The National:

As a result of us hitting 6000 subscribers, we reached a key milestone in our 10,000 Steps campaign – and are now producing monthly supplements targeted at winning over No voters. In the first of these, we explain why Scotland is Big Enough, Rich Enough, and Smart Enough. Check out our 10,000 Steps campaign page to see our next milestones.

SCOTTISH innovation has saved lives and made lives – take penicillin, cloning and medical ultrasound, for instance.

Each of these world-changing developments is thanks to the creativity, know-how and investment of people and institutions in this country.

And that’s just for starters.

The ingenuity of engineer James Watt put the power into the industrial revolution. The environmentalism of John Muir grew into the first world’s first national park. Mary Somerville’s scientific brilliance led to the discovery of Neptune.

Television, cash machines, family planning clinics, bicycles, fridges, tarmac, radar – all of these are the products of Scottish ingenuity.

READ MORE: Why Scotland is RICH ENOUGH to thrive as an independent country​

Even now specialists are working on medicines to cure killer diseases and ways to cut pollution.

That’s thanks in part to our higher education sector, which includes some of the best universities in the world and attracts tens of thousands of international students every year – as well as similar number from elsewhere in Europe and other parts of the UK.

But Scottish innovation isn’t just about new discoveries and excellent education, it’s also about finding new ways to improve lives.

READ MORE: Why Scotland is BIG ENOUGH to thrive as an independent country

The UN has praised Scotland’s poverty-fighting partnership with Malawi, and Glasgow’s success in combating violent crime is garnering global interest, with international teams seeking to learn its lessons.

Renewable energy companies working here have sold their goods and services to more than 70 nations, and our legislative targets on cutting climate change are the toughest anywhere.

Scotland is also the first country to provide free sanitary products in schools, colleges and universities to combat period poverty and the only part of the UK with statutory child poverty reduction targets.

In a damning report published last month, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights said the UK’s welfare safety net has been “deliberately removed” by Westminster, with ideology to blame for rising inequality in Britain.

Philip Alston also hailed Scotland’s “ambitious” and “promising” attempts to end poverty and put fairness at the heart of social security.

But he warned devolved administrations have reached the limit of what they can do when the main controls remain in London, adding: “For devolved administrations to have to spend resources to shield people from Government policies is a powerful indictment.”

And this is the crucial point – for all our country’s promise, for all the curiosity that drives new thinking and all the determination to make the lives of its people better, without full independence, it is hamstrung.

Scotland cannot eradicate the two-child benefits cap or rape clause – despite widespread support for doing so – because it does not have the power.

Scotland cannot scrap the hated Universal Credit – despite evidence that this is increasing hardship – because it does not have the power.

Scotland cannot axe Trident and put that money into communities – despite strong opposition to the sub system – because it does not have the power. We’re already making strides on land ownership, digital skills and early years with the tools we have. Just imagine what we could do together if we were able to use every tool in the box.

We’re definitely smart enough to do great things.

Scotland in numbers


Scotland has more than 235,000 students at its universities, and 50% of the degrees achieved are in science subjects – compared to 43% for the UK as a whole.

359 359 patents were given out to inventors with a Scottish post code in 2018, working out to one invention per 15,036 Scots – we have a reputation for innovation, having been responsible for television, the telephone, penicillin and the fridge, to name a few.


As of 2015, Scotland’s creative industries employed 73,600 people – as a sector, artistic and cultural enterprises contribute about £4.6bn to the economy.

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In 2018, Scotland’s visitor attractions – including museums, galleries, gardens, monuments and distilleries – attracted 30m visitors. Some of the most popular locations included the historic Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre, the National Museum of Scotland and Glasgow Cathedral.


Scotland is home to the world’s first-ever floating wind farm. The turbines stand at 175 metres – nearly as tall as the Queensferry Crossing.

Here’s to our good health

HOW are you feeling? We’d all be worse-off without a score of medical innovations from Scots physicians.

Penicillin was an unarguable game changer, but it’s just one of many valuable health advances to come from Scotland and its institutions.

Did you know Scots were responsible for the introduction of medical anaesthesia and insulin as a treatment for diabetes?

Medical ultrasound was first used in Glasgow hospitals in the 1950s after work in the city’s shipyards sparked the idea, and the city also gave its name to the Glasgow Coma Scale. The work of Edinburgh University professor Patrick Forrest contributed to the 1988 introduction of UK-wide breast cancer screening.

The ban on smoking in public places was a major public health measure, as was the introduction of a minimum unit price of alcohol.

And thanks to decisions made at Holyrood, free personal care is now available to both over and under 65s who need it.

Climate leaders

SCOTTISH innovators are creating new ways to battle climate change and curb pollution. Quickblock has developed a building system using 30 drinks bottles to create 100% recycled plastic blocks for speedy construction in disaster areas, flood zones and conflict regions. Cuantec is using waste from the shellfish sector to make a sustainable and biodegradable alternative to clingfilm. And Edinburgh’s Nova Innovation is a driving force in tidal energy generation.

Calvin Harris

MUSIC beats shelf-stacking for superstar DJ Calvin Harris. The producer, singer and songwriter was this year named one of the UK’s wealthiest musical talents in the Sunday Times Rich List. According to the list, the former supermarket worker, from Dumfries is worth £165 million, thanks to collaborations with Rihanna, Dua Lipa and Pharrell Williams, as well as a Las Vegas residency and other commercial contracts.

Learn from us WHAT do we know about anything? According to the stats on education, a hell of a lot. As of 2016, almost 50% of those aged 25 and over had vocational, college or university qualifications. According to European Commission data agency Eurostat, that rate is 17% higher than the UK average.

The National: Picture Nick Ponty..Radio 1 Big Weekend - Glasgow Green..Calvin Harris.

Thanks for watching

THERE’D be no binge-watching without the Scots. HBO’s must-see epic Game Of Thrones spanned 73 episodes over eight series, and there was plenty of Scottish talent in the mix – Rory McCann as The Hound, Daniel Portman as Podrick Payne, Rose Leslie as Ygritte, Kate Dickie as Lysa Arryn – but none of them would’ve been within touching distance of a White Walker without John Logie Baird.

The Helensburgh-born engineer staged the world’s first screening party in 1926 when he gathered 50 scientists into a London loft and demonstrated television for the first time. Just two years earlier he’d worked out how to send the signal over a few feet, and in 1927 he transmitted over a distance of almost 440 miles between London and Glasgow. His Baird Television Development Company achieved the first transatlantic transmission one year later.

You’re welcome, viewers.

The National:

Mary Barbour

RENT strike leader, peace crusader, councillor and justice of the peace, Kilbarchan-born Barbour changed lives and made history. Thanks to her strident community activism and commitment to social justice, working-class people across the UK gained legal protection from exploitation by landlords. She also chaired the organisation behind Scotland’s first family planning clinic and pushed for health and welfare improvements for ordinary people.

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Roslin Institute

WHEN counting sheep, there’s really only one that matters. Dolly set a new baa-r for science when she was cloned at an Edinburgh University department by Professor Sir Ian Wilmut and his team.

Born to a surrogate mother in July 1996, Dolly was created from an adult cell, something that had been thought impossible.

Named after Dolly Parton due to being cloned from a mammary cell, Dolly’s existence was announced to the world’s media in 1997 and the news put a fresh focus on Scottish science.

Euthanised in 2003 after developing lung tumours associated with a cancer-causing virus detected three years earlier, her body is now on display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

But the institute that created her is still working on animal genetics, ageing and immunology, among other areas. Just this month, it announced new research that could help control the spread of bird flu, potentially paving the way to using gene-editing to produce disease-resistant chicks.