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London speech on independence
First Minister Alex Salmond has told an audience in London that independence for Scotland would create a new 'social union' between the two countries of Scotland and England post-independence – and be good for both countries.
Delivering the Guardian newspaper’s annual Hugo Young Lecture the evening before he publishes the Scottish Government’s consultation on an independence referendum, the FM said that independence would leave Scotland and the rest of the UK free to work together as equal partners in many areas where values and interests were shared.
At the Guardian’s offices in London, the FM said that an independent Scotland would progress economic and institutional ties with the rest of the UK – as well as continue ties of family and friendship.
Mr Salmond said:
"Scotland as an independent nation would play an active and responsible role in the international community – contributing on issues where it could, such as climate change.
"Independence for Scotland would still leave us free to work together in the many areas where we do share common values and interests.
"On areas from energy grids to emergency policing requirements; from fisheries policy to defence co-operation; from telecommunications to transport links; Scotland will work with all our neighbours for a common good.
"But most of all, in addition to these institutional, cultural, economic and practical links, Scotland shares ties of family and friendship with our neighbours on these islands which never can be obsolete.
"And when you consider our shared economic interests, our cultural ties, our many friendships and family relationships, one thing becomes clear. After Scotland becomes independent, we will share more than a monarchy and a currency. We will share a social union. Our ties of family and friendship will continue and flourish between us after Scottish independence. Independence will be good for Scotland and good for England."
The annual Hugo Young Lecture is named in honour of the Guardian journalist who died in 2003.