Photos by Robb Mcrae, Illustrations by Alex Aitchison.

 

In under one month, Scotland will have the opportunity to become an independent country.

It is a rare moment. What is rarer is for a country to turn down this opportunity. While the 20th century saw a roch wind of independence movements and the collapse of Empires old and new, the stability of the British Union seemed relatively unshakable despite the eventual concession of devolution.

There will likely be some in September who vote purely out of a sense of patriotic duty, one way or the other. But overwhelmingly it is not a sense of national identity that is driving the independence movement. The legions of volunteers, activists and inspired citizens who are fighting for a Yes vote are doing so overwhelmingly for much simpler and much more urgent reasons. They see this as a fight against poverty, or against the dismantling of the welfare state, or against nuclear weapons, or against the culture of demonisation of immigrants, or against the failure of contemporary politics.

Or, to put it another way, they are fighting for a better country in which to live. The fact that this country is called ‘Scotland’ does not seem to be the decisive factor.

To paraphrase an earlier independence movement – when it becomes necessary to dissolve the political bonds between nations it is necessary to declare the causes which cause you to do so.

Earlier this year, we asked a range of Yes supporters to outline their hopes and ambitions for an independent Scotland. This resulting collection is our own declaration of independence. We do not claim to speak for all of Scotland, or for all of the independence movement. We speak only for ourselves – but we hope that, in doing so, we capture something of the spirit of the times.

This manifesto will be an evolving document. The initial essays are a snapshot of a particular period of time. The fight for a better Scotland, Yes or No, will outlive this particular campaign. To reflect that, our manifesto will be continually updated beyond September, as this great national discussion goes on.