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by Jenni Davidson
28 November 2020
‘We are not relying on Boris Johnson to do the right thing,’ says Keith Brown on indyref2

Keith Brown with SNP logo - Image credit: David Anderson/Holyrood

‘We are not relying on Boris Johnson to do the right thing,’ says Keith Brown on indyref2

The SNP are not relying on Boris Johnson to do the right thing over a second independence referendum, Keith Brown told delegates at the party’s autumn conference.

The SNP depute leader said instead they were relying on the “clear, consistent and increasing pressure of the democratic will of the people of Scotland to make him do the right thing”.

Brown said he believed next year’s Scottish Parliament election would be of “genuinely historic significance” and that the challenge was to deliver “an unprecedented, an undeniable, an unstoppable demand for a new independence referendum”.

He said the level of “sustained, majority support for independence” was already piling pressure on the UK Government to agree to “our legitimate demand for a referendum”

However, Brown acknowledged that some delegates are “genuinely concerned about the cynicism and intransigence of the UK Government”.

He said the UK Government had “form” and the Tories were “not to be trusted”.

Referring to last-minute changes to the rules in the 1979 devolution referendum and to the Vow in 2014, he asked: “So, what if they decide to corrupt the rules again, or simply refuse a referendum regardless of our unanswerable mandate?

“To this argument I say: We are not relying on Boris Johnson to do the right thing.

“We are relying on the clear, consistent and increasing pressure of the democratic will of the people of Scotland, to make him do the right thing.

“The Johnsons and the Goves of Westminster know that they cannot stand in the way of the democratic will of Scotland.  

“They know a referendum cannot be refused in 2021 if there is that majority for independence we will all work tirelessly to deliver.

“And delegates, this is not wishful thinking. Look at the evidence.  

“Would Gove be flying a kite about changing the franchise if he didn’t think there was a referendum coming? No.

“Would Gove have established his ‘Union Unit’ in the UK Government? No.

“Would Boris Johnson have risked facing the fearsome Scottish midge during his summer holiday before retreating in defeat if he didn’t think the referendum was coming?

“No. Of course not. 

“And remember this, Boris Johnson has been responsible for more about turns than a parade ground drill sergeant!”

He added: “What we know is that Boris Johnson bows to pressure. And the more votes we can win in May, the more that pressure will become impossible to resist.”

Brown also announced a several initiatives to help SNP election campaigning during COVID.

These included a new website, SNP.scot, which will act as a “virtual doorstep” to canvass voters without putting anyone at risk, a national assembly in January and a drive to help more people across Scotland sign up for postal votes.

He also announced a series of magazines would be published “right up to referendum day” about what the SNP stands for and why it believes independence is right for the country.

Brown said: “Our plans had to be put on hold when lockdown came, but with a brighter future ahead and more people asking for information on what independence means for them, the first in the series will include part one of a ‘household guide to independence’ which you can use to convince those still looking to be convinced of the merits of independence.

“Our campaign might have only begun but, my friends, I promise that it will not let up until we win that referendum.”

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