Yes Scotland

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Yes Scotland Limited
Yes Scotland logo.svg
Formation 25 May 2012
Type Company limited by guarantee
Registration no. SC422720
Focus Scottish independence referendum, 2014
Headquarters 136 Hope Street, Glasgow, G2 2TG
Key people Blair Jenkins, Chief Executive

Yes Scotland was the organisation representing the parties, organisations, and individuals campaigning for a Yes vote in the Scottish independence referendum, 2014. It was launched in Edinburgh on 25 May 2012.[1]

Yes Scotland's chief executive is Blair Jenkins, and Dennis Canavan is the chair of its advisory board.[2] Stephen Noon, a long term employee and policy writer of the SNP, is Yes Scotland's chief strategist. Its principal opponent in the independence campaign is known as Better Together.[3][4][5] Yes Scotland claims to be "Scotland's largest ever grassroots political campaign".[6]


Yes Scotland activists at demonstration

Yes Scotland officially opened its campaign staff headquarters on 19 November 2012 in Hope Street, Glasgow. The headquarters are open to the public.[7]

In March 2013, a number of Yes Scotland activists promoted the movement at bedroom tax protests throughout Scotland.[8][9]

Yes Scotland first disclosed its finances in April 2013, revealing it had taken over £1.6m in donations.[10]

In July 2013, the Sunday Herald reported that there were "persistent rumours" of funding problems within Yes Scotland, and suggested that these were related to Jacqueline Caldwell and Susan Stewart leaving the campaign organisation. The organisation "shared out" the women's responsibilities between other employees instead of replacing them.[11]

Throughout 2013, Yes Scotland launched specially targeted campaign groups like Veterans for Independence,[12] Farming for Yes,[13] and Crofters for Yes.[14]

In August 2013, the Telegraph reported that Police Scotland were opening a hacking inquiry in response to a complaint received from the campaign about internal emails that appeared to have been accessed illegitimately and leaked to the media.[15]


The campaign is an alliance of the governing Scottish National Party, the Scottish Green Party, and the Scottish Socialist Party.[16]

The Scottish Greens joined in October 2012, after their party members voted overwhelmingly for "full participation" in the campaign.[17]

The organisation has collaborated with Labour for Independence, an independent organisation which seeks to provide a voice for pro-independence supporters of the Scottish Labour Party. In 2013, Yes Scotland covered the £245 accommodation bill for LFI's first conference.[18]

Other groups supporting a Yes vote include Women for Independence and Business for Scotland.

Advisory Board[edit]


In April 2013, the campaign revealed that it had received over £1.6m in donations since its launch the preceding May. Roughly £1.3m of this came from five donors, including the two EuroMillions winners, Christine and Colin Weir. A contribution to the value of £342,797 was provided by the Scottish National Party to "fund the start-up and staffing costs including the official launch on May 25, 2012".[10]

Yes Declaration[edit]

The campaign aims to have one million residents of Scotland sign its "Yes Declaration", a statement of intent to support the independence of Scotland.[1] Signatures can be input electronically by supporters using the campaign's website, and are also collected by grassroots activists who are encouraged to campaign in their local communities and around Scotland at appropriate events. The Declaration reads:

The Sunday Mail newspaper reported that by 1 July 2012 approximately 22,000 people had signed the Declaration and less than 8000 signed up to the cause on the first day, 'prompting organisers to remove a counter from their website'. The newspaper went further by stating that 'There was more embarrassment when it emerged they used actors in a picture on the site.'[19] In September, Alex Salmond announced that Yes Scotland had gathered over 100,000 signatures for the Yes Declaration.[20] By St. Andrew's Day of the same year, the figure had risen to 143,000, to which a Better Together spokesman responded that ″If they want to sign up enough Scots to win a majority, they will still be chasing signatures in 2018”[21] The total reached 372,103 by 24 May 2013,[22] and 789,191 by 9 June 2014.[23] On the 22nd August 2014, Yes Scotland announced that they had exceeded their target of 1 million signatures.[24]


Two weeks after the official launch of the campaign, Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie distanced his party from Yes Scotland, saying it was "entirely an SNP vehicle". He suggested that "could lead to defeat at the referendum in 2014".[25] The party eventually joined the campaign in October 2012.[26] The Guardian also reported that the campaign was forced to "restructure" its website because "it appeared to claim that anyone who followed its Twitter feed – including senior BBC journalists and opposition politicians – were supporters of independence" and for "doctoring stock images of actors by adding yes badges".

There has been some criticism[by whom?] over endorsements by high-profile figures who do not reside in Scotland, including Hollywood actor Alan Cumming, James Bond star Sir Sean Connery, and actor Brian Cox.[27] The Yes Scotland launch, which featured actors Alan Cumming and Brian Cox, came under fire from critics[who?] who branded it a "handknitted Hogmanay show".[19]

In August 2013, the chief executive of Better Together, Blair MacDougall, accused figures within Yes Scotland of "copy[ing]" his campaign's slogan — "best of both worlds" — to "reassure voters over independence". In response, a senior SNP source said that "It's arrogant of the No campaign to claim ownership of language."[28]

Later in August, Yes Scotland filed a police complaint that its internal emails had been accessed illegitimately. Details of the particular email that was accessed were not initially released, but it was later revealed to be correspondence with Dr Elliot Bulmer in connection with an article he wrote for the Herald in July, A Scottish constitution to serve the common weal. Their campaign opponents, Better Together, accused Yes Scotland of "secretly paying off supposedly impartial experts" and urged an inquiry, as Dr Bulmer is research director of the Constitutional Commission, a registered charity which states that it has no political alignment. Yes Scotland said the payment was a "nominal fee for the considerable time and effort [Dr Bulmer] spent" on the piece, and its content was not influenced.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Scottish independence: One million Scots urged to sign 'yes' declaration". BBC News. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "Scottish independence: Blair Jenkins OBE named Yes Scotland chief". BBC News. 28 June 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Peterkin, Tom (30 December 2012). "SNP ‘could disband’ after independence". The Scotsman (Johnston Press). Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Kirkpatrick, Stewart (30 December 2012). "Yes vote will 'stop Westminster system's damaging changes to Scotland'". Yes Scotland. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  5. ^ Maddox, David (31 December 2012). "Scottish independence: No chance a ‘yes’ vote would be end of SNP, says Jim Sillars". The Scotsman (Johnston Press). Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "JOIN IN". Yes Scotland. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  7. ^ McArdle, Helen (20 November 2012). "Yes Scotland opens new city base". The Herald (Herald & Times Group). Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Peterkin, Tom (31 March 2013). "Bedroom tax: Thousands protest across Scotland". The Scotsman. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Thousands rally in Glasgow to protest Coalition's ‘bedroom tax’". STV. 30 March 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Yes Scotland publish list of donors for indyref campaign". The Herald (Herald & Times Group). 10 April 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "Cash questions for Yes Scotland as another senior figure quits after just six months". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. 7 July 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  12. ^ "Independent Scotland's armed forces 'should focus on peace'". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. 8 June 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  13. ^ "2014 'Yes' team targets farmers". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. 29 July 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Scottish independence: crofters launch campaign". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  15. ^ Cramb, Auslan (20 August 2013). "Yes Scotland calls in police over hacking claim". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  16. ^ "About Yes Scotland". Yes Scotland. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  17. ^ Gordon, Tom (7 October 2012). "Greens ditch SNP 'puppet' fears and join the Yes Scotland campaign". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  18. ^ "Fresh questions raised over pro-independence group's Labour credentials". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Aitken, Mark (1 July 2012). "Embarrassment for SNP as only 22,000 Scots sign 'declaration of independence'". Sunday Mail (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  20. ^ "Salmond announces 100,000 signed 'yes' declaration". Scottish National Party. 22 September 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  21. ^ "Yes Scotland signs up 143,000 supporters,". BBC News. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  22. ^ "Yes Scotland hail 372,000 Independence Declaration signatures". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  23. ^ Dempsie, Peter (9 June 2014). "With 100 days to go Yes is on course for success as Declaration signatures near 800,000". Yes Scotland. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  24. ^ "Scottish independence: Yes declaration hits million target". BBC News. 22 August 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  25. ^ Carrell, Severin (10 June 2012). "Scottish Greens pull back from SNP pro-independence campaign". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  26. ^ "Scottish independence: Greens join Yes Scotland campaign". BBC News. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  27. ^ McDonald, Toby (7 July 2012). "Scots film star Alan Cumming ditches New York to back independence vote". Daily Record. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  28. ^ Barnes, Eddie (9 August 2013). "Scottish independence: Row over campaign phrase". The Scotsman. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  29. ^ "Political row after Yes Scotland say: we paid academic for Herald article". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 

External links[edit]