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Salmond kicks off independence campaign

May 25, 2012 at 2:57 PM

EDINBURGH, Scotland, May 25 (UPI) -- Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has launched a drive to encourage his compatriots to vote for independence.

Salmond, who wants a referendum on independence in 2014, was joined at Thursday's event in Edinburgh by actors Alan Cumming and Brian Cox, The Scotsman reported. He also read a message from Sean Connery, possibly the best-known supporter of Scottish independence, who said the launch of the campaign was a "historic day."

About 550 people attended the event, 100 of them reporters. Others were asked to sign a declaration: "I want a Scotland that speaks with her own voice and makes her own unique contribution to the world: a Scotland that stands alongside other nations on these isles, as an independent nation."

Cumming, best-known in the United States as a presenter on the PBS "Masterpiece" series and as political fixer Eli Gold in "The Good Wife," said Scotland has made progress under devolution.

"I believe that independence can only add to that potential and bring a whole new wave of confidence and pride," he added.

While Salmond was pushing for independence, former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling, who represents Edinburgh in the British Parliament, released a poll showing 57 percent of Scots say they would vote against it. Only 33 percent said they support a completely independent Scotland.

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