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 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.


Page 56 of 86


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    09:19: Taking to the slopes

    A new ski resort is expected to open in southern Scotland within weeks.

    The Lowther Hills Ski Club has applied for planning permission to build a clubhouse and a 600m rope tow on the slope near Wanlockhead.

    Lowther Hills in winter

    It is hoping to attract snowsports enthusiasts from across Scotland and the north of England to the village in Dumfries and Galloway.

    It is part of a wider plan to market the area as a year-round sports resort.

    09:11: BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    Hi Kawser here. Heavy rain now clearing north east. Sunny spells and squally showers today, with hail and thunder. Winds still very strong with warnings.

    09:00: Paralysed man walks again John Beattie BBC Scotland

    Wouldn't it be great if this was the first step to a permanent repair? - Paralysed man walks again after cell transplant.

    A paralysed man has been able to walk again after a pioneering therapy that involved transplanting cells from his nasal cavity into his spinal cord.

    Paralysed man walking

    BBC One's Panorama programme had unique access to the project and spent a year charting the patient's rehabilitation.

    You can watch Panorama's To Walk Again this evening at 22:35 on BBC One.

    08:54: BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    Orkney Ferries - no sailings Stromness and North Hoy, and North Hoy and Graemsay, bad weather.

    Banchory B974 closed by overturned car btwn A93 High St/ B976. A car is on its side about 1/2 mile prior to Strachan. No delays reported.

    It is taking approximately 24mins to get to Charing Cross on westbound GW M8 from about junction 10.

    08:52: Weather update James Cook Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: Bridge restrictions. Some trees down. Ferry disruption. All fairly standard for an autumn gale in Scotland so far:

    ex-Hurrican Gonzalo
    08:51: Pedal power

    Edinburgh hopes to move a step closer to hosting a stage of the Tour de France, if funding for other cycling events is approved.

    Councillors will meet later to discuss bringing the Tour of Britain and the Pearl Izumi Tour Series to the city.

    tour de france

    They hope it could pave the way to being part of the world's most famous bike race after they narrowly lost out to Yorkshire as the hosts of the Grand-Depart this year.

    08:47: Tune in Louise White Presenter, Morning Call

    The number of verbal and physical assaults on school staff has risen in nearly half of Scottish council areas, according to statistics. Is a zero tolerance approach the best way to deal with abusive pupils?

    Louise White

    And motorists are facing a major crackdown by police, who will target bad drivers as they focus on roadside re-education. Do you think a warning can stop bad driving?

    The lines are open now, 0500 92 95 00 or text 80295.

    You can listen live here.

    08:39: After the big vote... Graham Fraser BBC Scotland

    The majority of people in Motherwell who voted in last month's referendum supported an independent Scotland. A month after the vote that rejected independence, what is the feeling on the streets of the North Lanarkshire town?

    Peter Ross joined the SNP following the referendum result
    08:36: High winds 'biggest issue'

    As strong winds hit Scotland as the remains of Hurricane Gonzalo pass over the country, Transport Minister Keith Brown has been speaking on Good Morning Scotland about the weather concerns.

    Transport Minister Keith Brown

    "We have some localised issues - for example, fallen trees on some roads," he said. "We have some flooding and some disruption to ferry services, because of the high winds which seems to be the biggest issue just now."

    Mr Brown also advised people using Scotland's transport network today to "give themselves more time".

    "Giving yourself that additional time means you get to your destination safely and on time," he added.

    "For some parts of Scotland, the weather will particularly become more pronounced through the evening hours. The same advice is true."

    08:25: Back-page headlines

    Rangers boss Ally McCoist is optimistic about funding talks between former Ibrox director Dave King and the current board, report The Herald and The Scotsman.

    On-loan Celtic striker Teemu Pukki says he is tempted to stay at Brondby beyond the January transfer window.

    Rangers boss Ally McCoist

    And Sir Alex Ferguson has led the tributes to Glenn Gibbons, the former chief football writer of The Scotsman, who has died aged 69.

    Read the rest of the headlines making the back pages here.

    08:21: Living with a smoker

    Non-smokers who live with a smoker are exposed to three times the officially recommended safe levels of damaging air particles, according to a study.

    The researchers found that living with smokers is the same as living in smoke-free homes in heavily polluted cities such as Beijing or London.

    A man smoking

    They said moving to smoke-free homes could have major health benefits for non-smokers.

    The study, published online in the BMJ's Tobacco Control journal, was carried out by researchers at the universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

    08:15: Wet weather BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    The worst of the wet weather is across the north east at the moment and it will continue to clear away eastwards and be replaced by showers throughout the day.

    We are looking at some snow over the hills, the Highlands and Grampian. There will be a few wintry showers over the highest road routes, but nothing will settle.

    Man with umbrella

    It will stay cold throughout the day - highs of eight or nine degrees, falling to four or five in the showers. It is the winds that are of concern throughout the day. A Met Office Yellow 'Be Aware' warning is in force - gusts of 60 to 70mph across the west, up to 80mph for Orkney, 50-55mph across the central belt.

    Those strong winds will transfer to the north east through the day.

    08:10: Today's papers

    The Scottish Sun and the Daily Record lead with an alleged assault on Celtic goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska.

    Front pages 21 October

    Meanwhile, The Scotsman looks at statistics which it says shows an increase in the number of assaults on teachers.

    Read the rest of our newspaper review here.

    08:03: Travel disruption BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    Blustery, but we're managing! Main problem around many roads from Inverness to Borders are leaves and falling branches around wooded areas. Cal Mac services Arran 08:20 from Brodick & 09:45 from Ardrossan have been cancelled.

    08:01: Weather sparks travel warning

    Winds up to 75mph are expected to hit Scotland as the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo pass over the country.

    The west coast is predicted to be worst affected, with heavy rain also forecast throughout today.

    High waves at Ardrossan

    The Met Office has issued a yellow "be aware" warning of wind throughout Scotland.

    The A87 Skye Bridge has been closed to high-sided vehicles, as has the A90 Forth Road Bridge and there has also been disruption to some ferry services.

    Traffic Scotland has warned of difficult driving conditions and the potential for some disruption on the roads.

    There are reports of fallen trees and other debris on the roads, but police say all major routes are open.

    The strongest gust so far has been 64mph recorded on the Forth Road Bridge shortly after 06:00.

    08:00: Welcome Thomas McGuigan BBC Scotland News

    Good warming and a very warm welcome from the Scotland Live team as we bring you a comprehensive round-up of the latest news, sport, travel and weather between now and 18:00.



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