A campaign in favour of Scottish independence is being launched in Edinburgh today.
There are plans for a referendum on whether Scotland should leave the United Kingdom, although a date for the vote has not yet been agreed and it is not likely to be held until 2014.
The pro-independence campaign is led by Yes Scotland, which includes the Scottish National Party (SNP) as well as other political parties, celebrities and businesses. Some concerns have been raised that campaigning is starting too early, with the pro-union campaign not expected to launch until later this year.
Yes Scotland claims that it is planning the biggest community-based campaign in Scotland’s history, hoping to build support for an independent Scotland by arguing that independence will give Scots power over their economy and political life. Their slogan for the referendum has been revealed as “Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands”.
A YouGov poll commissioned former chancellor Alistair Darling, a Scottish Labour MP, suggests that the Yes campaign may have its work cut out as only one in three of the 1,000 voters surveyed agreed that Scotland should become independent, while 57% were opposed and 10% were undecided. Of those who voted for the SNP at the last election, 58% intend to vote for independence in the referendum and more than a quarter, 28%, say they will vote against.
Voters are sceptical about the economic benefits of independence, with almost half (47%) believing that an independent Scotland would be financially worse off, against 27% who think the country would be better off.
Alistair Darling said that the poll shows that Alex Salmond, the First Minister and Scottish National Party leader, does not speak for Scotland on the issue and in fact independence “is as unpopular as it ever has been”.