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 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
    -1

    Comment number 219.

    The ugly over-priced , crumbling Parliament building? The lack of Edinburgh trams after huge expenditure and disruption? The current chaos in education?
    Alex, you can't blame Westminster for everything!

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 218.

    What Scots want is disingenuous. Independence on anything that is financially beneficial to them, and closer integration on things that could damage them if made independent. Ie 'we'll take 100% control of North Sea Oil (even though it belongs to the Shetlands)... oh and btw, we want to keep the Queen, the currency, the army, the status and your legal system'.

    Let's have true independence...

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 217.

    213 - You want to make our lives difficult for making a democratic decision

    ........WHY? are you racist?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 216.

    Two years of this is going to drive me, and many others, bonkers.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 215.

    The only thing holding back Scotland economically is it's racial attitude to outsiders. Independence will only compound this problem and hold them back from attracting the right talent.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 214.

    Part 2...

    Failing that, devo max might be a good idea. It lets an area of the UK (note I don't say Scotland) try alternative economic policies to suit more local circumstances. I think regional English parliaments should exist. The Midlands should have the same level of determinism.

    Either go federal and let regions compete, or go Westminster only. But not this expensive, weak middle ground.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 213.

    Dont get me wrong, Scotland should have the vote, but when the SNP lose the vote, and they will, we will all get the chance to walk on Alex Salmond's political grave. The man is a self obsessed idiot, who is only doing it to say that he "Freed Scotland" Anyone knows that Scotland will not flourish alone, also if they vote independence, do not let them use the pound, make their lives difficult.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 212.

    It very looks like the Vote YES campaign by the Independent brigade has already received a massive thumbs down by the Scottish public with some 58% of them saying a huge NO thank you to it.

  • rate this
    +70

    Comment number 211.

    I'm English & it makes me sad to read so many negative comments about a country and the people who have stood stoically at our side through some of the worst times in our history. If Salmond convinces the Scots to vote Yes then it should be for total independence. DevoMax would only aggravate the unnecessary animosity toward the Scottish nation that Salmond has created with his megalomania.

  • rate this
    +15

    Comment number 210.

    For years Scots have been classed as subsidy junkies by the MSM, so why are the rest of the UK so keen to hold onto them?
    Scotland should be allowed its independence and all the advantages that go with it.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 209.

    It is such a shame that politicians have whipped up such nationalism in Scotland and it is frightening to see such vitriol between what must be considered as civilised people. There can be no excuse for hatred yet the comments seem to reflect deep prejudice of an ethnic nature. I very much hope that the campaign does not seek to inflame those prejudices and generate hatred.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 208.

    "136.alphawest
    Why can't this 'have your say' piece be in the Scotland section?
    For some reason, political comments seem to be forbidden there."
    ---------
    Correct, and has been for some time. Can you guess *why* political comment has been specifically forbidden by the BBC (Scotland's state broadcaster!) in the Scottish politics section of the website?

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 207.

    #140 said:

    " I can understand why England is relunctant to let Scotland go, given the amount Scotland over-contributes to the treasury"

    Had me rolling in the aisles anyway!

    Since the Scottish Parliament was created in 1999, public spending has outstripped tax generated there by 45 per cent.

    The English subsidise Scotland, Wales and N.I. Let them support themselves by all means.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 206.

    If there is to be a "self determination" vote then I'm dismayed that there appears to be no plan for Scots who live outside Scotland to participate. In my view anyone who would be entitled to claim a Scottish passport (assuming devolution were to take place) should be entitled to vote on the issue. Scottish and English have so much in common because of all the cross-breeding :-)

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 205.

    If Scotland goes independent then the City jumped up office boys in South East England will have to find themseves proper jobs. Not just larking with the money.

    No more malarky, boys, just hard graft. How about a shift in a factory for Cameron and the cronies? That would make them sit up and pay attention, give them blisters! Make them sweat!

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 204.

    Can i ask why the hate? If you look at facts the hate is baseless so please cut it out it is no help whatsoever.

    I wasnt wearing an anyone but england shirt.....no i dont even own one....

    Scotland contributes more than it gets or the tories would have us out pretty quickly.

  • rate this
    +14

    Comment number 203.

    Were I a Scot I'd be sorely tempted to say yes to independence. The further away from the south-east a place is, the more it is sidelined and ignored by the media, and Scotland experiences this to an extreme.
    That said, we've fought and shed blood together as brothers for generations, and I think we're stronger together.
    I they vote yes, so be it - I'll wish them well - but I'll miss them.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 202.

    If Scotland votes for independence, it'd be sad and the wrong solution to the problem. The woes wrought on Scotland, exploited by Nationalists, were wrought on all parts of the UK and arose from the liberal laissez-faire economics of the '80s. Millions of 'the English' fought Thatcher too! Since, her ideology reigns once more in Westminster, is not Independence just running from this fight?

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 201.

    Go Scotland Go!

    If England were to get a vote on breaking up the UK - because that is what it means in reality - Scotland would be independent very quickly as most English think Scotland (and Wales and NI) should be 'independent'.

    Scots want to have their cake and eat it - try and be like Norway but if it all goes wrong they'll be coming south to find a job. Devolution meant 'Independence'

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 200.

    I left this comment on the Reuters page;
    I see at the end of the piece,the political parties are mentioned,that is how the unionist politicians would like to see it.This is not about Labour,Conservative or the main party in Scotland the SNP,there are several smaller parties here also.Like (paraphrased) Clinton said "ITS ABOUT INDEPENDENCE STUPID" not about party politics

 

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