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"”

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"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 619.

    I suspect that a majority of English feel the same way."

    I suspect you are wrong on that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 618.

    I've known many Scottish people in my time and liked them. I will be sad if they decide to go their own way, but, if they do they must understand that many of us will feel betrayed and will not look kindly on their problems when independence proves to be less rosy than many of them imagine. It's a one way ticket that they are being offered.

  • rate this

    Comment number 617.

    Should a YES vote actually happen (and I doubt it will) it will be intersting to see the response in 50yrs time when the oil & gas runs out. What will support the Scottish economy then?

    This seems like a short-term vanity project for Alex Salmond who won't be around to deal with the long term consequences.

  • rate this

    Comment number 616.

    The trouble is that AS is an able politician but too slippery by half. Apportioning the debt on % of GDP is simplistic, if you look at the investment over that last 40 years how much has dispportionly gone to Scotland? The question arises of the Public Sector jobs that will go because services have been hived off to Scotland e.g. Tax offices how is AS going to pay for these?

  • rate this

    Comment number 615.

    Why can't we all just get along. Really, what is the point in splitting up? Scotland has done quite well being part of the UK. Ok, the rest of us gained from 'their' oil, but we subsidised them for quite a while before that and we all 'did quite well' out of the British Empire. [NOTE: Not saying that was fair on the rest of the world, but it's true]

  • rate this

    Comment number 614.

    I can't understand why they Scots would want an angry Tory led England on their Southern Border. Without Scottish MPs, England would be permanently Conservative country. As an Englishman, I think the situation would be great but the Scots really do need to be careful what they wish for. If you keep on blaming us for everything as you have in the past, I may need to get my Red Coat out of storeage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 613.

    How about we break up England into it's original little kingdoms as well?

    This is pointless and petty, we should all be working to improve the country we have, not trying to break away our own little piece because we can't play nice with others. When will this incessant tribalism stop and we act like a grown up intelligent species that works together for common goals.

  • rate this

    Comment number 612.

    How can the economic argument be made? Do you know how much tax you will be paying under an independent country? No, you don't. The rates of tax haven't even been annouced yet let alone how much the SNP anticipate being raised. It would have to be a highly taxed nation to meet the expenditure requirements. Alex Salmond has suddenly hushed in comparing our potential success to Ireland.

  • rate this

    Comment number 611.

    I'd be saddened to see the Scots go, and I think we'd both be poorer for it.
    I don't see it as an English vs. Scottish thing, but a London vs. Scottish thing.
    But then I'm from the North (of England) so maybe have a different perspective.

  • rate this

    Comment number 610.

    585. Herb
    This is what you get, when you have misguided people in England, who vote tory. As the scots , simply won't tolerate this party in regard to being a national government ( or anything else) and whose policies are utterly repellant to the vast vast majority of scots. many scots would rather go independant than suffer the tories a minute longer!

    The SNP got in when Labour were in power

  • rate this

    Comment number 609.

    The biggest risk to the union is English racism and arrogance dominating the debate. The intelligent response from our good neighbors in England, when us Scots debate why would want to be independent is to make us feel somewhat inferior. Rather pathetic really…

    Don’t let your chip on the shoulder decide the union, let us have the debate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 608.

    Whenever I think of an SNP voter - I think of Rab C. Nesbitt

  • rate this

    Comment number 607.

    Our last PM was Scottish, many of the cabinet past, present and no doubt to come are, or will be, Scottish or have Scottish roots. Our monarchy is inter-linked, we have been ruled by a Scots king and his descendants... Perhaps this is more about one man's burning ambition to be the first President of Scotland...

  • rate this

    Comment number 606.

    448.Clive Hamilton

    "I'm interested to hear what Ed Milliband has to say..."

    You're pretty much on your own there, matey! I'd be interested in a socialist opinion, but that's another thing entirely. I also believe that as an independent Scotland will be more closely aligned to Europe then they should all start driving on the wrong side of the road.

  • rate this

    Comment number 605.

    Devolution seems to have been generally good for Scotland. Independence might be as good. Who is going to pay for what will be a hideously expensive and risky change? I support the right to vote for independence but I don't see why I should contribute a brass farthing to pay for the process if Yes wins.

  • rate this

    Comment number 604.

    Scotland will probably vote no, But if they include the English in voting, it'll be a landslide yes. With all the woes in this country, people losing theirs jobs an such, is a vote for a flag waving ceremony what we need write now

  • rate this

    Comment number 603.

    If the proposal for indepence states anything will be shared (sterling, BoE, armed forces, foreign policy etc. etc.) then I think it's only fair that everyone in the UK votes on this. If nothing is shared and it is true independence, then I'm sure the introduction of the Euro as part of its EU membership terms will really help the Scottish economy...

  • rate this

    Comment number 602.

    Seems such a waste of time and resources at the present time. Politicians should be focusing on turning the economies around and getting people in work. A dose of patriotic fervour will not solve the ills of the nations north or south of the border. No doubt another Greece in the making.

  • rate this

    Comment number 601.

    The majority of people I know are completely against it. We don't have the finances to be independent. Many hard working people who will be required to work harder and pay for the many work shy/drug users/non-working single mothers/benefits scroungers etc brought up to claim from the system as a normal way of life. Will there be a website so that you can also vote NO for a clear comparison?

  • rate this

    Comment number 600.


    Your comments are ill-informed. 15 mins basic research on the web would show you that England does not subsidise Scotland - when you factor in the oil revenue that goes directly to Westminster - Scotland pays it's fair share overall. Also tax is not just raised by the population - Companies also pay a huge amount of corporation tax to the govt which you have failed to consider.


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