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 579.

    Well, I always worry about political parties with 'nationalist' in their name.

  • rate this

    Comment number 578.

    I resent my taxes being spent north of the border subsidising ungrateful people. They will soon be back cap in hand begging to be let back in the Union.

  • rate this

    Comment number 577.

    " tuhwnt
    The UK was "created" to serve the colonial interests of the English monarchy"

    The last truly English monarch was Richard III who (with his brother before him) had more local problems to deal with than the Scots. His successor was the Welsh Tudor dynasty who were followed by the Scottish Stuart dynasty. The UK was legally created under the latter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 576.

    @ david holder .RBS hasnt been a Scottish bank for 200 years . It is owned by shareholders and institutions all over the world . If the Anglo scottish lobby want to debate , they should be more informed of the basics

  • rate this

    Comment number 575.

    1 million scots would be about 20% of the population as scotland has a population of roughly 5 million. So if 20% are for something and 80% either dont care or are against something it's not going to happen. Curious how getting 20% out of 100% is a mile stone for a democratic society since your ignoring the views of the majority.

  • rate this

    Comment number 574.

    I expect this Scot 'yes' vote will be in strong correlation with the likelihood of the return of a Tory govt. By 2014 the writing may be on the wall for either Cameron or Miliband. I along with many others have yet to see any credibility in schoolboy Miliband; on the other hand most Scots won't want another Tory term after this one, so they could yet be off.

  • rate this

    Comment number 573.

    "532.SuperJase1985 Like or loath Salmond, at least he is passionate about Scotland. He want to build a Scandinavian style economy. Consider they have far better standard of living, I find this to be an attract policy. All I want is Scotland to be the best it can be and that doesn't need to be at England's expense"

    That will be after they have paid off their % of the national debt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 572.

    The only people who will be to blame for the break-up of the Disunited Kingdom will be those idiots who voted for the Tory party in England. The bootlicker Lib Dems, whom could be likened to the DNVP in 1933, are finished in Scotland as are the Tories. The SNP are savvy and the two year gap for campaigning may be to see off a few die hard Labourites who will probably be dead by 2014.

  • rate this

    Comment number 571.

    When are the English going to have a referendum? This argument seems to be very one sided. Oh, I forgot the English don't matter, be it in the UK or Europe. Just keep on paying the money out for broken banks.....

    As for Devo max, sorry you're either in or out, no half baked concoction will suffice. Unless of course, we English also get the same.... our own parliament etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 570.

    For me its not a Scottish vs English issue and never was. Those that try to turn it into that do not help the situation. Its an opportunity in my view for both countries to become stronger as we are clearly on two differing paths. If we do become independent I hope the two countries can be the closest of allies in Europe and around the world. So for me its "yes" – yesterday, today and tomorrow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 569.

    I'm not sure that because the Scots and English are so similar that should be a reason for their not being independent.

    The Austrians are very similar to Germans, but they are independent, Flanders is similar to the Netherlands, but they are not the same country.

    Some english comments seem to treat Scotland like a colony, which will play into the hands of the nationalists.

  • rate this

    Comment number 568.

    To my fellow Scots: Why on earth would you possibly want to continue being RULED by an English govt of Toffs? They couldn't give a flying one... What is SO WRONG with wanting to have your OWN country?

    Think about it - Decisions regarding Scotland, Made in Scotland, for the benefit of ALL Scots... Feels nice doesn't it?

    ...And if we balls it up we've nobody to blame but ourselves.

    Yes Yes Yes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 567.

    Let them go but don't let them keep Sterling. We stayed out of the Euro to avoid having currency union with other contries with different fiscal policies, so letting Scotland keep Sterling creates exactly what we rightly wanted to avoid. It will also be great not having Scots voting on things that only affect England in Parliament. Can they bring the referendum forward to June this year?

  • rate this

    Comment number 566.

    The real question I'd like to ask is; why does it need a two year campaign? Surely a year would do it? If it's just something to do with a battle fought between some blokes in chain-mail 700 years ago then it's ludicrous.

    Salmond should strike while the iron is hot, if he genuinely believe it is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 565.

    "Oh please, just keep telling us how much you pay for us, how useless we are, how you hate us, what a joke we are. The SNP won't need to campaign."

    Your response is something that I see all the time from Scots. Any question about post-independence Scotland, any concerns, any doubts are painted as "doing Scotland down" because "they hate us".
    Makes it hard to have a grown up debate!

  • rate this

    Comment number 564.

    The countrys in debt and we are waisting billions on the SNP STUPID MONEY WAISTING DEBATE!
    as to the RBS. its owend by the UK/British taxpayer. so i dont see how you can posibly think the SNP can walk away with it? sometimes i wish scotland had its independence years ago, then we will see the state when they had to raise 45billion to bail it out.
    Like portugal : "Bankcrupt" rings to mind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 563.

    Are we going to let Salmond's ego ruin our country?

  • rate this

    Comment number 562.

    Good luck to 'em. I wish we in England could escape from Westminster.

  • rate this

    Comment number 561.

    It saddens me to see that people are so willing to say yes when there isn't any detailed plans being put forward (by any party yet).

    Using a finite resource as an economic foundation? Hardly a great plan in my books.

    Tourism? Brilliant eh.

    Plans to get investors in? Doesn't set a great example when you slap one of the biggest ones in the face (though it was quite funny, nobody likes Trump).

  • rate this

    Comment number 560.


    "The UK was "created" to serve the colonial interests of the English monarchy and against the interest of ordinary people.

    I hate to break it to you, but King James I was actually King James VI of Scotland before he bacame king of England. Ergo, UK was created to servce the interests of the SCOTTISH monarch.


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