Sturgeon hopes independence vote could be in 2014


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Scotland's deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon has spoken of her optimism that the country will vote for independence in its 2014 referendum.

Ms Sturgeon, who speaks on health, wellbeing and cities, said: "The tide of opinion is running in our favour."

Independence, the party's long-term goal, is within sniffing distance, supported by the likes of Rupert Murdoch, who last week tweeted his support for Alex Salmond and for Scotland's right to compete with the rest of the world. The date of the referendum was revealed yesterday in the new Scottish Sun on Sunday's "world exclusive" as Saturday 18 October, 2014.

Ms Sturgeon and the party leadership cannot confirm the date until after the consultation process. "The consultation on the independence referendum has already generated more than 2,500 responses. Once we have completed that process and listened to people's views we will take forward our plans for a referendum in autumn 2014."

Desperate for the support of the Scottish editions of Murdoch's papers, especially The Sun which is pro-SNP but unconvinced on independence, the leadership has embraced the man who is otherwise at odds with the party's social democratic agenda. "We welcome support for independence, including from Mr Murdoch," Ms Sturgeon said. "What he said was, let Scotland compete. And that's all we want the chance for Scotland to do.

"Nobody owes Scotland a living, independence is not a panacea. It's about giving us the opportunity to take the decisions that are right for us." Ms Sturgeon, 42, says there are many things in the Anglo-Scottish relationship she values. "We have a shared culture, history, lots of family ties with the other countries of the islands we live in, " she said.

"We don't want to break that up. But the case for Scotland being an in- dependent nation, keeping the queen as head of state, staying within sterling, continuing a social union with the rest of the UK, is overwhelming."