Scotland's date with destiny: Thursday 18th September, 2014

Campaigners for Scottish independence help spread word of when Scotland's
historic independence date will be held

Scottish independence: Scotland’s date with destiny: September 18, 2014

by Jo Edwards

Scotland’s historic independence referendum will be held on Thursday 18th September, 2014 Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond announced in a passionate speech this afternoon in the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh.

The referendum will decide whether or not the Scottish electorate wants Scotland to become an independent nation or remain ruled from Westminster.

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Mr Salmond’s announcement coincides with a UK Budget roundly described as an ‘austerity Budget’.  He is expected to argue that independence offers opportunities to the Scottish people and contrast that vision with the austerity measures in Chancellor Osborne’s budget designed to address the UK’s increasing debt mountain.

Mr Salmond has released the eagerly awaited date that the Scottish people can finally decide the future of their country - the population have never been directly asked if they wanted to form a Union with England or the rest of the UK nor were they ever consulted in relinquishing Scotland’s independent membership of the international community of nations.

Since the announcement that a referendum would take place, politics has been consumed by the lengthy standoff between First Minister Alex Salmond and the UK government over such issues as the date of the referendum, the question to be put to voters, and the terms of the vote.

In February 2010, the Scottish government published a draft bill on the referendum - saying voters would and should have the option of voting for either new powers for the Scottish parliament or full independence from the UK. However, as pro-Union parties had a majority in Scotland’s parliament there was no avenue for the SNP minority government to hold the referendum.

That all changed in May 2011 when the SNP stormed to a landslide victory securing so securing a mandate to hold the referendum with leader Alex Salmond calling the majority win both "a victory for a society and a nation".

Since then, the first minister has resisted Unionist pressure to reveal the exact date for the referendum on Scottish independence – due to it being “the biggest decision that Scotland has made for 300 years” - despite pressure from Prime Minister David Cameron to have it "sooner rather than later" – instead maintaining that the date would be sometime in autumn 2014 .

Speculation remained rife however – with reports that the "date with destiny" would be October 18 (Coinciding with the death of Scot’s Queen Margaret in 1541). Although never confirmed, it didn’t stop the media speculating the date would fall on a Saturday - during school half-term holidays.

Controversies were also raised over holding the vote earlier, avoiding entangling it in a turbulent UK election with a possibly close outcome – or three days of remembrance planned to mark the centenary of World War One, and all things 'British', on the 4th August.

Similar speculation surrounded a September vote as this would have  followed on more closely from the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and commemorations for the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.

But the announcement has come today as the SNP administration see it as the "next step in the process", on their and Scotland’s terms, and not down to external pressures.

Describing the announcement of the referendum date as a major milestone on the journey to independence, Yes Scotland Chief Executive Blair Jenkins said: "September 18 next year represents a huge opportunity for Scotland because on that day we can move Scotland on to a new and better path.    
"Over these next 18 months, Yes Scotland will have two clear and simple messages. First, we have to be independent because Westminster isn't working for Scotland. The "bedroom tax" is just the latest in a series of polices engineered in London and endured in Scotland.
"The reality is that the Westminster system has created one of the most unequal societies in the developed world which means that millions of people in Scotland are suffering financial pain while not getting fair reward for the contribution they make. This must end.   
"And, second, it is only with a Yes vote that Scotland's future will be in Scotland's hands. That means we can build a society that reflects our priorities. Scotland is wealthy enough to be a fairer nation and a Yes vote in 2014 will enable us to create the fairer and more prosperous nation we all know in our heart and in our heads that Scotland should be."
For the Scottish Greens, Patrick Harvie said:

"Now we have the date for our diaries the effort to persuade those who are undecided must focus on the needs of real people and not just those with loud voices and deep pockets. It is increasingly clear Scotland's aspirations are not being reflected by Westminster, and the time has come to shape our own affairs.

"Scottish Greens believe transformation is needed in our society and our economy, closing the equality gap and managing our resources so they sustain future generations. We believe many more Scots can be be persuaded to vote Yes by a positive vision of a Scotland that serves the people's interests, rather than corporate interests."

Whether Scots will vote for that vision or remain ruled from London now depends on who can convince the electorate. The phoney war is over and the battle of ideas commences today.




Scottish News News Scotland

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published this page in News 2013-03-21 14:16:40 +0000