INDEPENDENCE FIRST ELECTS NEW OFFICE BEARERS - CAMPAIGN IS GROWING FAST SAYS NEW CONVENER
At a recent Meeting of Independence First (www.independence1st.com) the national campaign for a referendum on Scottish independence, two new office bearers were elected.
Neil Caple is now the honorary Convener, while Joe Middleton was elected Press Officer for the campaign.
Mr Caple said I am very pleased to take up this position. Even though our campaign was only launched two months ago our membership is growing fast.
We have received supportive messages from Scottish Green Party, Scottish Socialist Party and Scottish National Party MSPs and from the Free Scotland Party and the Scottish Independence Party.
Recent polls suggest that a majority of the Scottish public support independence. Independence First wants to give the people the opportunity to express that support in a referendum.
Former leader of the SSP, Tommy Sheridan, sent the following message of support to Independence First: "As a socialist I believe passionately in genuine democracy and the right of nations to self-determination.
My party's vision is of an independent socialist Scotland but we absolutely endorse and promote the right of citizens in Scotland to democratically decide now via a referendum if they wish an independent country.
I see the British imperial union as a reactionary barrier to social progress and want that British union dismantled to encourage progressive and democratic ideas to flourish in the individual entities of Scotland, England and Wales. The campaign for an independence referendum deserves support from all socialists and democrats alike."
Sandra White SNP MSP said I'm happy to get behind anything that advances the cause of Scottish independence. I definitely support this grassroots movement, Independence 1st, in their demand for a Scottish referendum on independence. Please keep me informed of any further developments."
Stewart Maxwell SNP MSP said I support the holding of a referendum on Independence as the Scottish people have never had the opportunity to express their opinion on this option.
MSPs from the Scottish Green party are hoping to get official support for the campaign from their whole party. Green MSP Mark Ballard has sent a message of support while Green MSP Shona Baird wrote I welcome the principles of the [Independence First] charter and its commitment to working with people of all parties and none towards independence. This is an issue which will be taken to our next National Council meeting in May and I would anticipate it receiving the party's support.
Mr Middleton commented We are basically trying to achieve as broad a consensus as possible for independence. Under our plans secondary issues like republicanism or EU membership would be left up to the people of Scotland after the initial objective of breaking up the UK through a straightforward yes or no referendum.
He added I hope absolutely everyone who supports Scottish independence will consider supporting this campaign, which is open to members of all political parties and none. A membership form can be downloaded from our website www.independence1st.com .
Mr Middleton will speak at the Beith Speakers Club on 15th May on behalf of the campaign and has been selected to be a delegate for IF to the cross-party interim forum for an Independence Convention.
The full list of office bearers is as follows:
Neil Caple (Honorary Convener)
Carol Roscoe (Secretary)
Niall Aslen (Treasurer)
Graham Connelly (Membership Secretary)
Joe Middleton (Press Officer)
INDEPENDENCE FIRST CHARTER
Independence First demands a Scottish referendum on Independence as our democratic right.
1. The Independence First Association has been formed on a non-party-political basis to campaign for a referendum on independence for Scotland. We include members of different political parties and people who are not in any party.
2. One glaring aberration that remains for democracy in Scotland is that, despite having recently acquired a parliament in Edinburgh, many of the the most important decisions regarding Scotland are still taken in London.
3. Scotland suffers from an unequal union with a much bigger neighbour, which has invariably been to Scotland's disadvantage where matters of contending national interest are at stake.
4. The people of Scotland have never, at any time, been asked to vote directly by a referendum, on whether they agree to this or not.
5. Independence First is aware that opinion polls have usually indicated a strong demand for independence among Scotlands electorate and notes that the UK government has conspicuously failed to test the electorates wishes in this matter.
6. As a matter of basic, democratic, self-determination, a referendum on the question of independence for Scotland is long overdue. All who cherish the principle of democracy, even those who call themselves democrats, yet favour continuation of the present constitutional setup, should accept the justice inherent in this claim.
7. Independence First believes that the referendum question should be as simple and unambiguous as possible, such as: "Do you favour Scotland becoming an independent nation?" Followed by 2 boxes, yes and no.
8. The question to be asked should not additionally test, one way or the other, matters such as EU membership (or not) or monarchy (or not).
9. Everybody on the voters roll in Scotland should be entitled to vote in this referendum.
10. This referendum should take priority over any other referendum on constitutional matters.
11. Independence First demands a Scottish referendum on Independence as a democratic right. We call upon all who value freedom and justice, in Scotland and worldwide, to back this most basic of democratic demands.
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