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 459.

    You're kidding, right? The whole world will rush to set up fully-fledged embassies and new HQs in Edinburgh? You mean like those vast Embassy Districts in the small baltic states?
    There'll be a few new consulates in and around Charlotte Square or Holyrood...Sorted!
    On the flip side, Scotland would have to bear the cost of establishing its own consulate network wordwide. Ah! idealism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 458.

    Mark F

    "Oh and as Scotland isn't in the EU, you can take back your workforce so we can sort our unemployment problems our."

    Scots workers are the least of your problem. Yesterday's migration figures showed that 600,000 new immigrants came to the UK last year.
    Oh and that does not include immigrants from within the EU, who are not even counted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 457.

    I am English living in England.

    And I fully support Scottish independence. So tired of their whining and moaning. So tired of their Scottish Labour MPs voting on matters that are nothing to do with them and so tired of Scotland returning Labour members of parliament.

    I see only good from Scotland going and I look forward to it.


  • rate this

    Comment number 456.

    438 ronnie, Sorry, but I am definately British, and English, and I have a loyalty to both, so yes you can have a combination of the two.

  • rate this

    Comment number 455.

    One comment: No.

  • rate this

    Comment number 454.

    Shetland oil for Shetland people. Not Holyrood.

  • rate this

    Comment number 453.

    I think the SNP will have a bitter disappointment on their hands when they realise that people in Scotland from all walks of life are just not that interested in a free Scotland, I personall have not met anyone who has said otherwise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 452.

    Salmon just wants to be king. He is probably the most disingenous politician in our isles, and that is saying something. he says they have powerful and rich opposition. He runs scotland the poor wee thing. Trust him at your peril.

    He will want another referendum if he loses anyhow. Devo-max, is he not confident enought to win.

  • rate this

    Comment number 451.

    I'm all for this. You can have RBS back (once you repay English taxpayers); you can have the oil back (it's running out anyway) and you can have your workforce back (English jobs for English workers).
    See ya!

  • rate this

    Comment number 450.

    It seems far more people who are against independence chant the "Freedom" line than those who are for it. Perhaps those who are for independence see that it's not about chocolate box nationalism, but for what's best for the people living here?
    To support independence because of mindless nationalism is idiotic, but to go against it because you believe that's all it is, is equally idiotic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 449.

    Agree that Scotland should be allowed to go and keep revenues from oil while paying UK back for RBS and the BOS part of deficit that required Lloyds TSB to be bailed out. I am also assuming that we would be closing all government offices, RAF and naval bases up there too and distributing jobs amongst the remaining members of the UK.?

  • rate this

    Comment number 448.

    I'm interested to hear what Ed Milliband has to say. At the moment the Scottish MP's give Labour a distinct advantage over the Tories in Westminster.

    If they go, then what?

    Personally I'm ambivient to Scotland going - what I've never undertood from the Scots is why so many seem to hate the English??

  • rate this

    Comment number 447.

    For me if Scotland go it will be a sad day. I have never felt English and proud to be British. Commonality of unity is strength and in these days an admirable aim, I can't imagine that division leads on to better things.

  • rate this

    Comment number 446.

    It is up to the other members of the union on whether the Scots should be able to leave, and the terms on which they can do, is not a popular one with the moderator. Full referendum in all member states. The majority of people in the UK would be ambivalent. Balance should be done on finances. From start of union, If Scotland has taken more (incl. RBS) they should pay back + interest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 445.

    perfectly happy for Scotland to be independent, as long as this means we stop subsidising their free prescriptions, higher education etc

  • rate this

    Comment number 444.

    NO, NO, NO

  • rate this

    Comment number 443.

    77.Joseph Madden

    Of course scotland can still use sterling; they just get no say in how it is administered; no say on interest rates; no say on monetary policy. Their borrowing costs would be astronomic due to poor credit ratings because they cannot control their own currency. Just look at what is happening in S. Europe. The banks in scotland would only be branches of english banks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 442.

    ... and will Scotland apply for membership of the European Community, The €uroZone, The Commonwealth, or will it become yet another insular part of the continent and the world? And how will it finance itself? With diminishing North Sea Gas revenues? Sale or Royal Residences? or increased taxes?? Come on, people of Scotland... THINK!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 441.

    People are easily confused. The RBS isn't just a Scottish bank. In fact, most of the board at the RBS are English; most of the assets and liabilities are not Scottish-based. It's completely ignorant to suggest that all its debt was run up by Scotland, purely on the basis that it has "Scotland" in its name. Grow up and learn about economics before you spout this rubbish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 440.

    416 0xdeadbeef
    And who exactly has stated that? The SNP/Scottish Parliament? Of course they would never manipulate the figures. I contacted the GERS publisher and they didn't reply to any questions on how they got their figures.Have you read the Barnett Formula? I have and Scottish funding doesn't pay for a whole raft of UK expenditure let alone the cost of splitting.


Page 64 of 86


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