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

    Comment number 259.

    "Westminster government, which has never had Scotland's interests as any kind of priority"
    Many parts of Britain have been treated the same

    A lot of people have a lot of research to do about the history of Britain if they are ever going to make an informed decision on this matter

    We'll start with a simple one the James VI of 'scotland' inherited the 'english' throne

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

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

    This should be an editors pick
    I'm voting yes btw

    We'll all be fine after Independence, the biggest benefits of Independence will be for Scotland and the North of England which will benefit from cross border trade

    The Independence Referendum is really a vote about the forced redistribution of wealth from the South East

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    As a Scottish person currently living in England because Scotland couldn't fulfil my employment needs, whether I agree or disagree is irrelevant.

    I'd just like a vote on the future of my country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    The Scots are frustrated as they have been screwed in the past. The English are annoyed as they have no voice whereas the Scots are over represented (Hollyrood and Westminster). Both are correct. Give the English their own parliment and apologise to the Scots for screwing them in the past.
    (It is also a myth that residents North of the border are subsidised by residents in the South.)

  • rate this

    Comment number 255.

    Scotland contributes more than its fair share??

    I am sure you cant wait for the burden on the Scottish Health Service and Education that will have to be subsidised through taxation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 254.

    from the snp government website.............. GERS ............. expenditure £64 billion - income only £45 billion including oil of only 6.4 billion and dropping fast since 1998 ............ How will independence change this?.........

  • rate this

    Comment number 253.

    Goodbye UK. England you are just another failing little country now with old population, dwindling birth rate, unprecedendet immigration, pseudo democracy LibLabCon con run by rich oligarchs, unemployable schooleavers, drug addiction, youth crime, flee to the country, overbuilding, head in the sand, no future, flee abroad to where? former giant owning now spineless get out quick UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 252.

    Like the sunshine brings out the flowers the independence issue brings out the "Well go on then get, lost ye Scotch gits" remarks from the narrow minded amongst our southern neighbours. Is it any wonder that independence is seen as a viable option when comments one would associate with spoiled children whose erstwhile friend has decided to go home for tea are spouted with such vitriol?

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    139. davser

    Bank of Scotland is now owned by Lloyds Bank. RBS and Clydesdale Bank are Scottish Companies, whose registered offices are in Scotland and I think subject to Scottish Law.

    All three Banks are allowed to issue Scottish Bank Notes.

    These three banks together with Lloyds TSB Scotland form The Committee of Scottish Clearing Bankers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    Usual sentiments from the minority of scots who frequent this site. They should be under no illusion the vast majority of english are wholly indifferent to what scotland do. We can happily live without being blamed for all the Scottish woes aswell as providing public subsidy for the socttish politicians on the gravy train down in westminster..

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    How long is this going to take??!

    Draw up some bits of paper with YES and NO written on them and get people on a day sooner, rather than later, to make their choice. Before millions are spent trying to influence the minds of the people this concerns. Then count up the bits of paper and be done with it. It should take weeks (not years!) if Salmond trusted the public to back him!

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    for gods sake, bring back the british empire & put an and to this sort of nonsense........

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.


    Yep... B&Q have an offer on bricks I believe... Might have enough to fill in the Watford Gap whilst we're at it...

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    If we Scots don't get a referendum soon we may well find that the indigenous Scottish Population will have become so diluted as a result of the very Immigration that Alex Salmond and his cronies so actively promotes that there will be a minority of Scots in Scotland before we even get to vote on it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    It should be a clear yes or no referendum, lets clear this matter up once and for all. Independance brings responsibilities so if it goes wrong forget the BoE acting as lender of last resort, Scotland is on its own. It would also need to take with it its share of the deficit and debt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    228. "The question of Scottish independence can only be answered by the Scottish people living in Scotland."

    So as a non-Scottish person living in Scotland I don't get a say about whether I will need my passport every time I come back from visiting my relatives in England? A little bit of thought please.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    I live in Scotland and i'm actually quite scared because most of our people are bred in support for independance and will vote yes anyway just because they watched Braveheart the night before. The Uk is small, lets not make it smaller.

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    This is a failure of the politicians - I disagreed with devolution being devisive and feared for a possible break-up then. Yet, it was apparently done to prevent any break-up.

    This is happening because of incompetent unscrupulous politicians in Westminster and an attempt to bypass democracy by not allowing all UK a say. Would 51% be enough for a mandate?

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    @206. Yant_the_atheist

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

    Looking at some of the Tories policies and attitudes are you certain there isn't a Tory plot to get a "Yes" vote. That, coupled to the changes
    in the boundaries would (sadly) ensure a Tory government in the remainder of the UK for a long long time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    It's up to the Scottish people, however I do believe those Scot's living in other parts of the UK should be allowed to vote. I'm English I'll support the Scot's whatever they decide.


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