The other referendum: SNP plots independence

By staff

Scottish nationalists are preparing a lengthy campaign for independence after their party's annual conference in Inverness.

SNP activists were boosted by news of a £1 million donation from poet Edwin Morgan as Westminster leader Angus Robertson unveiled their 'roadmap' to independence.

"With the limited home rule we already have – devolution – we have made great strides forward," Mr Robertson said.

"The political shape of our country has changed radically in little more than a decade. We can now take many decisions in Scotland, for Scotland.

"I believe that it is now time to take the logical next step – to move Scotland on and grasp the opportunities offered by the independence other countries enjoy."

The SNP won an overall majority in Holyrood earlier this year, giving it the opportunity to hold a referendum.

It intends to do so before the next Scottish elections in 2016, but will wait until the second half of the current parliament before the vote.

First minister Alex Salmond said the "sovereign" Scottish people deserved to determine the nation's course in the future in his speech to party members on Saturday.

"No politician, and certainly no London politician, will determine the future of the Scottish nation," he pledged.

"The prime minister should hear this loud and clear. The people of Scotland – the sovereign people of Scotland – are now in the driving seat."

MSPs are expected to endorse the 'Claim of Right', originally endorsed in 1988, before the end of the year.