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Independence First's logo is based on Flag of Scotland

Independence First or Independence 1st is a political movement in Scotland, first proposed through internet discussions in September 2004, then formally constituted on 19 February 2005. It is an umbrella group for various supporters of a referendum on Scottish independence and the creation of a sovereign state of Scotland.

Contents

Purpose

Independence First was established to be a single issue campaign, uniting supporters of many political backgrounds and none in support of a Scotland-wide referendum on Scottish independence and to campaign for popular approval for Scotland leaving the United Kingdom. The organisation claims to have supporters from the Labour Party, a party which is officially opposed to a Scottish independence referendum and is thus considered Unionist in outlook by referendum supporters.

The organisation aims to be a broad church, and as such does not state an opinion on potentially divisive issues which would arise following a secession from the United Kingdom such as membership of the European Union, whether the state becomes a monarchy or a republic with an elected president.

Support

Independence First are supported officially by the Scottish Green Party[1] and a number of Members of the Scottish Parliament including Tommy Sheridan MSP (Solidarity, former leader of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP)), Sandra White MSP (Scottish National Party (SNP)) and Campbell Martin MSP (Independent).

Other groups and individuals who have given their support include the Celtic League, David R. Ross, Lloyd Quinan and Kevin Williamson. They also receive support from minor political parties who are unrepresented in any elected body: the Communist Party of Scotland, the Free Scotland Party, the Scottish Enterprise Party and the Scottish Independence Party.

Campaigns

Indy1st2.JPG

Independence First held a demonstration on 30 September 2006 in Edinburgh city centre, also supported by the Independence Convention, the SRSM, Siol nan Gaidheal, the SSP, Solidarity, the Greens and the SNP. Independence First itself estimated 1,000 marchers turned out [2] although reported numbers inevitably varied.

Independence First held a further march and demonstration in Edinburgh on 31 March 2007.

A number of campaigns have been set up by the organisation. They have written letters to the Government of the United Kingdom and the Scottish Executive in support of their goals, occasionally with reference to self-determination and the United Nations Charter. The Scottish Executive replied, stating that constitutional matters are reserved to the UK Parliament under the terms of the Scotland Act 1998. The Scotland Office of the UK Government responded citing parliamentary sovereignty - and that it was solely down to the UK Parliament to grant or refuse any referendums on constitutional issues.

Independence First have also been involved in helping organise the Independence Convention which launched in 2005.

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Public Petition

Independence First launched an e-petition through the Scottish Parliament website which gained over 1300 signatures but was subsequently rejected by the Public Petitions Committee in November 2006, voting six to three to note the position and close it with no further action.

Justifications and legality

The organisation seeks to hold a referendum on the matter of Scottish independence due to its belief that elections to the Scottish and British parliaments are insufficient in indicating support for their cause.

Independence First recently wrote to both the UK Government and the Scottish Parliament demanding a referendum for the people of Scotland on independence. The Scottish Parliament replied: “The Scotland Act 1998 sets out the statutory framework for the Scottish devolution settlement. Schedule 5 to the Act defines matters which are reserved to the United Kingdom Parliament.”

“The devolution settlement and constitutional matters generally are reserved matters under the Act. The Government of the United Kingdom is responsible therefore for considering any fundamental changes to the existing devolution framework in Scotland.”

The Scotland Office replied “It is worth noting that in the UK political system the UK parliament is sovereign and it is for Parliament to decide whether or not to hold a referendum on any particular issue - and what the terms of any referendum should be.”

The spokesman added: ”This is simply not accurate, in England Parliament is sovereign, but in Scotland the people are sovereign. However these claims conflict with current thinking on the matter in relation to the constitution in Scotland (see: parliamentary sovereignty) and ignore the doctrine of territorial integrity in international law. While the former concept has some support in law in the form of a dissenting opinion in MacCormick v. Lord Advocate, the second matter relating to international law has never been concluded by any international body.

References

  1. ^ Scotsman.com News
  2. ^ BBC NEWS | Scotland | Rally calls for independence vote

External links & news coverage


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