By a Newsnet reporter
The campaign to secure a Yes vote in the independence referendum kicks off this week when politicians, famous artists and ordinary Scots gather together at the official launch.
Entitled ‘Yes Scotland’, the campaign will be unveiled in Edinburgh this coming Friday, 25th May, at the Cineworld complex in Fountainbridge.
The official invitation describes how “Scots from all walks of life will join some of our leading stars and community and political figures” to sign a “Yes Declaration” setting out why being independent offers the best future for Scotland.
Organisers claim it is “the start of the biggest community based campaign in Scotland’s history, designed to build a groundswell of support for an independent Scotland ahead of the 2014 referendum” and have promised an "exciting" and "transformational" vision of an independent Scotland.
Several of Scotland’s most famous artists have been linked to the campaign and there is speculation that Sir Sean Connery may join a list that includes Holywood actors Alan Cumming and Brian Cox. Other well-known personalities expected to be present include the actress Elaine C Smith and Coatbridge based comic-book writer, Mark Millar.
The launch will also see the unveiling of the official ‘Yes Scotland’ campaign website as well as the official anthem believed to have been written by ‘Caledonia’ writer Dougie McLean.
The Yes campaign will lean heavily on the positivity of the SNP’s Holyrood election campaign that saw the party achieve an unprecedented majority win in a system designed to prevent them from ever doing so. The campaign will have cross party involvement with the Greens and the Scottish Socialists joining up with the SNP.
One of the main tactics of the Yes campaign is expected to see strategic unveiling of high profile converts to independence. Strategists believe that this may prompt the twenty per cent of people who are currently undecided, but open minded, to opt for yes.
Expected to feature prominently will be the economy, and the Yes campaign team know they have to battle the incessant negativity from the anti-independence No campaign, which itself is expected to launch next month.
'Vision versus scares' will be a constant theme and the Yes campaign will see Angus Robertson, who helped combat Labour negativity in securing the SNP’s Holyrood election victory, play a key role.
Commenting ahead of the ‘Yes Scotland’ campaign launch on Friday, Mr Robertson said:
“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.
“It will be the biggest community-based campaign in our history and will take the case for Scotland being independent into every community across our country.
“Yes Scotland stands in stark contrast to the anti-independence parties' emerging No campaign, which we are led to believe will put the politicians front and centre.
“The people of Scotland are open to voting yes as never before and that is a great starting point for the Yes Campaign. This campaign will be about the positive benefits of being independent, enabling us to build a Scotland that will be fairer and more prosperous than today.”
Unionist politicians responded by attacking the SNP’s referendum plans.
Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont claimed that the ‘delay’ in holding the referendum was “self indulgent” and that the independence debate was a distraction. Claiming that most Scots had already made up their minds she added: “This is a self-indulgence we can ill afford. While the rest of Europe debates how we get back from the brink of the possible collapse of the euro, Scotland, by Alex Salmond’s dictat, stares at our own navel.”
Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw described the campaign as a “Braveheart cry for 'Yes' to separation” and claimed that the SNP have “repeatedly answered 'No' when asked fundamental questions as to what a separate Scotland would look like."
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie insisted that there needed to be a decisive question on the ballot paper and said: "If he [Salmond] wants to win fairly he should agree to a cross-party committee to set the question."
Responding to Mr Rennie, Mr Robertson added:
"It is right that the question is agreed by the Scottish Parliament. That is the proper forum for this decision."