Salmond: The Big Vote

First Minister Alex Salmond

It’s Scotland’s Big Day! Still undecided? Here’s what First Minister Alex Salmond, leader of the Yes Scotland campaign, said about the Independence Referendum in the August issue of The Scots Magazine…

“On September 18, Scotland will decide whether to become an independent country. It is the opportunity of a lifetime.

With even the most ardent unionists now accepting that Scotland has the human and natural resources to be a successful independent country, the only debate now is about who is best to make decisions about Scotland’s future.

Everyone – on both Yes and No sides – agrees we can more than afford to be independent.

We have generated more tax per head than the UK as a whole in each of the last 33 years.

Scotland is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, more prosperous per head than France, Japan and the UK itself.

As global credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s recently observed, even without North Sea oil and gas, an independent Scotland would qualify for their “highest economic assessment”.

But for too many people in Scotland, it doesn’t feel that way. The Westminster system has turned the UK into one of the most unequal societies in the Western world, and we need the powers of independence to create a fairer society.

On sterling, we’ve seen a Tory-led Westminster establishment attempt to bully and intimidate. However, their efforts to claim ownership of sterling have backfired spectacularly with the people of Scotland, who know that the pound is as much theirs as it is George Osborne’s.

A formal currency union with a shared sterling area is overwhelmingly in the rest of the UK’s economic interests following a Yes vote, and the stance of any UK Government will be very different the day after a Yes vote to the campaign rhetoric we are hearing now.

Our opponents also betray a fundamental misunderstanding of what independence for Scotland actually means.

It is about a desire to be responsible, to stand on our own two feet, to make and be accountable for our own decisions, but also to be a good neighbour, making a positive contribution to the world we live in.

There is no reason why an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK cannot continue to share what works well for us all – the currency, the Common Travel Area, the social union of the monarchy and much more.

But equally, there is no reason why the people of Scotland must continue to have key decisions about their lives, such as the renewal of weapons of mass destruction at a cost of £100 billion, made for them by Governments that they did not vote for.

It is on issues like these that Scotland will decide on its future.”