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 1719.

    I believe that more people have left Scotland since the end of the world war 2 than currently live in it. Scotland is one of the few countries in Europe not have seen a substantial increase in population since 1945.
    Since the middle of the18th century Scotland’s population has gone from 1.25 million to 5 million today and England’s from 5.5 to 55 million.
    Why the relative difference?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1718.

    In response to:
    "1687. JensonMcLewis, when do the English get to vote for (or against) dissolution of the Union? "

    When you vote for a party that will allow you such a vote. If no suitable party exists, start one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1717.

    The Union has been a great thing, why ruin it for the greed and vainity of a few politicians.
    Although i find it quite funny that, the Shetlands and the Isles of Skye have already said they would choose to remain part of the Union, not part of an independant Scotland (oh bugger, there goes the oil money Mr Salmond)

  • rate this

    Comment number 1716.

    @Craig Actually Her Majesty's Treasury (British Treasury) in London decides who can and can't have the pound, "Well we used it before" doesn't hold up in International Law, Not to worry property will be devalued when you're converted to the dying Euro

  • rate this

    Comment number 1715.

    As an Englishman I believe that the UK remaining united WAS the best way forward, however as it currently stands I wish that I could vote for Scottish independence. Currently the Scottish (and Welsh) have a disproportionate influence on England with then having their own assemblies and still voting on English matters.

    (We need more than 400 characters to express a meaningful argument)

  • rate this

    Comment number 1714.

    1698.The Dude abides
    "How will England ... meet it's energy requirements "

    Probably continue to import energy from France, Wales & Scotland as it currently does. Shortfall is only 4% when I check 6 months ago, but you present the point I do - the infrastructure of the UK/GB evolved as a whole so its breakup will have unforeseen effects.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1713.

    Let the Scots be Independent if they so wish but what to do if the turn out is 30%? Will they rerun the vote? This referendum needs to be properly set up and run and most importantly taken out of the hands of politicians!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1712.

    I want to know why after not seeing Benefit Betty smile for 59 years, she's suddenly being portrayed on the BBC as always doing so ?

    Propoganda ?

    Maybe she's thinking about how much money her ancestors made from the people of Scotland ?

    Not anymore, my dear.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1711.

    England expresses an accelerating right wing agenda, allowing the rich to buy better health, education, and access to the law..... The English put up with it, but then they effectively voted for it, which is my point really.
    This type of action is exactly why Scotland may exit. Some accuse 'yes' voters of being crudely nationalistic, but only independence can keep right wing poison at bay.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1710.

    Would be sorry to see our Scottish friends leave the Union for effectively the ego of a few Scottish politicians. If they do go, then they must take on their share of the national debt, create their own currency (or use the Euro), not expect to use English services (armed, health, civil etc), and above all, promise not to come back to England for a hand out if / when their economy collapses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1709.

    England will be much better off without Scotland. Time to get rid of the Welsh and Irish too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1708.

    The Scots can have independence, but they will have to use their own currency and all debt will be split (including the Scottish Banks that caused nearly all the problems).

    If they want to join the EU they will have to adopt the Euro, good luck with that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1707.


    I am however getting weary of subsidising Scotland, Wales and Ireland

    Strange this. Day after day after day I hear, on the news, things that England gets or will get (and the other countries do not or will not). I presume the taxes of the Scots, Welsh and Irish also pay for these?

    Or is it that the BBC only report English issues?

  • Comment number 1706.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1705.

    The Tories will create independence, it's a terrible but inevitable situation. They seem so stubborn about taking the advice of the IMF, Europe, USA, and all the independent advisors that their austerity plan isn't and was never going to work - yet they keep going with it....

    It will cripple England, it's time many of us leave I think....

  • rate this

    Comment number 1704.

    HELEN-of-TROY @ 1693

    Bit of a mud slinger yourself, Chill out or you may bust a blood vessel!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1703.

    1666. Steve Taylor
    1661 Shift That Pardigm

    I'm sure Cornwall will love trident and all the jobs that go with it.
    We'll see.

    My money is on common sense which is conspicuous by its absence in the 'Trident' project but prominent throughout Cornwall in such matters.

    I think you'll need far more than mere money to inflict that obscene weapon of mass destruction upon Cornwall.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1702.

    1676 danceswithhaggis
    On 10% basis (population %) you would also have pay out 13.75bil for Pensions, 4.5bil for defence and 11bil for welfare. All currently paid by the UK government not the Scottish.Lets not forget the 225bil exposure to pfi so your chunk is 22.5bil and 1bil or so to the EU.
    1692 Craig
    have seen u what has happened to Greece when they have a currency they have no control over?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1701.

    1682.DickieT "In the fleet of nations, Scotland is a pocket - battleship: Internationally we make our mark: in victory, we are the greatest! In defeat we know how to celebrate: In attitude only look back to go forward: In essence, Scots are trustworthy, inventive, co-operative, organised and hardy."

  • rate this

    Comment number 1700.

    Time now for Scots to 'seize the day'; to stand or fall by our own efforts. Historically independent in the past; we can find our own place in the world again. If we are successful, we will be free to pat ourselves on the back; if we fail, we cannot then turn to blame: 'the English', 'Westminster' (of whichever political hue), or anyone else south of the border - 'Independence Not Dependence'.


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