Speaking at the independence rally in Edinburgh, on Saturday September 22, Scottish National Party leader and First Minister Alex Salmond announced that the SNP has already gathered over 100,000 signatures for the Yes Declaration, which was published when the Yes Scotland campaign launched in May.
The independently-organised rally saw figures from across Scottish society come together to celebrate the opportunities that will arise from Scotland being an independent nation. Other speakers included former Labour MP and former independent MSP Dennis Canavan, independent MSP Margo McDonald, Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie, journalist Ruth Wishart, human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar, and author and broadcaster Cameron McNeish.
Over the summer, SNP members – who have distributed Yes Declaration leaflets and postcards, and been involved in Yes Scotland street stalls the length and breadth of the country – have collected over 100,000 signatures for the Declaration. This is a major milestone and contribution towards the Yes Scotland campaign’s objective of signing up one million supporters in Scotland for the Yes Declaration by the time of the referendum in autumn 2014.
Addressing the rally, Mr Salmond said:
“We know that the most popular option for Scotland’s future is for the Scottish Parliament to make all the decisions, instead of leaving vital powers over the economy, social welfare and pensions in the hands of the Tories at Westminster – where they are presiding over economic stagnation, and making some of the most vulnerable members of society pay the price with cruel cuts.
“The challenge and the opportunity is clear – to translate this desire for democratic control in Scotland into a majority vote for independence in the autumn 2014 referendum.
“The momentum lies with the cause of independence and equality for Scotland. Already, the SNP have signed up over a hundred thousand supporters for the Yes Declaration, as the Yes campaign builds towards a million people by the time of the referendum.
“In devolved areas such as health and education, Scotland already has the powers to decide an independent policy from Westminster
“As a result, Scotland has led the way in the UK by introducing the smoking ban, we passed world-leading climate change legislation, we reintroduced free higher education in Scotland and have a record number of Scottish students at Scottish universities for the coming year, we have delivered 1,000 additional police officers, and our National Health Service is being protected and promoted.
“In all these areas, Scotland is governed incomparably better compared to the position south of the Border. The record of the last 13 years is that self-government is good for Scotland – and the lesson is clear.
“The only way to ensure that Scotland is governed well in all areas is by completing our home rule journey and voting Yes to independence in autumn 2014.”