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Independence campaign for Scotland launched

Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister, attends the Yes campaign launch.

Story highlights

  • The "Yes Scotland" campaign seeks support for independence from the United Kingdom
  • A referendum on the issue is due to take place in 2014
  • Campaigners for independence say Scotland will be better off on its own
  • Prime Minister David Cameron says he is 100% committed to keeping the UK together

A campaign to win Scotland's independence from the United Kingdom was launched Friday in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The "Yes Scotland" campaign wants to "build a groundswell of support for an independent Scotland" ahead of a referendum on the issue in 2014.

Its organizers have urged people to put their name to a "Yes Declaration" posted on the campaign website.

The text reads: "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."

Others want Scotland to maintain its historic presence in the United Kingdom.

Prime Minister David Cameron traveled to Scotland in February to make the case for keeping the United Kingdom together.

He said then: "The fight is now under way for something really precious: the future of our United Kingdom. I am 100% clear that I will fight with everything I have to keep our United Kingdom together. To me, this is not some issue of policy or strategy or calculation -- it matters head, heart and soul."

A key argument for keeping the United Kingdom together is that it is stronger and has more clout as a single entity, he said.

"Inside the United Kingdom, Scotland -- just as much as England, Wales and Northern Ireland -- is stronger, safer, richer and fairer," Cameron said.

However, the campaign for independence is backed by the Scottish National Party (SNP), which says it will make the country fairer and more prosperous.

"These are exciting times for Scotland as we work to build a better nation. The Yes Scotland campaign will be about the people of Scotland, and how being independent can make life better for families and individuals across our country, " said SNP Campaigns Director Angus Robertson ahead of its launch.

A poll conducted by the YouGov website in January found that Scots are in favor of granting the Scottish government more responsibility and power, but most do not want total independence from the rest of the United Kingdom.

The wording of the referendum has not yet been decided.

The UK Parliament's Scottish Affairs Committee said in an interim report this month that based on the evidence it had received, it had "no choice but to conclude that the question currently proposed by the Scottish Government is biased."

Scotland's devolved government is responsible for many issues of day-to-day concern to the people of Scotland, including health, education, justice and transport, but other matters are decided by the UK Parliament.

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