Scottish independence: Kirk leaders appeal for Yes

MORE than 30 Church of Scotland ministers have signed a declaration of support for independence.

Norman Shanks: Democracy will be strengthened. Picture: Allan Milligan
Norman Shanks: Democracy will be strengthened. Picture: Allan Milligan

The Kirk leaders say they are backing a Yes vote to rid Scotland of nuclear weapons and create a more socially just country.

Among the signatories is the Right Rev Andrew McLellan, a former moderator of the Church who also served as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons until 2009.

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He said: “The worst thing in Scotland is Trident. September 18th is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to remove the worst thing in Scotland.

“Speaking against nuclear weapons is good, campaigning against nuclear weapons is good, and praying for their abolition is good. But what will change everything is voting Yes in the referendum.”

The declaration is also signed by Norman Shanks, former convener of the Kirk’s church and nation committee, Ron Ferguson, former Herald columnist and retired minister of St Magnus Cathedral in Orkney, and Peter Macdonald, the leader of the ecumenical Iona Community.

Explaining his support for independence, Mr Macdonald said: “The British state no longer serves the needs of all its people. Economic policies pursued have favoured the wealthy who have grown richer and stigmatised the poor and vulnerable who are paying for the failures of the private financial sector.”

Mr Shanks, who is also a former private secretary to the secretary of state for Scotland, said: “We have the opportunity to strengthen democracy and reflect our values and priorities more effectively in developing policies that will create a more just, equal and hospitable society, get rid of nuclear weapons and, far from cutting ourselves off, enhance Scotland’s contribution to the wider community of nations.”