Who are Believe in Scotland?
Believe in Scotland is the national grassroots campaign for Scottish independence. It exists to reach out to undecided votes and to help coordinate, fund and support the needs of the grassroots Yes movement on a local and national level.
Believe in Scotland is effectively a coalition of 142 affiliated grassroots Yes Groups. Fully democratic and inclusive, it is managed by a National Campaign Steering Group, consisting of elected representatives from 17 regions across Scotland and representatives from 10 national campaigning Groups. The second round of elections to the National Campaign Steering Group took place in August/September 2023. Representatives are elected by the local Yes Groups in each of our 17 regions (you can see a list of our affiliated groups here). Representatives from national organisations have been chosen internally by the national organisation. You can view the newly elected members of the National Campaign Steering Group here.
We host online events four times a year for all Yes Groups to attend and all donors are invited to a Zoom meeting every month. This ensures that Believe in Scotland has democratic participation at the core of the organisation. In total, Believe in Scotland has 131 local and 11 national affiliated independence groups across the whole of Scotland. You can see a list of these groups here.
Believe in Scotland is probably best known for its publication Scotland the Brief (in partnership with Business for Scotland), which makes the economic case for Scottish independence. It has sold over 70,000 copies in total, with all profits going to fund grassroots campaigning activities. The second edition was published in November 2022. Scotland the Brief is available for purchase here.
Business for Scotland Ltd, a leading business network uniquely consisting only of supporters of Scottish independence, provides the secretariat for the Believe in Scotland campaign without charge. Business for Scotland received the highest “A” rating for its financial transparency from Open Democracy’s Who Funds You? Project. The Business for Scotland Funding page can be viewed here. https://www.businessforscotland.com/who-funds-us/
If you have any more questions, see the FAQs at the bottom of the page, which are regularly updated. If you are a member of a local or national Yes Group that wishes to affiliate to Believe in Scotland, you can do so through the link provided here.
What have we done so far?
Since we launched our campaign in 2019, our local Yes Group partners have delivered more than 3 million items of physical campaign materials throughout Scotland. We have organised multiple Days of Action and run six billboard campaigns across Scotland. Our social media following is estimated to be around 400,000 across all the pages and brands we operate.
Believe in Scotland has also provided free training on social media campaigning, local press relations and canvassing to hundreds of volunteers from more than 100 local Yes Groups.
In February 2023, we held the inaugural Scottish Independence Congress where 241 representatives from 126 local and national campaigns met to discuss key issues and strategies to achieve Scotland's independence. We have also recently launched the Believe in Scotland app, which can be downloaded here.
If you want to know more about BiS' campaigning work, we have just published our latest Annual Review of our 2022/23 activities, which is available to view here.
Political Party Neutrality
Neither Believe in Scotland nor Business for Scotland has ever received, asked for, nor donated to any political party and never will. We are completely political party neutral and have never suggested how people should vote.
Believe in Scotland is predominantly funded by approximately 10,000 individual micro-donations annually, including monthly Stakeholder Memberships. We have run two successful crowdfunder campaigns in 2021 and 2022. The administration and office costs are covered by business donations to Business for Scotland Ltd. This means that ZERO funds raised under the Believe in Scotland brand are used for salary, office, administrative or even equipment costs - those are all funded directly by Business for Scotland donors.
Our focus is on advocating for independence. We wholeheartedly believe that any government running Scotland for the benefit of the people, economy and communities, will be better for Scotland than any party of the current system of government from Westminster.
As our name suggests, we already Believe in Scotland and we want to help people feel the same way. This is a site for people with genuine questions and for people whose heart may say yes to independence but their head says maybe or even no. We believe that once you engage with the evidence, people’s hearts and heads start to believe in Scotland.
If you Believe in Scotland, you can join our Yes family as an individual member here.
Campaign Frequently Asked Questions
Business for Scotland Ltd is a leading business network, business and economic policy lobbying and economic consulting company that runs multiple social policy and political campaigns. Believe in Scotland is a campaign managed by Business for Scotland Ltd on behalf of 142 partnering local grassroots Yes campaign groups.
Business for Scotland was founded in the 1990s to campaign for Scottish devolution and is credited with being a major player in the devolution referendum.
In 2011, the organisation was taken over and relaunched in its current form by Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, who changed Business for Scotland from a Devo-Max supporting organisation to one that supports Scottish independence.
In the 2014 independence referendum, Business for Scotland was the highest spending, most prolific and most active special interest group on either side of the debate. In 2015, the Business for Scotland board decided to keep campaigning for Scottish independence until we win. In 2019, at the request of multiple Yes Groups, we set up Believe in Scotland to support local Yes campaigners and fill the void left by the demise of Yes Scotland.
Business for Scotland declares a minimum profit every year (usually a few hundred pounds) and does not return any profit to directors or shareholders. All profits from research, consulting, events and memberships are spent on managing our campaigns.
Business for Scotland received the highest possible “A” rating for its financial transparency from Open Democracy’s Who Funds You? Project. The Business for Scotland Funding page can be viewed here. https://www.businessforscotland.com/who-funds-us/
Believe in Scotland is the Scottish independence campaign managed by Business for Scotland Ltd. Its role is to engage and convince undecided and soft No voters and to support the grassroots Yes campaign with materials, messaging, design services and coordinate campaigning across Scotland.
131 local independence campaigning groups and 11 national campaign groups are affiliated to Believe in Scotland. So in total Believe in Scotland has 142 affiliated Yes campaigns working cooperatively to promote Scottish independence. Since our campaign launched in 2019, our partners have delivered 3 million items of physical campaign materials throughout Scotland.
A limited company called Believe in Scotland Ltd was set up with a view to give more legal brand protection to Believe in Scotland. This company exists and can be found on the Companies House website. It is set as dormant for the moment as Believe in Scotland is currently part of Business for Scotland Ltd.
Had a referendum been agreed, Business for Scotland Ltd and Believe in Scotland Ltd would have been separated and operated as distinct campaigning entities. At the moment, Business for Scotland manages all Believe in Scotland activity as a wholly-owned campaigning brand and underwrites the costs of the campaign as Believe in Scotland cannot fund its activities without financial support for Business for Scotland Ltd.
Corporate Governance is provided by an eight-strong board of directors of Business for Scotland and an external accounting firm. However the Believe in Scotland campaign itself is managed by a National Campaign Steering Group who are a democratically elected group of representatives from Yes Groups across Scotland and ten representatives from National Yes Groups.
You can see a list of those affiliated local and national Yes Groups here.
You can see the members of the National Campaign Steering Group here.
Those local Yes Groups have been organised into 17 campaigning regions. Each region has elected a representative to the Believe in Scotland Campaign Steering Group that meets monthly - this group also includes 10 representatives from National Yes Campaign organisations. Believe in Scotland is therefore a democratic organisation managed by dozens of elected representatives.
See our Regional Facebook pages here
See our Steering Group here
Believe in Scotland is a fully democratic and inclusive grassroots-led independence campaign.
A coalition of 142 affiliated local and national grassroots Yes Groups, Believe in Scotland is managed by an elected National Campaign Steering Group, consisting of representatives and deputy representatives of 17 regions of Scotland and from 11 National Independence Campaign Organisations.
The second round of elections to the National Campaign Steering Group took place in August/September 2023. Representatives are elected by the local Yes Groups in each of our 17 regions (you can see a list of our affiliated groups here). Representatives from national organisations have been chosen internally by the national organisation.
You can view all of our elected Steering Group members here.
Both Business for Scotland and Believe in Scotland are completely political party neutral, have never expressed support for any political party and do not suggest how people should vote. If we face a plebiscite General Election in 2024, the representatives from the Campaign Steering Group will be asked to decide how we campaign.
Neither Business for Scotland nor Believe in Scotland has ever received, asked for, nor donated to any political party and never will.
Believe in Scotland has organised multiple billboard campaigns across Scotland and runs the two largest Yes Pages on Facebook, as well as the largest Yes Group - our social media following is estimated to be around 400,000 across all of the pages and brands we operate. We also provided free training on social media campaigning, local press relations and canvassing to hundreds of volunteers from more than 100 Yes Groups. We have also just launched our own Believe in Scotland campaign app, which can be downloaded here.
At the end of January every year we publish an annual review.
Click here for the 2020/21 review
Click here for the 2021/22 review
Click here for the 2022/23 review
We have organised multiple Days of Action across Scotland with our partners The National Newspaper, The Scottish Independence Foundation and the National Yes Network. Hundreds of local Yes groups from all over Scotland have actively participated in Days of Action for Scottish independence. Their activities range form organising leaflet drops, street stalls, coffee mornings, flying flags on bridges, motor bike and car conveys and much more. You can see a gallery of images from our Days of Action here.
This gallery contains over 150 images taken by activists over the course of the day, be sure to check it out and share it with everyone.
All business and admin-related costs such as rent, rates, utilities, wages and equipment are funded by business donors who fund Business for Scotland Ltd. That means every single penny donated to Believe in Scotland goes directly towards independence campaigning and that campaigning is agreed by representatives of our 142 affiliated local and national Yes Groups who are democratically elected to our National Campaign Steering Group.
Neither Believe in Scotland nor Business for Scotland has ever received, asked for, nor donated to any political party and never will.
The main source of funds for Believe in Scotland comes from Business for Scotland, which declares only a limited profit every year as every penny we make, over and above running costs, goes to fund Believe in Scotland activities and related campaigns.
Both Business for Scotland and Believe in Scotland have membership revenues. Business for Scotland membership revenues, event revenues and sponsorships cover all the running costs of the business. The public donations and Believe in Scotland memberships and direct to the public sales for Scotland the Brief fund the Yes campaigning activities.
We have also managed two crowdfunders which have both generated matching funding from Business for Scotland members/donors. In 2022, Business for Scotland donors offered £50,000 in matching funding and this was matched by public donations from 919 smaller donors to raise more than £100,000. The Business for Scotland donations take care of running costs, so all public donations go directly towards pro-independence campaigning.
We have also received grants for some of our larger projects from the Scottish Independence Foundation (to whom we give free office space/mailing address).
Business for Scotland is probably best known in recent times for its publication Scotland the Brief, which makes the economic case for Scottish independence and has sold over 70,000 copies in total, with the second edition being published in November 2022.
Scotland the Brief is sold at a wholesale price to Local Yes Groups who can then sell the book through their Yes hubs/shops and we estimate this combined with linked fundraising has raised more than £40,000 to help fund local activities. We have also, on occasion, directly donated to Yes Groups to help pay for billboards and events and provided free campaign materials and fundraising packs to more than 100 Local Yes Groups.
Business for Scotland employs a full-time team of professional researchers, all of whom have relevant first-class honours degrees in politics, economics and social policy and Masters degrees in their specialist research areas. Our research team undertakes consulting projects for business and has been requested to provide expert evidence to the Scottish Parliament the House of Commons, The House of Lords and the OECD.
Many of our affiliated Yes groups have struggled to get insurance for street stalls and town hall events etc. So, Business for Scotland Ltd (at its own expense) has arranged for volunteers from affiliated groups using our materials to be covered by £10 million in public liability insurance (which is required by some councils).
The Edinburgh March and Rally for an Independent Scotland in the EU on the 2nd of September 2023 was a great success. Massive crowds gathered to listen to a series of uplifting and positive speeches by leading activists, politicians and young people.
As part of our commitment to financial transparency and openness here is an explanation of the costs of the event and the donations received on the day.
The costs of putting on the event range from the major costs of the staging and sound system to insurance, graphic design and printing of flyers and leaflets, transportation, the cost of high visibility vests and lanyards for stewards, photography and filming and donations made to Independence Live and Broadcasting Scotland who covered the event. Total costs amounted to £6,974
Grant from the Scottish Independence Foundation
Believe in Scotland and Yes for EU were very grateful to have received a grant of £3,000 from The Scottish Independence Foundation. This grant money was put towards the upfront costs of the event allowing us to launch our March and Rally programme.
The revenues from the event came mainly from collections during the march. A team of eleven volunteers asked for donations via collection buckets which amounted to £4,336.29. From card donations on the day and additional donations made prior to the event to either Believe in Scotland and Yes for EU, we raised an additional £1,005.89 for the event. So total revenues amounted to £5,342.18
In order to maintain our reputation for financial transparency, we sought advice and involvement from the Scottish Independence Foundation, who have helped manage and oversee collections at other independence rallies. The collection buckets were sealed before collections started and were only opened in front of a representative of the Scottish Independence Foundation, who confirmed the validity of the count.
The notes collected were paid into the bank and receipts shown to SIF. The coins collected were paid into a SIF bank account (which had coin counting facilities) then transferred electronically to our account.
Totals Before Grant Support
The event costs were £6,974
The event revenues (collection buckets and other donations) were £5,342.18
Therefore, the event made a loss of £1,631.82
Including Grant Support
Including all of the SIF donation in the event, a surplus of £1,368.18 remains which will help fund future campaigning activity, including our plans to host two similar events in 2024. Believe in Scotland has already started planning two rallies for 2024 (council and police permissions TBC).
Both Businesses for Scotland and the Believe in Scotland campaign are fully carbon neutral. We use recycled paper and packaging wherever possible and all of our books and leaflets are carbon offset through official schemes. In fact, we offset our activities many times over.
We also have a Believe in Scotland grove through Trees for Life which as of March 2023 has more than 115 trees. You can donate trees here which will be planted in a programme to rewild the Scottish Highlands by enabling the restoration of the globally unique Caledonian Forest which once covered much of Scotland.
We are creating a national database for grassroots Yes groups to manage their memberships and campaigns. Every local group will have a login and be able to manage their members and canvassing data online, print off street maps & analytical data, send email and text blasts to volunteers etc.
When the next official Yes campaign starts they will also be provided with canvassing apps so that their volunteers can collect canvas data from their phones and add it to the database. We will conduct large sample polling that the Yes movement can trust and use it for messaging and targeting, which will then be shared with all groups and parties.
We will run more campaigning events such as the March and Rally in Edinburgh on the 2nd of September 2023, which was a huge success. Pictures from the event can be viewed here.
Independence Ambassador training will also be provided to activists to help them engage and educate undecided voters.
We will also be using light projectors to light up buildings with key messages in 2024.
In short, we are laying the foundations for the most professional data driven political campaign ever run in Europe and we will win.
That's just the tip of the iceberg - we won't share most of our plans as we do not wish to give the opposition too much of a heads-up.