WELCOME to the first in a series of 24 articles you will receive in The National from Believe in Scotland over the next 12 weeks.

Believe in Scotland is an organisation set up to make sure Scots hear the truth about the many advantages this country could enjoy as it stands on the cusp of a historic vote on its future as an independent country.

We want to answer the questions voters have as they weigh up the factors which will influence their decision in the next independence referendum. Questions about the economic case for independence; about our pensions, our welfare system, our health service, our national wellbeing ...

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about the Yes Challenge and Open Minds on Independence

We have so much to be proud of and so many social and economic advantages and resources that will help Scotland flourish when we join all the other independent nations in the world.

Universities which have enviable global reputations; plentiful sources of renewable energy that will establish us as a leader in the new world driven by green power; a strong and sustainable economy which can put our people’s wellbeing before greed as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic with new priorities and the ambition to build back better; a proud literary and musical culture; a jaw-droppingly beautiful landscape; truly iconic food and drink ... all this and more combine to put us in a unique position to thrive as we take control over our own future.

The National:

We will look at all these subjects in the weeks ahead but what better way to start this series than with the words of ordinary Scots explaining what inspires them to believe in a Scotland where we can put power closer to the people, to be used for the good of the people.


Douglas Williams

We have the potential to be an example of how things can and should be - a modern, progressive, European, internationalist democracy, where people are looked after, valued and encouraged. A country where we cherish and protect our environment - particularly our wild areas - and where we welcome new arrivals. Where equality, respect and learning are front and centre and where we continually work together towards building a better, brighter future for ourselves and our children.

Jennie Kermode

Not because I think it's inherently better than anywhere else, but because I think it can be.

Not because I think we're more clever, noble or kind than other people, but because I think we can strive to be. Not because I think it's perfect, but because I think it has the power to dream big, to imagine better things, and to take real, meaningful steps towards them. This is a time for bold thinking, for shaping society in new ways that give everybody opportunity and bring everybody's talents to the fore.

Bob Cook

In this world we need a beacon of hope, a nation that is progressive and welcoming. We could show that we are inclusive, multicultural and open to the world rather than insular and unfriendly.

Alice Boden

We have the resources and the talent to create a wonderful place to live once we are fully in control of our decision-making and our spending. Our scenery, innovation and foodstuffs are already world famous but we will be able to improve our transport links, hospitals and schools when we manage our own prosperity.

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Donald Canavan

Because it has a well governed population with a majority view coalesced around respect for others, for ecology and for science, embracing equality of opportunity and collaborative endeavour and which celebrates the advantages of shared community life. In that virtuous crucible, true wellbeing can flourish and lives become fulfilling.

Ann Mcmeechan

We can be an independent, welcoming and inclusive country, happy to give all a chance at success. We need people of all beliefs and nationalities who are willing to support our values, want a better life for our children and have a desire to protect the weakest in our society.

Neil Morison

If we can use our independence to demonstrate that countries can be run with humanity rather than greed, governed with a conscience and not by exploitation, then perhaps we can find like-minded countries and change the world.

Eilidh Gittus

With our independence we can build an even fairer, greener and more progressive country. That's the kind of country I want my son to grow up in. One that has open arms to welcome people in need and people with skills and talent who want to make it their home.

The National:

Liam Anton

I lived and worked in Norway for many years, and have seen first-hand the benefits of a progressive government. Scotland could easily be that prosperous, embracing country. I want to see a fairer, more equitable, and greener Scotland, free of the corruption and nepotism of Westminster.

Cathryn Jones

We have the opportunity to learn from the best practice all over the world and to create a better, fairer, greener country. A country that reaches out into the world as an example of how to do things for the benefit of its people and environment.

Phil Braham

I teach in a university and I see amazing students with bright ideas that will come to shape our future if given half a chance. I work alongside brilliant colleagues who are already at the forefront of international research in their field. The talent is here, and we can be a bold small nation like our Scandinavian and European neighbours.

The National:

Sanjoy Das

I believe that Scottish nationalism is inclusive. I believe our place is with Europe not the Old Etonian cabal that sits in Westminster. Independence is just adulthood. Scotland ticks all the boxes for me. I believe in a kind of radical humanism which is based on the idea that with the right education, communication and perspective human beings can sort most of their problems.

Diane Van Ruitenbeek

As a "New Scot" I prefer to live in a country which shares my values: social justice, compassion, inclusiveness, internationalism and human rights.

Mark Lister

This country knows the importance of the individual and of collaboration and community. It believes in fairness and even-handedness and integrity. It is capable of looking to the future through the lens of imagination rather than sentimental memory.

Ellie Fiddes

Scotland's people are a glorious mix. This country has always been a melting pot, and still is. Today we are as bursting with potential as ever.

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I want this country to be a place where all our potential, creativity and initiative can be realised instead of stifled or exported.

Alan James Magnus-Bennett

I'm English and have been living here for 10 years. Before I came here I was a trade union activist and held socialist views and beliefs. I soon realised that the Scottish Labour Party was not up to the socialist standards I had always held. It was then a question of exploring what the SNP was about. The rest is history now. I have enjoyed campaigning all over this wonderful Scotland, with our saltires waving from our cars and motorcycles and attending most of the rallies.

Sharon Murray

We are innovative, proud and hard working. We have an abundance of resources - more than many other successful independent countries: food and drink, renewable energy, fisheries, textiles, gaming .. not to mention our beautiful land.

Michael Grewar

My travels to small independent countries have made me realise the incredible untapped potential that we have to offer our people and the world. We are not small, but rather a sleeping giant that once awakened will do incredible things.

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Anne Wallace

I want to leave my grandchildren a free, caring, outward looking Scotland that will support them whatever they want to achieve in life. As a Waspi woman I might be unable to leave them a gift of money but I believe the above trumps that.

Andrew S Walker

We are the same size and population as many of the most successful nations in the world and we have more natural resources and more great universities per capita than any of them. So when I see so many pockets of deprivation, I ask why. Then I look south to London and the answer is staring me straight in the face.

Iain McLaughlin

I want a country where everyone is valued, no matter their place of origin or the size of their bank account. I want a country where differences in colour, heritage and sexual orientation are celebrated rather than used as a stick with which to hit people. I want a country that is proud of its past but doesn't feel the need to recreate it; a country that meets other nations with the open hand of friendship and cooperation rather than the closed fist of backward-looking xenophobic hate.

Scotland is going to be that forward-looking, inclusive, progressive nation.

Inspiring answers … and it is also worth observing that 25% of those quotes are from people who are new Scots born elsewhere in the world. Thanks to all those people who responded to our call to explain what Scottish independence means to them with such heartfelt answers as to why they Believe in Scotland.

Next week: the economics of independence.