Scottish independence: One million Scots urged to sign 'yes' declaration


Supporters launch the 'Yes' campaign for Scottish independence

The "yes" campaign for independence wants one million Scots to sign a declaration of support by the time of the referendum in the autumn of 2014.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said independence would happen if that milestone was achieved.

The pledge was made at the launch of the Yes Scotland campaign in Edinburgh.

However, pro-union supporters believe independence remains largely unpopular among the Scottish electorate and will not happen.

The Scottish National Party played a leading role in the campaign, which was launched at Cineworld in Edinburgh and included other parties, celebrities and businesses.

What does the Yes Declaration say?

"I believe that it is fundamentally better for us all if decisions about Scotland's future are taken by the people who care most about Scotland, that is, by the people of Scotland.

"Being independent means Scotland's future will be in Scotland's hands.

"There is no doubt that Scotland has great potential. We are blessed with talent, resources and creativity. We have the opportunity to make our nation a better place to live, for this and future generations. We can build a greener, fairer and more prosperous society that is stronger and more successful than it is today.

"I want a Scotland that speaks with her own voice and makes her own unique contribution to the world - a Scotland that stands alongside the other nations on these isles, as an independent nation."

A pro-union campaign is expected to launch later this year.

Mr Salmond said: "We unite behind a declaration of self-evident truth.

"The people who live in Scotland are best placed to make the decisions that affect Scotland.

"We want a Scotland that's greener, that's fairer and more prosperous.

"We realise that the power of an independent Scotland is necessary to achieve these great ends."

Some of the people who pledged their public support for the campaign did so for the first time.

Actor Alan Cumming, who has been based largely in the US, tweeted after the launch that he would "becoming a resident of Scotland again in order to vote in 2014".

Other "yes" backers included:

  • actor Sir Sean Connery
  • former BBC Scotland head of news Blair Jenkins
  • poet Liz Lochead
  • musician Pat Kane
  • actor Brian Cox.

Mr Salmond told the gathered media: "I want Scotland to be independent not because I think we are better than any other country, but because I know we're as good as any other country.

Start Quote

It was left to Liz Lochhead, Scotland's Makar, to recall from one of her finest plays that the Scots national pastime is frequently "nostalgia"”

End Quote

"Like these other nations, our future, our resources, our success should be in our own hands."

The campaign will be built "brick by brick" across communities, he said.

Mr Salmond said that the case would be taken to the people by community activism and "online wizardry".

He added: "By the time we enter the referendum campaign in autumn 2014, our intention is to have one million Scots who have signed the independence for Scotland declaration.

"Friends, if we achieve that, then we shall win an independent Scotland."

Mr Salmond was supported at the launch, which was hosted by Greenock actor Martin Compston, by Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie.

He told the 500-strong gathering: "Greens are not nationalists. In fact, we are probably more comfortable than most parties in acknowledging the range of views that exist in our membership and our voters about the question of independence.

"But I believe, as most of us do, that the range of powers currently still held at Westminster simply make no sense from a Green perspective.

What's known at the moment

SNP position Unionist position

Wants the referendum in the autumn of 2014

Wants the referendum "sooner rather than later"

Backs a "yes/no" ballot but is open minded on including a second "devo max" question

Wants a one question "yes/no" ballot

Wants 16 and 17-year-olds to be able to vote in the referendum

Backs the status quo with 18 and over able to vote

Has agreed to the Electoral Commission overseeing the vote

Wanted the Electoral Commission to oversee the vote

"I certainly look forward to helping develop a clear and compelling case for Scotland to take a bold and radical step and vote Yes to independence in 2014."

SNP ministers, who want to hold a referendum in autumn 2014, have been holding talks with the UK government over the arrangements.

Yes Scotland, which has also won the support of the Scottish Socialist Party, is being billed as the biggest community based campaign in Scotland's history, designed to build a groundswell of support for an independent Scotland.

Meanwhile, former chancellor Alistair Darling, a Scottish Labour MP, pointed to a poll he had commissioned which suggested that 33% of those surveyed agreed that Scotland should become independent with 57% opposed and 10% undecided. The poll by YouGov took the views of 1,000 voters.

After the Yes Scotland launch, Mr Darling told the BBC: "The real problem that the nationalists have got is that their momentum has stalled and we can see from the poll that only one person in three has actually bought their message.

"I believe that people will come to see that we are better and stronger with the UK."

"I think that there are an awful lot of risks in simply walking away from the UK."

Mr Darling has been involved in meetings with Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to take forward the plans for a pro-union campaign which is expected to launch later this year.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    I am Scottish, but I'm also a Glaswegian, British and European. Identity isn't a fixed thing. Where do you draw the line? Would an independent Scotland have the Kingdoms of Strathclyde and Fife wanting to secede?

    Personally, I'd rather abolish the Scottish parliament. Fox hunting, free uni and minimum alcohol pricing is a pretty poor return. It's another set of politicians to be apathetic about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 158.

    Scottish Independence? If they need any help in succeeding, I would be delighted to help. If the welsh and Irish want to leave the UK then great. England will be free and independent. I'll give it 5 years before they all come running back. It will be too late then!! English wealth for the English!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    An independent Scotland could have afforded the bailout of its banking assets (if they were considered to be worth saving)

    As reported by the BBC

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    Has it never struck Shrek that with independence (which heaven forbid!) his party will cease to have any reason to exist and Scotland will revert to its natural party allegience?

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    To those surprised at the level of spite in these comments - what we are talking about here is the destruction of a nation. There is no sugar coating that. Yes two new states will be created, but the 300 year-old nation of Great Britain will cease to be. In that, Alex Salmond will have achieved what Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm and Adolf Hitler could only dream of.

    Of course there is spite.

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    I have just noticed that anyone who has put something pro-union has been voted down. clearly you feel strongly for this campaign. i personly don't care if you become inderpendent, as it will make little to no difference to mine and most likley your lives to.
    If you get inderpendence good for you
    if you don't good for us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    The financial case for independence. Replace £8bn Barnett premium already given to Scotland with £6.4bn of oil taxes. Replace £3bn contribution to defence with a fishing boat and £3bn savings. Run a budget deficit of 18% diluted by oil revenue to 7%. Loan money via the Bank of England to fund the deficit. Whats independent about that?

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    I think the idea of Scotland being seperated is a scary one. Not because they'll do bad, but because it'll be so different. As an Englishman I'd prefer the Scottish to stay in the UK. However the amount of racism and hatred, it wouldn't shock me if they leave....

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    I know of people who have died through drinking to much and now with these cuts the stress on people is huge and people are drinking more so yes wales shoulkd follow suit also I know there are loads of people drinking at night then drive to work the next day.I bet there are hundreds out there doing this time we sorted this out also

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    'We' are fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, the same as 'you' - just like 'we' were there to help 'you' build an empire, at every battle from Waterloo and the Somme to Korea and the Falklands.

    England's had its wicked way with Scotland, so excuse us if we're a shadow of our former selves after all the heavy industry (the backbone of our GDP) was outsourced by 'your' government.

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.

    I notice a large amount of hate to scotland i do belive thatcomment 120 calls us parasites in spite the fact we do run at an about level ground with the amount we recive to the ammount we give back. If i started saying how rubbish a country 'england' is these people would be mad. Me im just annoyed that people are ignorant of facts about money scotland brings and are really disrespectful.

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    I am English and live in Scotland by choice. Scotland has so much going for it. I am proud to live here, I love the people and hope they will vote Yes. Then watch this nation become great

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    I am English and my message to the Scottish people is this - you have much to be proud of - Scotland is one of the great nations of the world - I respect the intellect and huge contribution to the world Scotland has given. And yes you have a point - Westminster does not serve the whole country properly. But my respect has dimished considerably since the question of independence [continued in 10min

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    Am just intrigued how Scotland afford the excellent health and education.

    Surely Scotland will have to leave the (British) pound if they opt out of Britain? Are they going to join the Euro

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    This is the final act of the Thatcher legacy from the 1980s

    I was brought up in a post WW2 Britain where we were all in it together

    Thatcher completely dismantled that Britain, smashed it to pieces, and Tony Blairs Labour in Westminster finished the job for her

    Scotland is "Getting on its bike" so Norman Tebbit should approve

    All that really matters now is The Vote

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    Adrahil said :-

    "If the Yes campaign wins can us in the north of England join them. We know where we would be better off".

    As a Northerner (Northumberland) I'm English and proud. No way would I want to join an independent Scotland.
    If they vote yes - wish them well and wave them bye bye.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    Some here on HYS seem tro think this is of no consequence.

    They are wrong - it is hugely important.

    For all those Scots or not who are not allowed a say (vote) are being disenfranchised by an elected body.

    When has that ever happened before?

    except in dictatorships.

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    SNP currently enjoy a similar position to the opposition in Westminster. It's easy to critisise and say the popular thing, but it's wholly different once in power. Me thinks their popularity might diminish somewhat if they ever have fiscal/economic/tax raising powers in an independent Scotland.

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    @ 100 "Everclear, the richest 1000 people in Brittain live in the south east of England and gained £155 BILLION in the last 12 months"

    Hmmm... so how much tax are the richest Scots going to have to pay if we go independant? More than they are now would be my guess. Watch them head South or abroad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    Glad to see cross-party support for the YES vote with the Greens, Canavan etc onside.There is now a vast appetite for Independence in Scotland and the economical and cultural argument is there to be won. I can understand why England is relunctant to let Scotland go, given the amount Scotland over-contributes to the treasury, but in time, they will adapt and both nations will flourish.


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