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 499.

    As an Englishman married to a fine Ulster woman I consider my self ' British' first, I would hate the Scots to leave the union, but as earlier posters have pointed out, it's their choice, no one else's.

  • rate this

    Comment number 498.

    "Yes" to indepedendence, and "no" to health care, perscriptions and education bankrolled by other UK countries.

  • rate this

    Comment number 497.

    I'd love to see the real figures and in full - surely they must add up? Why would there be so much drive for Scotlands independance, if our english friends are to be believed, that we really couldn't manage without their overly generous funding? The reports are too conflicting - i've witnessed a TV report that claimed Scotland would be in the top 5 richest counties in the world post independance?

  • rate this

    Comment number 496.

    People in england need to realise this isnt an anti english move albeit there are some idiots in scotland with a strong anti english view there are just as many idiots south of the border with the same wiews against scotland. An independant scotland would survive north sea oil revenue plus tourism engineering and coupled with a history of disovering new technologies would place scotland well

  • rate this

    Comment number 495.


  • rate this

    Comment number 494.

    A more important issue would be who actually gets to vote? As a Scot who has lived in England for over 20 years, I doubt if I shall be invited, but yet I would almost certainly be entitled to a Scottish Passport by birthright, should independence take place. Do I have to wait until independence, before I get the chance to vote on Scottish matters after the deed is already done?

  • rate this

    Comment number 493.

    439. Lijah
    7 MINUTES AGO It's for UK to decide if you have Stirling, The Queen etc. Don't just think you can up sticks and take what you want on the way out without so much as a by-your-leave!

    Why can't Scotland keep Stirling? And shouldn't the residents of that fine town have a say in whether the whole place is to be picked up and put down somewhere else?

    Engage brain before posting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 492.

    Yes, give independence to the Scots as well as the Malvinas, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar etc. The Empire is something of yesterday!

  • rate this

    Comment number 491.

    441 AMcHarg
    Can I suggest you check your facts. RBS is domiciled in Scotland and therefore is Scottish. Where it built up its debts from is immaterial, most of it was related to sub prime debt in the US. Do you think the US should have bailed them out or Holland because they bought ABN Amro?

  • rate this

    Comment number 490.

    If they are given independence, I assume they will be given complete national independence, meaning they will have to gather their own income tax, have their own passport, their own boundary, maintain their own internal commerce, etc, etc..
    I predict a few years of that and most Scots will be begging to come back to England.

  • rate this

    Comment number 489.

    Most of Scotland want to remain within the UK, give me my right to vote in the matter. It won't take me 2 years to decide to vote NO on independence. How about the SNP stops wasting tax payers money on this campaign, a fight they cannot win, and get the vote over with.

  • rate this

    Comment number 488.

    Whether talking about Scottish independence or leaving the European Union, the question of whether it is better for the people will be wholly based on the actual detail of any proposition. If it economically costs too much because of the conditions of the break then it is a clear no & vice versa. There's no process for the break up of the UK or the EU, until there is you can't debate its merits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 487.

    Scotland should retain a portion of RBS commensurate with the percentage of UK taxes tax that come from Scotland if a Yes vote wins and complete independence is granted. Obesity and further education may prove more expensive than you think.

  • rate this

    Comment number 486.

    I am sure that Brian Taylor will come up with some of his usual drivel in support of the union but I am not so sure we will get a chance to make any comments on what he has to say!!!! Hang your heads in shame BBC!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 485.

    With a population of some 5 million (about the same as central london on a working day) how exactly does king salmon expect us to raise sufficient taxes to pay for policing, NHS, roads, Rail and other national infra structure? let alone anything else?

  • rate this

    Comment number 484.

    I just want to know how much money is being wasted on the two campaigns where it could be being spent to help various causes, or reduce the British debt...

  • rate this

    Comment number 483.

    So People of Scotland, think and follow your heart not the guy who just trying to occupy the front seat.

  • rate this

    Comment number 482.

    Once Scotland gains independence, then the next to "break free" will be Staines-on-Thames, followed swiftly by Canvey Island.

    Could not Skye declare UDI? I am sure it could become a massive Tax Haven a-la-Hong Kong. It would easily pay for this by licencing its name to a TV or Internet Phone company.

    Why is the Isle of Wight still attached to Britain? You'd think it would break free...

  • rate this

    Comment number 481.

    too many people on here are deluding themselves with the false premise that you can be scottish and british"

    Rubbish. I can be a Yorkshireman, English, British, European and Human collectively and separately, being proud, and sometimes ashamed, of each at the same time. This is not a zero sum game where affinity or loyalty to one means disloyalty to the others. Life is more complex.

  • rate this

    Comment number 480.

    YES is the answer


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