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"The independence of Scotland is within touching distance." This was what Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, told a rally on Friday, after announcing that she will ask the British government for the necessary powers to organize a second referendum on independence after the British general elections on 12th December.

Calling for a massive vote for the SNP (Scottish National Party) in the upcoming elections, Sturgeon told her audience about "the much better alternative for our country: to take our future into our own hands and become an independent country."

She spelt out that an independent Scotland would "invest in our people, in our public services", that it would be "diverse and welcoming" and would mean no "hard Brexit" and an end to "weapons of mass destruction on the Clyde" - referring to the UK Trident submarine base in Scotland. "Not just for our generation, but for all future generations: that is the prize and it is within touching distance," she said, adding: "We must seize that prize by voting in December."

Earlier in the day, Sturgeon had also spoken strongly about the real possibility of independence. "If people in Scotland demonstrate the desire, as I believe they will in this election, for an independence referendum, then I don't believe Westminster opposition to the principle or to the timetable for that will prove to be sustainable at all," she said at another pre-election event, held in Edinburgh.