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.

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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 639.

    I USED to believe STRONGLY in Scottish Independence , from boyhood , having campaigned for it and out leaflets etc at school , as well as our family business..... UNTIL Alex Salmond and his ilk appeared in the Scottish National Party . There are now far too many Labour rejects , greenies and various other loonies in the party now , to have any faith in it , them or what they stand for !

  • rate this

    Comment number 638.

    Is there anything to stop Salmond types calling a referendum every few years till they get the result they want?

    How about a clause saying that 'no' means 'no' and that it'll be the end of the matter until 100 years has passed.

    If the result is 'yes' it'll be because of all the spite and nastiness that Salmond has whipped up on both sides, not for any sane reason.

  • rate this

    Comment number 637.

    at the end of the day the oil and gas scotland have have all been paid by taxpayers and because scotland makes up 9% of the population they only own 9%. and what about an army debts. I just dont get why a we should separate OUR great island. To all those Scots there isn't a gap between england and scotland the gap is between london and the rest of the country dont leave and vote NO.

  • rate this

    Comment number 636.

    @The Realist

    What are you prattlig on about. You have obviously never heard of successor states.

    Also, is the EU really going to ditch the biggest oil producer in Europe?

    And since when did having a military be a pre-requisite fo UN membership?

    Your post is embarrassing in its ignorance.
    And it is people living in Scotland which includes 750k or so born in England. Not just 'Scots'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 635.

    Surely the English should be given an opportunity to dump Scotland out of the United Kingdom. They've frankly never wanted to be part it and we would be better off without them. And while you're at it you can pay us out for the bail out of RBS and could let us know how you managed to mantain a discriminatory education policy to English university students while the rest of the EU can ride for free

  • rate this

    Comment number 634.

    as an Englishman good luck Scotland with your voting. One way or the other the world will be in a mess. Governments have created more problems than solutions and will continue to do so for a long time being in the UK or not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 633.

    "Talk about utter ignorance. Scotland can use Sterling as it wants and an independent Engladn couldn't stop them."

    True but your currency will be controlled from London. Fiscal and economic policy will be carried out without any consideration for Scotland. Salmond won't tell you these things of course.

  • rate this

    Comment number 632.

    As a scotsman living in england who makes frequent visits north of the border to visit family, I am glad to say I do not know of a single scottish person who actually thinks scotland will be better off on it's own.

    This is a vote spawned by pure nationalism and does not have the welfare of it's citizens at it's heart. Hopefully most scottish voters will realise this.

  • Comment number 631.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 630.

    I do not consider myself English, although I live in the country. But this horsetripe that people post about Scotland would be so better off, and the English are so bad, really annoys me. I for one couldn't give a monkey's, if Scotland gain indepenance. Maybe they can clean up some of their cities, maybe the english will erect a wall to keep them out. Who really gives a damn!

  • rate this

    Comment number 629.

    572.ghallid Labour are alive and well in Scotland! Far from dieing - Labour won Glasgow by a big margin and the SNP% vote dropped by a quarter from its peak. If the SNP can't win Glasgow there is no hope for the Yes Campaign even it lasts 2 years!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 628.

    I still have no idea what Scottish independence means in terms of RBS, the national debt, the military, the oil, passports, currency, parliament (do we allow Scots to sit in UK parliament?), border controls etc.

    I don't see how there can be a yes/no vote if nobody knows exactly what 'yes' means.

  • Comment number 627.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 626.

    What a waste of time, energy and money. I wish they would just ask us now who thinks indepence is for the best. So the sensible majority that do not support indepence can vote no and move on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 625.

    I predict a HUGE yes vote

    Anyone with an ounce of sense would run far and long away fro the english

  • rate this

    Comment number 624.

    This Welshman wishes Scotland the best of luck for the referendum. I wish we in Wales were a bit closer to where Scoland are at the moment, but hopefully our time to regain our independence will come soon, especially if Scotland secures a "Yes" vote.

  • rate this

    Comment number 623.

    You relies not only can Scotland still have sterling as its currency, That all the money for the SNP YES campaign is coming from SNP party and not the government?

    Some people on here should just go away and stop commenting on things they clearly don't understand - Or alternatively go and research it and then come back and comment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 622.

    This is no joke. Nationalists with their opportunistic, self-serving politcs could destroy Scotland.
    I know it is unlikely they will triumph, but I feel sick at the very thought.
    Still, cheer up. Salmond will talk (and grin) himself into unpopularity by 2014.

  • rate this

    Comment number 621.

    As a gesture of goodwill at Independence we are going to offer you our football team, for free.
    We will defray all costs of transportation, one way bus fares etc

    In our future merger with the Faroe-Islands we feel that this will give us the basis of a world beating football team far in excess of what we currently have

    Sincerely, and with gratitude
    Alex Salmond

  • rate this

    Comment number 620.

    As a Scot I sadly want independence, I say sadly because I feel it's something we have been driven to. The British government has never really cared about us for quite some time - Labour were the only ones who even looked at us over the last 30 years and that's because they have a powerbase in Glasgow.

    Scotland NEEDS it's own governance, 100% self-governed. Again though, it's sad but true.


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