This Declaration was read out at the RIC conference by Pat Kane:
We call for independence for the Scottish people.
No responsibility more defines a generation than its responsibility to leave a legacy of hope and possibility. Our generation has a historical opportunity to leave such a legacy. It is for us to choose not a government but a future.
We are offered two. One warns us not to risk the attempt to be a better society, one asks us to hope we can be.
Britain is the fourth most unequal country in the developed world. It has become two nations, one for the rich and one for the rest. The campaign against independence does not invite us into its Britain of wealth and privilege. It expects us to endure our Britain of austerity and exploitation.
They want us to vote No to independence because they want us to vote Yes to inequality, Yes to poverty, Yes to corporate greed. They want us to know our place, not to get ideas above our station. They do not even offer to try to be better.
They are satisfied with this Divided Kingdom. We are not. They believe their first duty is to protect wealth. We disagree. A country that believes there are things more important than the fate of its people has failed.
We believe the success of a country comes from the hard work and commitment of all. We believe that a good country is one in which all share fairly the success of good times and all share fairly the burdens of bad times. We believe that the people who run a country should reflect and represent the people of that country. We believe Scotland belongs to us all and that neither this land nor its people should be exploited only for the profit of a few.
This is what the people of Scotland believe too. At election after election Scots have used the ballot box as a loudhailer to ask for a better country. But at every turn the path from here to that better country has been blocked by the alliance of wealthy people who run British for their own benefit. The more Scots have voted for justice the less just Britain has become. Instead we have corrupt wars, a corrupt media, corrupt bankers, corrupt corporations, corrupt politicians.
But a path to a better Scotland is open once more, one that does not require us to ask the permission of those who do not want us to reach our destination. In an independent Scotland the only thing holding us back will be ourselves.
This is not a campaign for independence but a campaign for a better Scotland which we believe can only begin with independence. We are tired of complaining about Britain. It is time to talk about what Scotland can be.
- Scotland can be a participative democracy. Where no-one’s view is worth more because they have money. Where financial interests don’t drown out the voices of the people. Where decision-making belongs to the many and not just an elite. Where communities are not told what they will be given but decide what they need. Where our institutions are reformed to include the people in their governance. Where the media is balanced, education creates active citizens and information is free to all.
- Scotland can be a society of equality. Where poverty is not accepted. Where pay gaps are small and poverty wages are ended. Where tax redistributes wealth. Where no human attribute is a justification for discrimination and prejudice. Where human rights are universal.
- Scotland can be a just economy. Where profit never justifies damaging people and the environment. Where essential industries are owned by all and not exploited by the few. Where workers have the right to fair treatment and to defend themselves. Where industrial democracy makes better businesses. Where investment is for development, not for speculation.
- Scotland can be a great welfare state. Where the social contract is not between the state and the people but between the people themselves. Where from cradle to grave society cares for all regardless. Where delivering more and better social services is the national priority, not austerity. Where the government of the people is never used to create private wealth.
- Scotland can be a good neighbour. Where we seek to work with nations around the world to resolve global inequality, climate change and conflict. Where we never join international alliances for exploitation and war. Where we work to reform and democratise multinational institutions. Where we see our deeds, our national culture and our values as a message of hope.
- Scotland can be a moral nation. Where mutuality, cooperation and fellowship define our relationships. Where we are good stewards of our country and hand it on to the next generation in a better state than we inherit it. Where our values are not dominated by greed, selfishness and disregard for others but by patience, generosity, creativity, peacefulness and a determination to be better.
This is a Scotland which British politics has robbed from the Scottish people. We want it back.
Our future is unknown. Good. Only in uncertainty can hope and possibility prosper. We choose the chance to fight for a better Scotland; we reject the offer to endure more of the same indefinitely.
We are socialists, feminists, trade unionists, greens. We are from the peace movement, from anti-poverty campaigns, from anti-racists groups. We are community activists, civil liberty campaigners, the equalities movement and more.
We are also creatives, artists, entrepreneurs and innovators who put our enterprise at the service of society, and use markets, audiences and our skills pragmatically to that end!
We are the Radical Independence Campaign, the start of a movement to win back Scotland for its people, to offer them the country they deserve.
A previous generation, in 1979, had a chance to offer a legacy of hope and possibility to the next generation. They failed, Thatcher took power, Scotland suffered.
We cannot afford to fail this time. Scotland cannot afford us to fail.
It is time for our generation to reject fear and choose hope. Our hope begins with independence. For the sake of the Scottish people