Yes Scotland

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Yes Scotland
Formation25 May 2012
DissolvedLate 2014
TypeCompany limited by guarantee
Registration no.SC422720
Focus2014 Scottish independence referendum
Headquarters136 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 2014 Scottish independence referendum. It was launched on 25 May 2012 and dissolved in late 2014 after Scotland voted against independence.

Yes Scotland's chief executive was Blair Jenkins, and Dennis Canavan was the chair of its advisory board.[1] Stephen Noon, a long term employee and policy writer of the SNP, was Yes Scotland's chief strategist. Its principal opponent in the independence campaign was the unionist Better Together campaign.[2][3][4]

By the formal start of the referendum campaign period in May 2014, it had become the "biggest grassroots movement in Scottish political history", said Jenkins.[5] The campaign did not win independence, but "transformed politics in Scotland", suggested The Herald.[6]


Yes Scotland activists at demonstration

Yes Scotland was launched in Edinburgh on 25 May 2012.[7] The launch featured actors Alan Cumming and Brian Cox.

A few days after the official launch, the campaign was forced to make changes to its website; this was after people who followed its Twitter feed had been listed on the website as supporters of the campaign.[8]

Yes Scotland officially opened its campaign staff headquarters on 19 November 2012 in Hope Street, Glasgow. The headquarters were open to the public.[9] By February 2013, Yes Scotland employed 17 people full-time.[10]

In March 2013, a number of Yes Scotland activists promoted the movement at bedroom tax protests throughout Scotland.[11][12]

Yes Scotland first disclosed its finances in April 2013, revealing it had taken over £1.6m in donations.[13]

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.[14]

Throughout 2013, Yes Scotland launched specially targeted campaign groups like Veterans for Independence,[15] Farming for Yes,[16] and Crofters for Yes.[17]

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."[18]

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 Elliot Bulmer in connection with an article he wrote for the Herald in July, A Scottish constitution to serve the commonweal. Their campaign opponents, Better Together, accused Yes Scotland of "secretly paying off supposedly impartial experts" and urged an inquiry, as 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 [Bulmer] spent" on the piece, and its content was not influenced.[19]

Then, 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.[20]

At the end of 2014, chief executive Blair Jenkins sent a message to supporters to join the Scottish National Party, the Scottish Greens or the Scottish Socialist Party to ensure that campaigners "keep the spirit alive".[21] By that point, many of the social media groups previously using the 'Yes' term had switched to using 'the 45%' or variations thereon, basing the new name on the percentage of votes for their side in the referendum.[22][23][24]


The campaign was an alliance of the governing Scottish National Party, the Scottish Socialist Party[25] and the Scottish Green Party. The Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie helped launch the campaign but following this had expressed some reservations.[26][27] Harvie told the Green's conference in October 2012 that he felt the campaign had become fully inclusive, and the party members voted for "full participation" in the campaign.[28][29] The organisation also collaborated with Labour for Independence, an organisation for pro-independence supporters of the Scottish Labour Party. In 2013, Yes Scotland covered the £245 accommodation bill for LFI's first conference.[30]

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

The campaign had endorsements by several high-profile figures residing outwith Scotland, including Hollywood actor Alan Cumming, James Bond star Sir Sean Connery, and actor Brian Cox.[7][31]

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".[13]

Yes Declaration[edit]

The campaign aimed to have one million residents of Scotland sign its "Yes Declaration", a statement of intent to support the independence of Scotland.[7] Signatures could be input electronically by supporters using the campaign's website, and were also collected by grassroots activists who were encouraged to campaign in their local communities and around Scotland at appropriate events. The declaration read:

I believe 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.

The Sunday Mail newspaper reported that by 1 July 2012 approximately 22,000 people had signed the declaration and almost 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.'[32] In September, Alex Salmond announced that Yes Scotland had gathered over 100,000 signatures for the Yes Declaration.[33] 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"[34] The total reached 372,103 by 24 May 2013,[35] and 789,191 by 9 June 2014.[36] On 22 August 2014, Yes Scotland announced that they had exceeded their target of 1 million signatures.[37]

See also[edit]


Related movements[edit]


  1. ^ "Scottish independence: Blair Jenkins OBE named Yes Scotland chief". BBC News. 28 June 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  2. ^ Peterkin, Tom (30 December 2012). "SNP 'could disband' after independence". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  3. ^ Kirkpatrick, Stewart (30 December 2012). "Yes vote will 'stop Westminster system's damaging changes to Scotland'". Yes Scotland. Archived from the original on 26 September 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Morris, Nigel (30 May 2014). "Scottish independence vote: Supporters are 'biggest grassroots movement'". The Independent. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  6. ^ Hutcheon, Paul (21 September 2014). "It failed to win independence but Yes transformed politics in Scotland and changed the UK forever". Sunday Herald. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "Scottish independence: One million Scots urged to sign 'yes' declaration". BBC News. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  8. ^ "Scottish independence: "Yes Scotland" website changes". BBC News. 30 May 2012.
  9. ^ McArdle, Helen (20 November 2012). "Yes Scotland opens new city base". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  10. ^ Carrell, Severin (21 February 2013). "Yes Scotland boss says referendum victory 'achievable' as his troops hit the streets". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  11. ^ Peterkin, Tom (31 March 2013). "Bedroom tax: Thousands protest across Scotland". The Scotsman. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  12. ^ "Thousands rally in Glasgow to protest Coalition's 'bedroom tax'". STV. 30 March 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Yes Scotland publish list of donors for indyref campaign". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ "Independent Scotland's armed forces 'should focus on peace'". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. 8 June 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  16. ^ "2014 'Yes' team targets farmers". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. 29 July 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  17. ^ "Scottish independence: crofters launch campaign". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  18. ^ Barnes, Eddie (9 August 2013). "Scottish independence: Row over campaign phrase". The Scotsman. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  19. ^ "Political row after Yes Scotland say: we paid academic for Herald article". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  20. ^ Cramb, Auslan (20 August 2013). "Yes Scotland calls in police over hacking claim". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  21. ^ "Yes Scotland signs off with message to supporters". The Scotsman. 19 December 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  22. ^ Scottish Independence Campaign Group 'The 45%' Announce Extensive Boycotting List, Charlotte Meredith, Huffington Post UK, 21 September 2014
  23. ^ Scottish independence: 'We are the 45 per cent' is the new Yes campaign on Twitter and Facebook, Callum Paton, The Independent, 22 September 2014
  24. ^ "We are the 45%", Alice Quistrebert (translated by Marie Stagnara), Le Journal International, 9 October 2014
  25. ^ "About Yes Scotland". Yes Scotland. Archived from the original on 28 June 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  26. ^ Buchanan, Raymond (6 October 2012). "Scottish Greens debate 'Yes Scotland' membership". BBC News.
  27. ^ Carrell, Severin (10 June 2012). "Scottish Greens pull back from SNP pro-independence campaign". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  28. ^ "Scottish independence: Greens join Yes Scotland campaign". BBC News. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ "Fresh questions raised over pro-independence group's Labour credentials". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  31. ^ McDonald, Toby (7 July 2012). "Scots film star Alan Cumming ditches New York to back independence vote". Daily Record. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ "Salmond announces 100,000 signed 'yes' declaration". Scottish National Party. 22 September 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  34. ^ "Yes Scotland signs up 143,000 supporters". BBC News. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  35. ^ "Yes Scotland hail 372,000 Independence Declaration signatures". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  36. ^ Dempsie, Peter (9 June 2014). "With 100 days to go Yes is on course for success as Declaration signatures near 800,000". Yes Scotland. Archived from the original on 25 September 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  37. ^ "Scottish independence: Yes declaration hits million target". BBC News. 22 August 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2014.

External links[edit]