The First Minister has used his New Year message to urge the people of Scotland to wake up on the morning of 19th September 2014 “filled with hope and expectation” after voting for independence in the referendum.
Mr Salmond said 2014 would be a “truly amazing year” during which the eyes of the world would be on Scotland, with the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and the historic independence vote all to be held within the next 12 months.
During the message - filmed at the National Library of Scotland - the First Minister said the forthcoming year offered a chance for Scotland’s modern achievements to be showcased to the world as well as an “opportunity of a lifetime” for the people to build a “just and prosperous nation” using the country’s natural resources and talented workforce.
The full text of the First Minister’s New Year message is as follows:
“Happy Hogmanay from the National Library of Scotland.
“I’m at an exhibition called 'The A to Z of Scotland'. It highlights the contribution our country has made to the world – from Dolly the sheep to the Dandy; penicillin to Harry Potter; television to tarmac roads.
“That contribution continues to this day. Just a few weeks ago, Professor Peter Higgs of Edinburgh University received the Nobel Prize for Physics for predicting the Higgs Boson, that’s the particle that binds this universe together. We have just announced funding to help establish a new Higgs Centre and to promote postgraduate opportunities – we’re using Professor Higgs’s legacy of achievement, to inspire and support the next generation of great scientists in Scotland.
“Scotland already has extraordinary strengths in fields such as life sciences, medicine, informatics and energy technology.
“Next year, we have the ideal opportunity to showcase those modern achievements, together with our history, culture and landscape.
“2014 will be a truly amazing year – one where the eyes of the world will be on Scotland.
“We are welcoming the world with our year of Homecoming - with more than 400 events taking place the length and breadth of the country.
"We stage the Commonwealth Games – the largest sporting and cultural celebration ever held in Scotland. Golf’s Ryder Cup will be enjoyed by a quarter of a million spectators at Gleneagles; but also by television viewers in more than 180 countries around the planet.
“And, of course on 18 September, we will decide whether to become an independent country. That’s the opportunity of a lifetime.
“It’s a precious thing; to be able to debate and decide our own future through a civic and democratic process. Let’s ensure that the debate over the next nine months is a constructive one – where we respect each other’s views, regardless of how passionately we hold our own.
“Let’s also ensure that we take this chance to think about the sort of country we want Scotland to become.
“Let’s not wake up on the morning of 19 September next year and think to ourselves what might have been. Let’s wake up on that morning filled with hope and expectation – ready to build a just and prosperous nation.
“Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world - but we need to ensure that prosperity is shared more fairly. We have oil and gas resources for many decades to come – but we have to harness the green energy wealth which will last forever.
“The greatest asset of Scotland is the people of Scotland, so let’s transform childcare in this country - unleashing the full potential of all of our working age population, and helping us become the best place anywhere in the world to raise a family.
“The Scottish Government has already put forward our proposals on these issues and many others in “Scotland’s Future”. It’s a positive vision which will be read, considered and discussed many, many times over the next nine months.
“But ultimately, at the heart of that vision there’s one fundamental point, one overwhelming argument: that the best people to take decisions about Scotland’s future must be the people who live and work in Scotland.
“Scotland has already shaped much of the modern world. Let’s make sure that 2014 the year when we take responsibility for shaping our own future.
“One of the exhibits here is one of the first ever published versions of “Auld Lang Syne”, a volume of songs that once belonged to Keir Hardie, yet another example of Scotland’s contributions to the world - the song which encapsulates the spirit of the New Year like no other.
“So, wherever you are – in Scotland or overseas; with family and friends, or at work – I hope you’ll tak a cup o’ kindness this new year. And I’d like to wish each and every one of you all the best for a happy and prosperous 2014.”