Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Campaigns gearing up for launch

Umbrella at polling station
Image caption The SNP want to see a vote on the issue of independence in the autumn of 2014

Campaigns urging voters to back either Scottish independence or the United Kingdom are set to be launched within weeks.

A Yes Scotland independence website will go live on Friday with the support of "leading stars, community and political figures".

Meanwhile, former Chancellor Alistair Darling said a pro-Union campaign will launch in the next few weeks.

The Scottish government wants to hold a vote on independence in autumn 2014.

Organisers of Yes Scotland said they had convened "Scots from all walks of life" to sign a Yes Declaration in Edinburgh on Friday.

The campaign aims to set out "why being independent offers the best future for people across Scotland".

A spokesman said: "The launch will see the start of the biggest community-based campaign in Scotland's history, designed to build a groundswell of support for an independent Scotland ahead of the 2014 referendum."

Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Marr show, Mr Darling confirmed that he had been involved in meetings with Conservatives and Liberal Democrats working towards a Union launch in the coming weeks.

He said: "I've had several such meetings, there will be a campaign to persuade people we are better remaining within the UK.

"It'll involve all political parties but crucially it'll also involve people of no political party, because this is something that is going to be won by the people of Scotland not politicians involved in a slagging match with each other."

Salmond 'razzmatazz'

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie called for the SNP to work with all political parties to devise a fair question.

He said: "It's in the interest of whoever wins the referendum to have the acceptance of those who lose.

Image caption The Yes Scotland website says the campaign is 'Coming Soon'

"A critical part of that is a fair question accepted by everyone. Yet, the SNP seem to think only they should determine the question that is asked."

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: "Alex Salmond can try and conjure up all the razzmatazz he likes to give the impression there is a groundswell of support for separation.

"But the facts are that the SNP have lost a quarter of their support in just a year and got barely a third of the vote in the council elections."

SNP campaigns director Angus Robertson said the Yes Scotland launch would take the debate into "every community across our country".

"These are exciting times for Scotland as we work to build a better nation," he added.

A website www.yesscotland.net has been established, with a message saying Coming Soon.

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