to help the most vulnerable in society.

If I took anything away from Nicola’s speech, it’s that she isn’t prepared to be dictated to by the UK Government, she will try to get the best deal for Scotland, and it’s maybe a wee bit too early to set a date for the next referendum.

We shall just have to see how the next few weeks play out, as I think they will be vital. I can honestly see no concession being made and a section 30 application is probably being prepared as I type.

We need to move forward, this is the only viable way. Nicola’s speech was inspiring and powerful, but I’m not turning cartwheels yet.

*SparkleMonkey's real name is Elaine Campbell