Nations celebrate the day they become independent. We only have to look across the Atlantic to the USA where, today, the whole nation is coming together to mark 4th of July, or American Independence Day. Across the world, whether it is Canada Day or Australia Day, independence is something that is celebrated with pride and confidence. Scotland will be no different.
The world will stop and notice when Scotland becomes independent. Why? Because three-quarters of the world’s nations have become independent too. They know what it means and the benefits it brings. That includes 50 independent nations in the Commonwealth. These countries are part of one Commonwealth family – nations that keep cherished links of friendship and kin with the rest of the UK, just as Scotland will. Being independent was a step forward for those nations and not one of them has ever wanted to go back to being governed from London.
By becoming independent, we are making history. These are exciting times and ones that we will look back on with pride in the years to come. We are opening a new chapter in Scotland’s story.
And the best bit is that Scotland’s destiny is what we make it. The best way to predict our own future is to create our own future. Just like the USA, or Canada, or Australia, Scotland’s got what it takes – each and every one of us – to be independent. Together, we have the talent, resources and ambition to make Scotland the fairer and more successful nation we all know it can be.
Of course, while we will go all out to celebrate our Independence Day, I am determined that the process of becoming independent is one that we will also celebrate and enjoy. It will be characterized by the positive and energising tone of the Yes Scotland campaign.
Yes Scotland will be the smiling campaign because we have a great story to tell of opportunity and potential. The whole driving force behind Scotland’s independence movement is a belief that our country can be better, that we do have the creative energy and aspiration to make the most of the many advantages we have been given. Yes Scotland won’t be engaging in the Punch and Judy of politics as usual, instead we will be speaking to people directly about what being independent means for them and their families. Let's make our own choices and live by our own values.
And, we will also be a campaign for all of the people in Scotland. Already Yes Scotland is the fastest growing campaign in the country, with people from all walks of life looking to be part of this exciting project. You can play your part today by signing our own Independence Declaration.
We are looking to people from all political backgrounds, and none, to become involved, either directly with Yes Scotland, or in their own way. I enjoyed reading a blog by former Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, Andrew Page, setting out his thoughts about independence. This is exactly the sort of contribution the debate needs, because the reality is that there are people at all levels in the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives who do believe in an independent Scotland – including most importantly many thousands of Labour, Lib Dem and Tory voters! Yes Scotland will be reaching out to these people in the months ahead, and we plan to attend not just the SNP and Green Party conferences, but also the Labour, Lib Dem and Tory conferences in Scotland later this year and at the start of next year. Just as Andrew sets out a Liberal case for independence, I know there is, for example, also an equally powerful Labour case for independence.
It will be a few years before we get to celebrate our own independence, after a successful Yes vote in 2014. So in the meantime, let's send our best wishes to our many good friends in the United States and wish them all a very happy Independence Day.