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 1699.

    I think the following points need to be made:

    1. The referendum question should be independently devised, not by people who are either for or against independence.
    2. Salmond often seems to imply that those Scots who are against Independence are somehow less Scottish than he is. Nonsense
    3. There is no need for 2 years to make the argument for Independence, this is ridiculous.

    Alba gu bràth!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1698.

    When Scotland becomes Independant, where will Trident go after it sails out the Clyde? Nuclear Non Proliferation Law states you can only maintain the facilities you have not build new ones. How will England with a landmass only slightly larger than Scotland (but massively overpopulated and polluted) meet it's energy requirements or even it's renewable targets it has signed up to (it cannot) Oil?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1697.

    "I was denied free Uni education because I was an "English" student; I'm British."

    You were denied free education as your home address would have been outwith Scotland. Anyone who lives outside Scotland has to pay, same as Scottish students going to uni in other countries have to is not about your nationality it's about where you live!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1696.

    #1673 Derek said -

    A vote for independence is NOT A VOTE FOR THE SNP.

    It is to have the ability to elect a government accountable to Scotland, voted for by people living in Scotland, and not being elected by the residents of the other country in the Union.

    Kind of fundamental to democracy, don't you think?

    There will be a general election in Scotland soon after a successful yes vote in 2014

  • rate this

    Comment number 1695.

    For goodness sake! Why oh why are people of the opinion that Scotland will have to re-apply for membership of the EU. If Scotland does become an independent country then surely the UK membership as was no longer applies? Then we will be in a position of Scotland and the remaining counties which compromise the UK as is, would need to apply? More scare mongering by the unionist state at present.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1694.

    I don't see how the economic argument is won? SNPs Policy clearly states should they win independence they would take a portion of the national debt (This will be atleast £300bn given Debt levels) then they wont afford the people currently employed in UK forces for Scotland so thats more money plus setting up new public buildings/departments then take away the extra £3bn the UK treasury gives.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1693.

    I did not realise how patriotic must be deep down till the SNP lot began to drag Scotland into the mud for their own self-glorification.

    Scoltland, the majority will defend you!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1692.

    # The Realist... or unrealist? I would like to know if you have any evidence, and or legal backing for assuming such circumstances. I would sincerely doubt that even the SNP would be persuing independence under those circumstances... Nonsense and scaremongering to suggest that. Oh and btw the legal stand point is scotland can keep the pound given that it has a right to. It is scotlands currency

  • rate this

    Comment number 1691.

    1672hippoellie "Scotland doesn't have any gold or other precious metals it cannot issue promisory notes- and it has no right to a share of the stuff in the BoE"

    I'm fairly sure you have no understanding of how Central banks work!More scaremongering I think

    The Bank of Scotland founded 17 July 1695 was the first bank in Europe to successfully issue paper currency redeemable for cash on demand

  • rate this

    Comment number 1690.

    In response to:

    "1540. smilereg
    If the Scots want to go their separate ways and there is 51% of all eligible voters,not 51% of those that bother to vote,in favour then let them do so".

    No, over 50% of the poll. That's the way things are normally done.Or are you hoping for another nasty undemocratic carve-up like in 1979?

    "Let them do so"? Gosh, awfully kind of you to grant your permission.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1689.

    1661 In the same petty vein , the first problem Salmond would inherit is where to find employement for all the redundant people who currently work at Faslane, Rosyth and which support the local economies,etc. Sure some will be looking after the small selection of military ships retained but nowhere near the current level.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1688.

    Scotland will become a socialist hell hole and anyone with the ability to do so will move away. If I were English I would certainly be hoping for a Yes vote.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1687., when do the English get to vote for (or against) dissolution of the Union?

    Or is "separatism" only for the Scots, Welsh and Ulster Catholics? (oh, and maybe Cornwall!)

    FREEDOM for the English! Hoorah!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1686.

    So if the Scots vote "yes" they get no democratic vote over the monetary policy of their government (that still takes place in London and is voted for by ONLY non-Scots).


    The tories will win every election in England.

    So what happens is that the Tories make the Scots suffer endlessly (monetarily) and the Scots can't even vote to stop them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1685.

    No EU money
    As a 'net contributor' won't be a problem

    No UN protection
    Historically the only nation that attacked us was England. And we have Trident!

    No Commonwealth benefits

    England will be defenceless and bankrupt without Scotland

  • rate this

    Comment number 1684.

    It's understandable that Scots want to be free of the right wing politics that has held sway in England for a long time. Many in Wales feel similarly - they don't vote Tory in any numbers yet they have to put up with Tory policies designed to favour the South East of England.
    Scots and Welsh Govts battle against Tory cuts to make life more fair.
    Independence can't be worse than Tory rule.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1683.

    Tory and Labour Scottish MPs will not be able to stand for Parliament in London, this is the real reason why so many MPs oppose an independent Scotland. With all of this money being spent ( wasted ) on a YES or NO vote why not just ask News International and Rupert Murdoch what he thinks. Thats what several MPs have done so far so why change a winning formula.

  • Comment number 1682.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1681.

    @1615 Davser

    Come on, you're just making stuff up now.

    Fred Goodwin and his cronies in Embra forced through the purchase of a rotten bank (ABN Amro), against the advice of his due diligence team AND his treasury department because he wanted to show what a big player he was.

    That broke RBS. End of story. You can't start fabricating fairytales because it suits your point of view.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1680.

    1670 hafpipe
    Or do you want frankfurt to dictate your budget? Mr Salmond was kean on joining the euro at one point and they could be dictating to you more than Westminster does
    1675 yrksvillan
    Scotland will have to offer free uni to english/welsh if they split and join the EU.


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