A new declaration for Scotland

Speech by Alex Salmond leader of the Alba Party on the 701st Anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath


“Last year for the 700 anniversary I contributed to a project on the Arbroath Declaration.

What struck me about the essays in the book was how the concepts which underpinned the declaration still resonate today. 

We are shaped and moulded by our history. But we are defined by how we apply those principles to our own lives and to the here and now. 

A document from history with profound and modern ideas. 

Of course the Arbroath document was not in reality a declaration.

Rather it was a letter asserting Scotland’s rights to the international authority of the day - the Avignon Papacy. 

The importance of the “Declaration” was not that it came just from those in positions of wealth and authority. Rather, it’s enduring power and appeal was that it was rooted in the whole Community of the Realm of Scotland. 

It was the recognition of the need for that essential endorsement by the Community of the Realm which elevated the letter far beyond what it could otherwise have been if simply endorsed by loyal supporters of The Bruce.

And how successful that strategy was. 

Within a couple of years of the Declaration, international opinion moved in favour of the Scots. 

It was the English King who became diplomatically isolated and eight years later Scottish independence was negotiated, acknowledged and accepted.

As it was then, so it can be now.

The appeal for Scottish independence cannot - should not - be restricted by party. No one party has the ownership of Scottish independence. It is rooted in the sovereignty of the people, all of the people. 

Scotland’s Parliament is the modern democratic expression of the Community of the Realm. It exists to allow modern Scotland to define its own future. To tell the wider world who we are and who we want to be. 

And in this election more than any other, it is about putting nation before party.

We need to come together, to work to create a Parliament which encompasses all shades of opinion prepared to back Scottish independence. 

The Tory Prime Minister must not be allowed to cast this great debate as party against party, Prime Minister against First Minister. If he does that, Scotland will lose. 

This needs to become what we all know it to be - a Tory Prime Minister standing against the will of Scotland’s Parliament representing Scotland‘s people. 

Boris Johnson has already declared he will ignore an SNP victory as a basis for a referendum.

But even if he can ignore a party, he cannot ignore a Parliament and a nation.

Our task is therefore to give voice to Scotland’s modern Community of the Realm. To demand self-determination. To assert nationhood and the need for respect and equality across these islands. 
That can start in the Scots Parliament immediately following the election of a #Supermajority of independence supporting MSPs. 
Deliver that #Supermajority and Parliament then issues a clear and unmistakable instruction to the Scottish Government to open negotiations with Whitehall on independence.

 That should happen in week one of the new Parliament.

A standing Independence Convention can then be established, drawn from all of Scotland’s elected representatives, to give support and substance to the Scottish Government’s independence negotiating position.

A section 30 referendum could be part of that, as could a plebiscite, or another democratic test as could domestic legal action or international and diplomatic initiatives, as could peaceful and popular demonstration.

The tactics will inevitably evolve with the negotiations but the strategy is to make the achievement of Independence a real and overriding priority. 
Be clear- if we don’t make it ours, Boris Johnson certainly won’t make it his.

With an Independence #Supermajority, resistance from Westminster to Scotland’s renewed Claim of Right will crumble. 

Scotland’s Parliament and our Community of the Realm will speak in a voice louder, more united and more insistent than it has ever done before. 

The key to all of that is to elect the maximum number of independence supporting MSPs.

 I’ll be voting SNP with my first constituency vote for that reason. 

I know tens of thousands of SNP supporters are going to vote for ALBA on the list for exactly the same reason. Because it is in the Scottish national interest to do so. 

In that unity and common purpose lies our strength and our greatest opportunity to deliver independence. 

That approach can deliver a shared parliamentary purpose in Holyrood which changes the context of the debate and which tilts the balance of power in Scotland’s favour.

It is the only way to guarantee that Scotland cannot again be sidelined and to ensure that democratic expression will prevail.

Westminster has never before faced that expression of collective parliamentary might mobilising the entire Community of the Realm.

It is time that changed.

It is time for nation before party. 

It is time to declare for Scotland. 



"We hereby proclaim the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs, and declare and pledge that in all our actions their interests shall be paramount.

We further declare and pledge that our deliberations shall be directed to the following ends:

To assert the sovereign right of the Scottish people acting through their Parliament to secure independence.

To mobilise Scottish and international opinion to ensure that this right is respected and acted upon.
For in truth it is not glory, or riches, or honours for which we are fighting but for liberty - for that alone, which no honest person gives up but with life itself”
Delivered by ALBA this 6th day of April 2021”






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