EDINBURGH, Scotland, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said Tuesday his government published a 670-page document outlining a "mission statement" for an independent Scotland.
"This is the most comprehensive blueprint for an independent country ever published, not just for Scotland but for any prospective independent nation," he said in a statement Tuesday. "But more than that, it is a mission statement and a prospectus for the kind of country we should be and which this government believes we can be."
Scotland scheduled a one-question referendum Sept. 18. It asks if Scotland should be independent from Britain. If the answer is yes, Salmond said Scotland would celebrate its first Independence Day on March 24, 2016.
In the event of a "no" vote, Scotland "stands still," the government said, and will lose out on a once-in-a-generation opportunity to follow its own path.
Salmond said an independent Scotland would save more than $800 million on defense spending because it would no long have to contribute to British security. The British government has said an independent Scotland would be faced with national security issues because it would have to build its armed forces from scratch.
"This is the only detailed plan for Scotland's future, and today's publication marks a decisive shift in the debate on what that future should be," Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.