September 18 2014: a historic date

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SCOTLAND will decide it’s future on September 18 next year over the independence referendum.

That was the message the SNP government gave out in parliament today (Thu) by First Minister Alex Salmond.

The question included in the Scottish independence Referendum Bill is: “Should Scotland be an independent country?

The legislation provides that the referendum will be preceded by a 16-week formal campaign period and overseen by the independent Electoral Commission.

Alex Salmond said: “On September 18, 2014 people across Scotland will vote to determine their country’s future.

It will be a historic day, and one on which this ancient nation decides its place in the world.

“People will be able to choose if they want a Scotland that is independent and able to make her own decisions – with a Scottish Parliament that is responsible for making the most of Scotland’s rich resources to benefit its communities and safeguard the welfare of our most vulnerable citizens and accountable for how we engage other nations around the world.

“Devolution has shown how we can use Holyrood’s powers to improve lives in the policy areas where we are already effectively independent.

“Scotland has made great strides since our national Parliament was reconvened in 1999 after almost 300 years. We are a more confident country, secure in the knowledge that when we take decisions for ourselves we can help make this a better place to live for all our citizens.

“Landmark policies introduced since devolution have made Scotland a safer, healthier and fairer country. Throughout the Parliament’s history, we have used our powers for progressive purposes – such as free personal care, pioneering homelessness legislation, an end to tuition fees, and protecting the National Health Service.

“But we can and must do more – and only the powers of an independent Parliament with control of the economy, of international representation and of security will allow us to make the most of our huge national potential.

“Scotland now faces two futures: continuing with an outdated political entity that ill-serves the interests of the people of Scotland – a system that will continue to give us governments we didn’t vote for. Or independence, where Scotland will get a Parliament that is both fully-empowered and fully-accountable to those whose lives are affected by its actions.

“With full economic levers and access to our huge natural resources, we can not only defend the progress made with devolution but we can become a fairer, more prosperous society. And one where a new, 21st Century relationship is forged between the nations of these islands and with the wider community of nations.

“The 18 September 2014 can be a date which becomes etched in our nation’s story as the day Scotland took a decisive step forward to a better, fairer future.”