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 479.

    All these people going on about taking stuff out of Scotland - you don't think that maybe they might just like every other European country, be able to keep their own military and they might switch too and use the Euro? You don't think they might do much better in industry becuase they are not so ridiculously class-divided and have a gov't loyal to it's people, unlike UK?

  • rate this

    Comment number 478.

    It is quite wrong to say that "independence is as unpopular as it's ever been". Obviously he doesn't spend a lot of time talking to Scottish people. The independence debate is very much on the agenda here in a way it has never been before. Like many I was agnostic on the issue, but the more I see the divergence between the political and social priorities the more I support it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 477.

    people in England who complain about RBS have to realise that RBS has paid back its government loan while northern rock has lost tax payers millions

  • rate this

    Comment number 476.

    2 Hours ago

    My priority is to the rid the Clyde of weapons of mass destruction and for there to be no more illegal wars in my name. So I'll be voting yes.
    I sincerely hope this will spur the rest of the UK to ditch its nuclear weapns and illegal wars too."

    It should do, those illegal wars were instigated by a cabinet largely of Scots (including 2 Prime Ministers)!

  • rate this

    Comment number 475.

    Most importantly, would Berwick Rangers still play in Scotland?

  • rate this

    Comment number 474.

    Say Yes to your country, Say Yes to Freedom, Say Yes to your Future, and Say Yes to Independence. Free Scotland.

  • rate this

    Comment number 473.

    That’s a bloody good idea and no gates

  • rate this

    Comment number 472.

    #339..look at Ireland
    OK. lets look,
    Avg salary Poverty Crime GDP per cap
    UK 26k 22% High 36k
    Ireland 31k 6% Low 39k

    Ireland wins :)

    ps I`m from Switz

  • rate this

    Comment number 471.

    The SNP has never forgiven Westminster for their perceived 'theft' of North Sea oil revenues.Speaking as a Scot,I think they are a childish,one issue party (it's oor oil) who blame the UK government for all Scotland's ills.Salmond's loony anti-nuclear - let's cover Scotland in wind turbines policies will be the ruin of us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 470.

    Why doesn't the referrendum question just ask "do you hate the English?" I think all of us in England know the answer. After that Scotland can hopefully move on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 469.

    It's just like the Falklands debate. Let the people who live there vote and decide. No skin off my nose. What's with all the hate?

  • rate this

    Comment number 468.

    If their approach is "Look at all these bad things that England have done to us. Wouldn't you love to have independence (and your own oil)!?" then they will get some Yes votes. What they (or someone) needs to do is provide the vast array of negatives to becoming independent.

    Vote with the head, not a swayed heart.

    I hope that our little island remains united as we are much stronger that way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 467.

    As an Englishman, will be cheering on the Yes campaign.

    Good luck to you all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 466.

    Another clever little ruse from Alex Salmond ....'signing the pledge' in an attempt to get people to firm up their support before they have even heard the arguments pro and agin. Surely this has to be a lot more informed than just an emotional rallying of the Scottish people.... I suppose an alternative pledge for those who believe in the union could be set up as well,though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 465.

    I hope Salmond understands that NO means NO.

    When we reject separation, I hope that is the end of the story and this independence issue does not continue until we agree with Salmond

  • rate this

    Comment number 464.

    Ah yes it looks like knock the Scottish day again, the anglo-saxon germanians with their HRH (kaiser) have very little to shout about with their fantastic gov't who care passionately for the English people I think the word for today is austerity! Their latest offerings are cooked GDP figures & twice as high forcast 4 mass immigration. Now who in their right mind would want to be a part of that?

  • rate this

    Comment number 463.


    The most sensible comment on this so far.

    The cultural argument is a nonsense and the financial one is flawed, all this talk of Scotland over contributing to the treasury is so much BS. At best it's a zero equation, which a few months ago the SNP were ecstatic to find out.

    Pointless. Scotland will not be a new Norway whatever Wee Eck thinks. New Ireland seems more likely.

  • rate this

    Comment number 462.

    The motivation for many yes voters will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to dump Westminster for good

    This chance will never repeat itself, certainly not in our own lifetimes

    Westminster won't even let the British people vote on their own participation in Europe

    A clean break. A new start. A future as equal partners on this Island.

  • rate this

    Comment number 461.

    No doubt this 'independence' will be funded with money borrowed from the banks...

  • rate this

    Comment number 460.

    Personally, I reckon the hectoring, patronizing tone of some posters will do more for the independence campaign than the SNP could.

    Having Tony Blair (potentially), at the helm of the NO campaign won't hurt them either.

    I look forward to serving just how it turns out.


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