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"”

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"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 239.

    @82.John " Bonnie Jockland. They'd have soon come cap in hand for help from the English who they loathe then"

    You sound like just the kind of Englishman that makes this Englishman want to side with the Scots: sneering, superior and mean-spirited.
    I don't think most Scots do loathe the English, but with comments like this, I'd have to forgive them if they did.

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    Becoming independent on the premise of high oil prices is foolish. It is only a temporary spike due to middle eastern wars and new oilfields, and peace will shortly drive the price down (for everyone apart from us). As well, N. Sea oil is expected to run out in 30 years, meaning that an independent Scotland would run into no end of trouble, and probably regret independence.

  • Comment number 237.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    I'll be voting no to Nationalism- which I'm uncomfortable with in any context. I've also had the misfortune of attending an SNP Conference in the past (not as a delegate, but as someone working in the building) and was deeply embarassed by the rhetoric. I couldn't identify with it.

    But I must admit I do sympathise with some of the Scottish Nationalist Rationale, expressed well by comment #181.

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    Scotland is a nuclear power. For the size of our population, we're the best armed nation in Europe - so you lot had better watch who you are talking to!

    We should form a coalition and establish the Ginger Republic (with Wales, Cornwall, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man).

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    "Scotland has one of the strongest university research bases in the world; it produces
    1.2 per cent of all new knowledge and is second in the world in terms of impact of its research. These are considerable achievements for a country of only five million people"

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    @174. HooHum
    "Oh and don't go on with that old 'the oil is our' malarkey. The rigs, pipelines and refineries are English brought and paid for, so their ours!"

    I think you'll find that the rigs, pipelines an refineries belong to the oil companies, not to the Westminster Parliament.

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    I also am glad to see cross party support for the "yes" camp, the economic argument and the cultural one are pretty much made. i want a fair settlement with our friends in England, and i do mean friends.a settlement needs to include RBS, So that we the Scots can deal with RBS in our own inimitable style for the shame they brought on our country.i look forward to the debate and a YES win.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    Surprised Salmond does not want the rest of UK to vote on Scottish Independence as it is the only way he will win the vote. Most Scots realise the benefit of the Union. If by some miracle he does win, move to the Euro and within 5 years Scotland will be the next Greece. Salmond is like most politicans ......... out for himself and couldn't give a stuff about the majority !

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    'ugly over-priced , crumbling Parliament building' Was actually Labour's idea, planned in Westminster.
    'Edinburgh trams' Is actually sopmething that the SNP were against, but forced through by Westminster parties!
    ' current chaos in education' Sorry there is no chaos in Scottish education (we dont all accept what the BBC say)

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    looks like we might need to build another wall?!

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    The question of Scottish independence can only be answered by the Scottish people living in Scotland. All other comments from others are just that comments. Since WWII the British Empire has shrunk as countries decided self determination its now closer to home once the question is answered financial, political & social questions can be discussed & resolved if the answer is "yes".

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    I'd call Salmond's bluff. Stop all the cash from Westminter and turn Scotland into a third-world country. As a proud Scot myself, i'd be happy to suffer crippling poverty in the short term, just to finally destroy Salmond's hideous notions of independence. He's not Rob Roy, Willian Wallace or Robert the Bruce, he's more of a Mugabe or Assad figure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.

    I am a proud Scot and glad to belong to a country that has its own heritage, culture and national presence. However, politically I dont think we need to be independent from the rest of the UK. I agree with post 81 Countrobert. I have never liked the Alex Salmon and his sheer arrogance, that he is dismissing the fact that only a third of the country want this change

  • rate this

    Comment number 225.

    How to waste money by the SNP. They are spending or £3000 a day on this stupid campaign. As this country is in a double dip rescission surely this money could be better spent than propping egos and propaganda from the people that can only see independence at any cost for the rest of us.
    However the respect from England is nil in the media. Its always English then the rest. This does not help

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    As an Englishman from the south west of England, im looking forward to Scotland going independant. Sooner the better.

    Then wont have a minority nation's mps helping to force through bills on the majority nation ie England. Example - Tuition Fees created by Labour and pushed through using Scottish Labour Mps.

    Time for referendum on an English Parliament - scottish, welsh and irish mps cant vote

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    Taking away the financial problems, I think we need to look at the idea of Culture, the Scots and English and welsh and NI are one in the the same. Our culture and what we stand for is so much more important than any country alone, people all over the world see the UK as a cultural success showing how nations of different people can live as one, Only together can we succeed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    As a previous lifelong Labour voter, it took me moving to Norway to open my eyes. If all of Scotland could spend just one day in Norway, the vote for Independence would be a certainty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 221.

    Scotland doesn't need independence. What the UK needs is to get central government into a central position where it can more fairly represent the interests of the entire nation, rather than lurking way down in the SE corner. It's London and The City that is the problem...sucking all investment towards itself like some obscene black hole.
    Witness the Olympics...for the 3rd time...a world record.

  • rate this

    Comment number 220.

    I really don't know who puts the most money into the others country. If Scotland does go will it use the Euro? ...........or something else.
    When Scotland says it wants independence, I do wonder what from, as the three last UK prime ministers have names like Blair, Brown and Cameron not exactly English, Welsh or Northern Irish sounding are they.


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