SCOTLAND’S democracy is under attack.

Responding to Westminster’s attempted veto on Scottish legislation passed by a cross-party majority of MSPs, First Minister Humza Yousaf warned the Tories will use every lever at their disposal to undermine devolution.

He was right.

Just days after the Scottish Government was forced to lodge a legal challenge to the Westminster power grab on Holyrood, the Tories are now demanding devolution is reversed and dismantled.

Boris Johnson’s Brexit negotiator, David Frost – an influential voice among the right-wing Tories who call the shots at Westminster and who sits in the unelected House of Lords – has said the quiet part out loud.

The Tories campaigned tooth and nail against the establishment of the Scottish Parliament and now see a chance to roll back the progress we’ve made.

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It’s only because we have a measure of self-government that we’ve been able to resist the creeping privatisation of the NHS south of the Border, that we’ve restored the principle of free education and that prescription charges here have been abolished.

Who makes the decisions about Scotland really matters.

And we should never forget that Labour continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Tories in their joint project to maintain Westminster control.

Westminster has a jam-packed track record of ignoring the democratic will of voters in Scotland. Just look at the mess of Brexit.

Scotland voted overwhelmingly against Brexit, with every single council area in the country voting to remain part of the huge European single market, which is seven times the size of the UK, in the interests of jobs and our economy.

Yet, we were dragged out of the EU against our will and lumbered with a disastrous hard Brexit, supported by Labour, which has hit our economy and living standards hard.

So, how can we ensure Scotland’s voice is heard, our democracy is fully protected, and we once again have access to the world’s largest single market?

Independence is the answer.

A genuine partnership of equals with our friends in the rest of the UK, in place of Westminster control, and we need it more than ever.

Under the leadership of Humza Yousaf, your pro-independence Scottish Government is working hard to improve the lives of Scots today and provide the vision of the greener, fairer and more equal Scotland that we can become tomorrow through independence.

Rolling up his sleeves and getting on with the job of addressing the issues that matter to voters, last week the First Minister set out his vision for Scotland with the publication of the Government’s new policy prospectus – titled “New Leadership – A Fresh Start”.

This document details the key aims this government intends to achieve for Scotland in each Cabinet portfolio by 2026.

It sets objectives for us as a new ministerial team. A ministerial team which clearly aligns with the priorities the First Minister wants to pursue in government – from tackling child poverty, to improving public services, building a fairer and greener economy, and giving people the information about independence they need to make an informed choice about Scotland’s constitutional future.

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In my role as Minister for Independence – a new post that demonstrates Humza Yousaf’s drive to achieve our shared goal – I have responsibility for ensuring people have that necessary information.

That is in line with the clear democratic mandate given by the people of Scotland at the last election. A mandate the Westminster parties ever more desperately try to ignore as they deny Scottish democracy.

The Scottish Parliament has been able to some extent to protect Scotland from the worst excesses of Tory governments we didn’t elect.

But the Tory attack on devolution, combined with the Labour/Tory embrace of a hard Brexit, will make that job harder and harder.

The Scottish Government has already set out key facts about independence: comparable independent countries to Scotland are both wealthier and more equal than the UK. They are more productive and have lower poverty.

In short, independent countries as diverse as Ireland, Denmark and Norway combine economic dynamism with social solidarity. With all our resources, why not Scotland?

With continued unity, strength and determination in our Yes movement, that better country is within our reach.