It looks as if the First Minister is determined to re-run the referendum of only three years ago.
Few people in Scotland have forgotten the divisions that were created during the last referendum. In many cases they are still there.
I do not believe that this is a battle that the people of Scotland either need or want. That is why the Liberal Democrats will stick to our manifesto commitment not to vote for it.
Piling division on division makes no sense.
We should not forget that the damage caused in Scotland by the last referendum was enormous.
To this day there are hundreds of thousands of people have seen relationships in their family or their workplace suffer. That is why the number of people in opinion polls who favour a re-run is much smaller than the number of people who would actually vote Yes in such a referendum.
People don’t want the strife.
So it is heart-breaking to know that we have to go all through that again, neighbour against neighbour, for two more years.
There is also an absurd gap in the SNP’s argument.
They are dragging us into another referendum because of leaving the EU, but they refuse to say whether their plan would put Scotland back in the EU.
The SNP are using those that voted Remain for their own ends.
With the SNP, independence comes first and everything else comes second.
Those that may vote for an independent Scotland because they wish to stay in the EU will be bitterly disappointed when the SNP turn their back on them.
We are now facing the prospect of an independent Scotland outside the EU and the UK which would be a disaster.
I will stand up for our United Kingdom family. Pro-UK and pro-EU. We will lead the way on the kind of campaign for the United Kingdom that we want to see. We should set the terms.
We will lead the way on the kind of campaign for the United Kingdom that we want to see. We should set the terms.
The new case for the United Kingdom should be a positive, uplifting one that focuses on the ties that bind us rather than the differences some would use to divide us.
It is that emotional case. It is the Liberal case for unity. The compassionate case.
The Scottish Liberal Democrat conference last weekend set out a positive future for the UK. We spoke about how our family of nations had achieved great things. We reflected how people across the UK share so many values.
Importantly we were clear that it is wrong for anyone to portray England as uniformly filled with horrible people with a far-right mentality. That is a characterisation that suits the nationalists in Scotland.
But the Richmond Park by-election showed that there is common cause for good to be built between people in different parts of Britain.
That is the case that needs to be made.
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