Pages tagged with "ScotRef"

Polling News: Yes support unchanged from October 2022 according to BIS-commissioned poll

A Panelbase poll conducted on behalf of Believe in Scotland has found 48% of respondents in support of Yes, the same as polls in October 2022, despite alleged ‘setbacks’ for the independence campaign. These results show that with a concentrated effort by the independence movement and the Scottish Government to put the focus back on independence, the results can be even higher and put us in a good position to hold a referendum campaign. 

This poll was conducted by PanelBase, surveying more than 2,000 respondents across Scotland weighted for age, social class etc. It finds that, when those who responded ‘Don’t Know’ are removed, 48% are in support of independence, compared to 52% who are opposed. This is a 4% decrease from a previous PanelBase poll conducted for The Times in December 2022 but is identical to another poll conducted in October 2022. Despite reported ‘setbacks’ in other polls, overall support for independence remains strong. The poll also measures how individuals would vote in a UK General and Scottish Parliamentary Election, which is particularly important given the Scottish Government’s proposal to run the next General Election as a de facto independence referendum. When these votes are translated into seats, we can see that the SNP would maintain a majority of seats both in Westminster and Holyrood. However, as things stand they do not have a majority of votes, even when this is combined with support from other pro-indy parties like the Scottish Greens and Alba. This shows that the use of such a strategy would have to be carefully considered in order to achieve a Yes vote that eventually grants us independence. 

While these results do not yet display an overall majority for Yes, voters have also shown they believe that Scottish independence is not only likely but inevitable. 65% of those polled believe that Scotland will become independent in the future, with over 50% believing that it will become independent in the next 10 years. This reinforces what Believe in Scotland has been saying for years- independence is normal and it is a likely prospect in the minds of many people across Scotland.

When the results are considered in detail, we can also see some variations in support with different demographic groups. Young people aged 16-34 years old consistently support independence at a higher rate (67%) compared to those who are older, particularly in the 55+ age group (35%). Interestingly, more women aged 35-54 support independence at 57% compared to men at the same age at 46%. Another significant group that supports independence at a higher than average rate is 2016 Remain voters (55%), as well as people who did not vote in that referendum (68%). People can see that Brexit continues to be an unmitigated disaster and are reacting accordingly. Conversely, 2016 Leave voters are one of the largest groups opposing independence at 71%. Campaigning to appease Leave voters to win a campaign like the rest of the UK political parties will not work. The independence campaign must promise closer ties with the EU or at least to address Remain and those who did not vote fears. 

The poll does not paint a good picture of public opinion on the Westminster government. Over 90% of those polled argue that UK Government policy was a factor in causing the current cost of living crisis. The Scottish public can see the impact of Westminster mismanagement in the form of increased heating bills, the cost of essentials and potentially not being able to afford food. They deserve better than what they have been given.

These results are critical following the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister of Scotland last week. The independence movement is currently at an impasse in terms of how to approach the independence vote following the UK Government’s blocking of a Section 30 request for a second independence referendum in October 2023. The 2014 independence referendum campaign began with support for independence in the mid-30s, rising to 45% in the actual result. With a concentrated campaigning effort, which puts the focus back on winning independence, the EU and the Wellbeing Economic Approach, we are almost guaranteed to push support even higher than where it is now. Despite Westminster and the UK media establishment’s best attempts to divide and undermine us, we can further consolidate support. 

Fortunately, we at Believe in Scotland believe we have the solution. Believe in Scotland, along with its parent organisation Business for Scotland, have been championing the adoption of the Wellbeing Economic approach in an independent Scotland, with the idea eventually being endorsed by the Scottish Government. This approach puts social development on equal footing with economic development, believing that you cannot have one without the other. Our poll found that support for independence with the adoption of a Wellbeing approach increases to 55% and this approach with the inclusion of an increase in the current state pension to at least £225 a month, support increases to a supermajority of 60%. These results are telling- we can achieve independence if we put wellbeing at the heart of our campaign. 

Top lawyer: UK refusal to negotiate with Scotland on independence “undemocratic”

Rising star in the field of Scottish and UK law Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, who is a fellow at Princeton in the US, argues the UK government risks undermining the rule of law and should change its stance to allow a referendum on Scottish independence. 

In a hard-hitting legal analysis in the current issue of Prospect magazine, Douglas-Scott writes: "The UK government’s refusal to negotiate the independence issue with Scotland (including to permit a referendum) is unreasonable". She goes on to argue that:

“By ignoring the mandate of a lawful government, the UK government’s conduct in this context also undermines the rule of law."

Douglas-Scott, who is also a chair of law at Queen Mary University in London, argues that democracy is a key constitutional principle. She writes:

“The UK government has undermined democracy by ignoring the SNP’s 2021 manifesto pledge to hold another referendum, the endorsement of that pledge by the Scottish people, as well as the vote in the Scottish parliament in January 2020 for a further referendum.”

Supreme Court wrong to dismiss the issue of self-determination

Douglas-Scott argues that the Supreme Court under its current President Lord Reed defined devolution too narrowly:

“The Reed Court inclines toward legal formalism—in that it takes a narrow reading of the rule of law, adopts a close reading of legal texts and eschews arguments which stray into broader issues (such as those relevant to Scottish independence which rest on the principle of democracy).”

Many Scots would have been surprised to read that the Supreme Court summarily dismissed the argument that Scotland has the right to self-determination under international law. It said that this right only belongs to a colony, that Scotland is clearly not a colony and has no right to “secede”. 

That begs the question - what is Scotland then? Is it merely a region of the UK or is it an ancient country which entered by agreement into a voluntary union?

Douglas-Scott argues it is the latter. She writes that “time and time again” the UK government has indicated that Scotland is a voluntary partner in the Union and has the right to consider its future.

“Through its own conduct over many years, the UK government has generated an expectation allowing for independence in principle. If the UK government refuses to countenance any new independence referendum, it will undermine the characterisation of the Union as voluntary. 

“Its behaviour will also fly in the face of history, reducing Scotland to the status of a colony or a region with no history of independent statehood, while undermining any claims (made by UK government ministers) for the exceptional, “family” nature of Union.” 

The Union is an ongoing agreement between two independent nations

Douglas-Scott argues that the Treaty of Union was not a one-off act but the basis for an ongoing agreement between two nations. 

“Constitutional relations between Scotland and England have existed for over 300 years, since the UK was established by a Treaty of Union between two sovereign states, which was then ratified by two Acts of Union in the respective parliaments. 

“But this relationship, and the issue of consent of both parties to it, is an ongoing one, not something over and done with thanks to an Act of Union three centuries old. Since 1707, Scotland has maintained its own distinct civic institutions, legal system, church and cultural heritage—all factors which point to the Union as a continuing agreement between two independent nations.”

Scotland must demonstrate support for independence

Douglas-Scott argues that:

“All these arguments must be supported by evidence that the Scottish people desire to exercise their right to self-determination and leave the Union.”

Douglas-Scott acknowledges that Scots were misled in the 2014 referendum:

“During that campaign, the pro-UK Better Together alliance conspicuously argued that Scotland could only retain its EU membership by remaining in the UK. This was not so; and since then, Brexit has taken place. In the 2016 EU referendum, Scotland voted 62 percent in favour of Remain. Although the Scottish government protested that it was undemocratic for Scotland to be taken out of the EU against its will, this argument was ignored by the UK government, and the whole UK exited the EU on 31st January 2020.”

A referendum would be the clearest way to demonstrate the desire for independence, but there is precedent for using a general election to give voters a voice on a single issue.

“The 1910 general election was fought on the issue of the Liberal government’s “People’s Budget”. The 1918 general election was fought by Sinn Féin on a manifesto commitment to establish an Irish Republic.” 

Conclusion

According to Douglas-Scott’s analysis, the UK government is acting unreasonably when it refuses to negotiate over a referendum on Scottish independence. The Supreme Court took a narrow, procedural view in its judgment and refused to consider the broader issue of democratic principles.

Denying Scotland the right to self-determination and to consider its future “flies in the face of history”. The Union is an ongoing agreement between two independent nations. 

Douglas-Scott still argues that the UK government should change its mind and allow a referendum on independence. But if the referendum route continues to be blocked, the Scottish government can legitimately use the next general election to test support for independence. 

Further Reading

The UK Supreme Court has not settled the Scottish independence question by Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Prospect Magazine

Ten things you need to know about the Supreme Court judgment - and the response

The UK Supreme Court jugment that the Scottish government doesn’t have the legal right to hold a referendum is a huge milestone in the road to independence. It gives clarity over the nature of the Union; it ends this potentially time-consuming legal stage promptly and puts the question of Scotland’s independence firmly back into the political sphere. Here are ten takeaways from the judgment and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s statement in response. 

1 Scotland’s independence movement respects the judgment of the Court

The judges were ruling on a matter of existing law. They don’t make the rules - they only apply them. Unlike the infamous attack by the Daily Mail on three judges involved in a High Court challenge to Brexit, when it ran their photos under the headline “Enemies of the People”, Scotland’s independence movement respects the rule of law. The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon said in her response to today’s judgment:

“We must be clear today that the Supreme Court does not make the law – it interprets and applies it. If the devolution settlement in the Scotland Act is inconsistent with any reasonable notion of Scottish democracy – as is now confirmed to be the case – that is the fault of Westminster lawmakers, not the justices of the Supreme Court.” 

2 Only a lawful, democratic and peaceful approach will achieve successful independence

Nicola Sturgeon said that maintaining respect for the rule of law is vital for Scotland’s eventual success.

“That principle also reflects a practical reality – the route we take must be lawful and democratic for independence to be achieved.”

3 The Supreme Court did not rule on whether Scotland should become an independent country

The question the Supreme Court was asked - was: Does Holyrood have the power under the Scotland Act to hold a consultative referendum? The court decided unanimously that it does not without a section 30 order, like the one agreed for the 2014 referendum.

Presiding Judge Lord Reed said: “The Court is not asked, and cannot be asked, to express a view on the political question of whether Scotland should become an independent country. Its task is solely to decide on the provisions of the Scotland Act”. 

4 The democratic mandate for independence is as strong as ever

In her response, Nicola Sturgeon said the judgment means that without a Section 30 order “the Scottish Parliament cannot legislate for the referendum the people of Scotland have instructed it to deliver. That is a hard pill for any supporter of independence – and surely indeed for any supporter of democracy – to swallow.” But she went on to reiterate the democratic basis for the request. 

“The Court was not asked to decide if there is a democratic mandate for a referendum. The mandate and parliamentary majority for a referendum is undeniable. Nor was the Court asked if Scotland should be independent. Only the Scottish people can be the judge of that.”

5  Any referendum on Scottish independence would carry great democratic weight 

The Scottish government argued that a referendum that was simply about consulting the people of Scotland and was not binding on the UK government could be allowed. But the Supreme Court disagreed. It said that while it may not be legally binding, it would be of huge political significance and could weaken the UK Parliament’s sovereignty over Scotland. 

Lord Reed said:

” A lawfully-held referendum would have important political consequences relating to the Union and the UK parliament. Its outcome would possess the authority -  in a political constitution and culture founded upon democracy - of a democratic expression of the view of the Scottish electorate. It would either strengthen or weaken the democratic legitimacy of the Union and of the UK Parliament's sovereignty over Scotland.”

6 A majority vote for independence in a general election will carry the same democratic weight

That presumably will also apply to the next general election. If more than half of the voters in that contest vote for a party standing for independence, that will also carry the weight of a democratic expression of the will of the Scottish people. 

Nicola Sturgeon reiterated the SNP’s determination to seek a way for Scotland to express its democratic will on this question:

“We must and will find another democratic, lawful and constitutional means by which the Scottish people can express their will.In my view, that can only be an election The next national election scheduled for Scotland is the UK General Election, making it both the first and the most obvious opportunity to seek what I described back in June as a de facto referendum.” 

7 The Supreme Court ruled Scotland can’t claim the international right to self-determination

The Scottish National Party made separate submissions to the Supreme Court in the case. It argued that Scotland could claim the right to self-determination under international law and that this should affect how the Scotland Act is interpreted. They quoted strong representations that the UK government had made to the UN in support of the principle of self-determination in other cases, such as Kosovo and the Falkland Isles. 

But the Supreme Court rejected that. They interpreted cases over Quebec, Kosovo and the Falklands to mean that this right only applies to former colonies or where a people is oppressed under foreign military occupation,  or where a defined group is denied equal access to government. The court said this position did not apply to Scotland. 

8 So an ancient country with a voluntary Treaty has less right to self-determination than a colony?

So on the one hand, the Court said Scotland is not like a former colony, but on the other that it does not have the sovereignty to hold a referendum on its independence from the UK. That is a paradox.

Scotland is not a colony but a country with a long history, which entered into an international Treaty of Union with the UK. Surely that should make it easier, not harder to leave the Union?

9 The Supreme Court’s judgment changes the nature of the Union

The Supreme Court’s judgment means that it appears that the United Kingdom can no longer be seen as a voluntary Union. In her response, Nicola Sturgeon said that while some Unionists would crow over what they saw as a victory, others would be concerned. 

“That is because they will understand that this judgment raises profound and deeply uncomfortable questions about the basis and future of the United Kingdom. Until now, it has been understood and accepted – by opponents of independence as well as by its supporters – that the UK is a voluntary partnership of nations.

“The Royal Commission on Scottish Affairs back in 1950 said this: “Scotland is a nation and voluntarily entered into the Union as a partner”. That sentiment was echoed nearly 60 years later by the cross-party Calman Commission which described the UK as “a voluntary union and partnership”. And it was reinforced in 2014 by the Smith Commission which made clear that “nothing in its report prevented Scotland becoming an independent country should the people of Scotland so choose. What today’s ruling tells us, however, is that the Scotland Act does not in fact uphold that long-held understanding of the basis of the relationships that constitute the UK – on the contrary, it shatters that understanding completely."

10  Independence is the only way for Scotland to become an equal partner in Britain's "family of nations"

Back in 2014, Scotland was told to "lead not leave" and that it was voting to remain in a partnership of equals. telling Scotland it now has no choice is likely to increase support for independence.

Independence support has already been increased by the disastrous Brexit that has been foisted upon Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon's statement said that, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility, Brexit is costing public revenues in Scotland upwards of £3.2 billion a year. Low-income households in the UK are now 22 percent poorer than their counterparts in France, and 21 percent poorer than in Germany. Independence is needed for Scotland to achieve its potential - the UK is holding Scotland back. 

Let’s be blunt: a so-called partnership in which one partner is denied the right to choose a different future – or even to ask itself the question —cannot be described in any way as voluntary...And that exposes a situation that is quite simply unsustainable. In the words of former Tory Prime Minister, John Major: “No nation could be held irrevocably in a Union against its will Indeed, perhaps what today’s judgment confirms more than anything else, is that the only guarantee for Scotland of equality within the British family of nations is through independence – that fact is now clearer than ever before.” 

Conclusion 

The Supreme Court’s judgment ends the legal stage of the fight for Scotland’s independence. Scotland is a country with a long and proud history. If her people want to leave the Union that was entered into by a political treaty, then that is a democratic right. 

The Supreme Court made clear that the voice of the Scottish people will carry huge political weight. If there cannot be a specific referendum on independence, that voice will be heard at the next General Election. 

Two-thirds of Scots think the UK will not exist in ten years, Ipsos polling shows

Almost two-thirds of Scots say the UK will break up within a decade, and half think it will take just five years, according to a new poll by Ipsos Mori. 

Half of Scots want Scotland to vote for independence, with another 4% saying they don’t mind either way.

And despite the constant onslaught by Unionist politicians and media, most Scots say an independent Scotland will be either more prosperous or equally as prosperous as it is under Westminster rule. 

Independence on 50% - with 4% saying they “don’t mind either way”

Asked if they would prefer Scotland to vote for or against independence, 50% of Scots said ‘for’, 43% ‘against’ with 4% saying they don’t mind either way and 2% ‘don’t know’. 

In Northern Ireland, less than half - 43% said they would like Scotland to vote ‘against’ independence with 26% saying they ‘don’t mind either way’ and 28% saying ‘for’. In Wales and England, a slim majority of 54% wanted Scotland to vote against independence. 

Only a quarter of Scots think the UK will last a decade in its current form

Asked if the UK will still exist in its current form in ten years, just a quarter of Scots, 26%, think it will, with 13% saying they don’t know, and 61% saying it will have broken up. And in just five years, less than half of Scots (42%) think the UK will still exist:  49% say it won’t still exist and 9% don’t know.

A majority of people in Northern Ireland, Wales, and England agree that the UK will have ceased to exist in its present form within a decade. Even in England, less than half - 46% - predict the UK will still exist in its current form in five years - down from 51% six months ago.  If you take the timeline to 20 years, only around 20% in England and 11% in Northern Ireland say the UK will still exist in its current form. 

Independent Scotland will either be better off or the same, say most Scots

More than half of Scots say that an independent Scotland would be either more prosperous (43%)  or equally as wealthy (10%)  as under Westminster rule, with less than half, 43% thinking independent Scotland would be worse off and 4% ticking ‘don’t know’.  

In England, however, 58% of people think an independent Scotland would be worse off - but only 50% of those surveyed in Wales and 45% of those in Northern Ireland agree. The percentage of ‘don’t knows’ was higher in the other three UK countries than Scotland, at between 12 and 14%.

The rest of the UK more likely to be worse off when Scotland becomes independent

In all four nations, people are more likely to think the economies of the rest of the Union would be worse off (37%) than better off (20%) if Scotland became independent, with 45% of Scots saying that the rest of the UK will be worse off after independence.

There is widespread concern about the current state of the UK economy: 80% of Scots expect the general economic condition of the UK to worsen in the next 12 months, compared to 73% in February 2022. They are only slightly more optimistic about Scotland: 73% expect Scotland’s general economic condition to get worse over the year ahead, compared to 68% earlier this year.

Independence support is higher than average in this new poll. 

The poll did not ask the standard Yes/No question on Scottish independence, opting rather to ask if people would prefer Scotland voted for or against independence.  This will be due to the fact that it was a UK-wide poll.  The figures for Scotland were 50% would prefer Scotland voted for independence versus 43% against. 4% had no preference and 2% were undecided.  Now that adds up to 99% and we don't know where the rounding effect impacts so we can’t be 100% certain but we can estimate that this would result in 53% Yes 47% No as things stand.   

This data was collected by Ipsos’s UK Knowledge Panel, a random probability panel which provides gold-standard insights into the UK population.  Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 6,944 people over the age of 16 in the UK online from 13th to 19th October 2022. 

The findings echo other recent polls showing Scotland moving towards independence

The polling echoes recent findings that most Scots have much more trust in the Scottish government than in Westminster. A poll by Panelbase for Believe in Scotland in October found that 50% of Scottish voters had more trust in the economic competence of the Holyrood government than in the UK Government. Only 28% had more trust in Westminster’s economic competence and 22% answered that they didn’t know.

Also published last month, the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey shows that Scottish voters increasingly say they don’t trust Westminster to act in Scotland’s best interests. Two-thirds of respondents think that they can trust the Scottish Government to work in Scotland’s interests, compared to just 22% who say the same about the UK Government. 

It also confirms the long-term trend towards independence. Over the last decade, the number of Scots supporting independence has gone from around 28% to above 50%. The Social Attitudes survey began in 1997 and can map the trends since then.  Ipsos Mori confirms the trend, with polling starting back in 1979, when support for independence stood at just 14%. 

This recent data shows that Scots are growing in confidence and starting to look towards an independent future, where it will elect its own governments all of the time. 

Labour will collapse in polls (again) if party won't support Scotland's right to self-determination

As the UK Labour conference gets underway the party is again hopeful that it will, for the first time in a generation, be able to lead the next UK Government - probably with no overall majority. The next general election is scheduled for 2024; it is possible it will come sooner than that. But whenever it is, it will be fought in Scotland on a single question - Does Scotland have the right to self-determination? 

The Labour Party leadership continues to give a resounding “No” to that question - regardless of how the people of Scotland vote in that election. Their rhetoric on the issue is aggressive and likely to upset many potential voters. The Observer (the Sunday Guardian) reported on Sunday: 

“He [Starmer] is especially vehement about not making any deals with the SNP. People may have underestimated just how fervent he is in his conviction that the United Kingdom must be kept together…In the event that the SNP tried to blackmail a minority Labour government, he believes he can call their bluff. "We will get them to blink. If they want to bring down a Labour government and introduce the risk of another Tory government in Westminster, they can go and explain that to their voters in Scotland. We wouldn't do a deal and I don't think we need to do a deal."

Labour's policy is that if they ended up holding power after the next election, they would refuse to support a referendum on Scottish Independence, as the UK Conservative/Lid-dem Government did in 2012 with the Edinburgh Agreement. Instead, they want to set up a commission on reforming the House of Lords, a manifesto promise they have been making for over 100 years and not acted upon when in Government.

This seems at odds with the latest Social Attitude report, showing 4 in 10 Labour supporters in Scotland and 3 in 10 in England support independence for Scotland.  

Here are three reasons why the Labour Party should reconsider its position on Scotland. 

1 If the Labour Party gets a lower share of the vote than the SNP,  they will have no mandate in Scotland.

In the 2019 general election, the Conservatives got 43% of the UK vote. But the SNP actually won 45% of votes cast in Scotland. The 2021 Scottish general election then delivered another mandate for an independence referendum, with independence-supporting parties securing 48% of the vote. 

Next election, Labour has a mountain to climb, but it may get enough votes to lead a minority government in the next Westminster Parliament. How would a Labour Government be able to argue that they have a democratic mandate but the SNP doesn’t? They will end up with a significantly lower vote share than the SNP. 

Refusing a referendum under those conditions would suggest there is one law for Scotland and another law for the rest of the UK. 

2 Refusing a referendum suggests Labour has abandoned its core values

The Labour Party often voices support for self-determination for people in other parts of the world. It is a basic democratic principle that the party has long signed up to. Why break that commitment when it comes to Scotland? What does that say about Labour values? 

In the Good Friday Agreement, the UK Labour Government explicitly recognised the principle of self-determination for the people of Northern Ireland. A combination of the underlying demographic trends and the political fallout of Brexit means that a referendum is likely to be held there in the next five years and the agreement states that referendums may be held every seven years.

A decade has passed since the Edinburgh Agreement - why should Scotland have to wait so much longer? 

3 Arguing that Scots don’t have a right to hold a referendum undermines the case for the Union

Even Margaret Thatcher said that all Scotland had to do if it wanted independence was to vote in a majority of SNP MPs. David Cameron also argued that the Union was voluntary and that the case for the Union was based on mutual respect. 

That was the basis on which Scotland voted No in 2014. Of course, the day after the poll, Cameron went straight into campaigning for the 2015 general election. He announced that Scottish MPs would no longer be able to vote for most of any likely Labour agenda in Westminster under EVEL (English Votes for English Laws) - much to the Labour party’s chagrin. What would be the point of voting for a Scottish Labour MP under those conditions? 

In that election campaign, the Conservatives then pursued a narrative of calling any progressive alliance involving the SNP “a coalition of chaos”. In 2015, the Labour Party allowed itself to be bullied into renouncing plans to cooperate. That is the playbook the Conservatives are still pursuing today and the trap that Labour are once again walking into.  

Labour lost most of their Westminster seats back in 2015 - but they have stuck with the same policy. It still doesn’t make sense to many. Where does the Labour Party's opposition to a referendum under any circumstances say about the case for the Union?

It means that the basis of the 2014 Better Together campaign - that Scotland should vote to remain in a strong and successful - and voluntary - partnership has effectively been abandoned.

Conclusion

At the end of his warts and all account of the 2014 Better Together campaign ‘Project Fear’, political journalist Joe Pike concludes:

“A surprising number of pro-UK politicians and advisors I spoke to said something along the lines of: ‘There’s going to be a second Scottish independence referendum and we will lose it.’ “ 

Is the real reason that the Labour Party doesn't want to recognise the mandate for a referendum that they think Scots will vote for independence? 

Has the Labour Party essentially given up on the possibility of getting more than a couple of MPs in Scotland ever again - and their current anti-Scotland rhetoric is intended just for voters in England?

Those are not good reasons. Pushing against a clear democratic mandate undermines their own position in the long term. The Labour Party should support the principles of democracy and self-determination, at home as well as abroad.

Five Reasons Scotland can be confident of rejoining the EU

As Scotland reboots its independence campaign, the European situation has changed in major respects since 2014. Here are some of the factors that underlie the Yes movement’s renewed confidence over EU membership. 

#1 If Scotland had voted ‘Yes; in 2014, we would still be in the EU today

Rewind to 2014. The Spanish Foreign Minister at the time, commented that as long as Scotland became independent by a legal process, Spain would have ‘nothing to say’ about that. But despite this, the media was full of headlines suggesting it might be difficult or take a long time for Scotland to get back in - EU Commission President Manuel Barroso even intervened in the campaign, giving a controversial interview on the Andrew Marr show. His words were interpreted to create a slew of negative headlines

In fact, had there been a Yes’ vote in 2014, even if there had been some kind of paperwork trail to go through, an independent Scotland would be in the European Union today. The rest of the UK, if it wanted to leave, would have had to negotiate a protocol with Scotland of the kind that applies to Northern Ireland since Brexit. 

People who voted ‘No’ in 2014 have every right to feel that they were misled by the Better Together campaign’s claims that independence would lead to leaving the EU and voting No would secure our membership.  A leaflet sent to every home in Scotland on the benefits of being in the UK featured a picture of the EU flag and the words:

"An Influential Voice in Important Places... As one of the EU’s ‘big four’ nations, the UK is more able to protect Scottish interests. "  

#2 Casting doubt on Scotland’s EU membership without evidence won’t fly

Most people didn’t question what they read and heard - the Better Together technique was not to set out a strong case, but just to cast doubt, and feed uncertainty. So Better Together continually suggested that Scotland might not be allowed to join; or that it would have to join a “queue” for membership - even though there isn’t a queue, it is done on a case by case basis. Countries such as Finland and Sweden completed the process in less than three years. 

For more than a year in the run-up to the independence referendum, Scots were subjected to a torrent of headlines, reports, columns, TV debates that suggested Scotland’s EU membership could be rejected, a suggestion without much foundation in fact. Few readers got to the end of these stories, where the comment from the independence side was buried. 

 “‘Impossible’ for Scotland to join EU’” shouted the Scotsman’s banner headline; “Separate Scotland Might Not Get Into EU, warns Barroso” - the Times; “Independent Scotland would find it extremely difficult to join EU” - the Guardian

History has revealed this to be Unionist propaganda - the real risk to Scotland’s EU membership was actually from staying in the UK.  That was underplayed at the time, although some commentators did point it out. But those who suggested this was a possibility in TV debates were greeted with derision. The same tactic is unlikely to work a second time. 

#3 The UK is no longer a member of the EU and has little influence

The most significant change of circumstances today is that the UK is no longer an EU member. The backdrop to the previous referendum was an EU that was keen to retain Britain at the top table. Westminster’s envoys were in constant communication with Brussels. They were able to pressure EU officials and members to get them to intervene in the 2014 campaign.

The situation is very different now. The UK Government is not on good terms with the EU. The next prospective Prime Minister Liz Truss has already made threats to unilaterally tear up the Northern Irish protocol, causing frustration in Brussels. 

In these circumstances, the UK Government would find it difficult to get any EU member country or any senior EU official to do its bidding in terms of threatening Scotland by saying that it would not be allowed to join the EU as an independent country.

#4 Senior EU figures say the EU would “enthusiastically” welcome Scotland after independence.

VP of the Green group in the European Parliament, German MEP Terry Reintke visited Scotland earlier this month to participate in discussions about Scotland’s continued cooperation with the EU. She said:

“If Scotland were to become an independent country, an accession procedure to the European Union would be much easier – as Scotland had previously applied the full acquis [EU statues book] already.”

Sylvie Bermann, one of France’s leading diplomats, and the former ambassador to the UK said that the EU would welcome the accession of an independent Scotland.

“The situation has changed because there’s been Brexit…Probably there would be some negotiation, but [Scotland joining the EU] would be good for Europe. There’s no reason why if there’s this referendum which is accepted that we shouldn’t want to have Scotland – we’ll be very happy.”

Fabian Zuleeg, chief executive of the European Policy Centre in Brussels, said “the mood on the EU side is rather positive” and suggested an independent Scotland might be able to conclude membership negotiations in “two to three years” – similar to Finland in the mid-1990s. Many leading MEPs from every corner of Europe have expressed support and said the process of accession would be smooth.

#5 The Northern Ireland protocol could be a template for independent Scotland

Because Ireland is now in the EU and Northern Ireland is not, the UK and Ireland agreed on the Northern Irish protocol. This is supported by governments in Washington, Brussels, Dublin and Belfast. The First Minister Elect of Northern Ireland Michelle O’Neill is on a trip to Washington meeting US Government representatives, and gave a hard-hitting interview to CNN, defending the protocol. She said: 

"Who wouldn't want the access that we now have to both markets, to the EU and the British markets?"

The protocol has been adjusted in various ways, but it is working for the Northern Irish economy which is growing faster than the UK. While Scotland suffers all the harms and blocks of Brexit, Northern Ireland can trade freely with the EU and also, for the most part, with the UK.

All of the effort that has gone into streamlining border checks for goods traded across the EU’s border with the UK demonstrate how this could effectively happen with Scotland. It may be that the real reason that the UK government wants to tear it up is not to pander to the Democratic Unionist Party but to prevent the protocol showing that independence for Scotland as with the protocol in Northern Ireland could result in relatively few border checks, and those for goods only, not for people. Despite Brexit, both Northern Ireland and Ireland continue to be part of the Common Travel Zone with the UK. 

Conclusion

Scotland was a member of the EU for more than four decades. Most of its laws are compatible with EU statute; it shares the values of rule of law, support for human rights and cooperation. Every single council area in Scotland voted to remain in the EU - it was a strong and unified voice. Despite that, the UK decided to pursue the hard Brexit sought by a factional government. 

Scotland can be confident that returning to EU membership will be straightforward and should take less than three years. The process of accession could begin while Scotland is still negotiating the detail of its independence from the UK Government.

"Scottish democracy can’t be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any other Prime Minister"

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced in Parliament today that there will be a second independence referendum to be held on Thursday, October 19th, 2023. 

Nicola Sturgeon said the referendum has already been referred to the Supreme Court, by the Lord Advocate. She hopes it will be allowed, without a section 30 order from the UK government,  but said 

“If it does transpire that there is no lawful way for this Parliament to give the people of Scotland the choice of independence in a referendum and if  the UK Government continues to deny a section 30 order,  my party will fight the next general election on this single question, ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?”” 

Here are some key points from the speech. 

1 “We say ‘Yes’ and we are the people”

There was a long struggle to establish a Scottish Parliament. Those who strived for it were committed to the right of the Scottish people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs. 

The Scottish Constitutional Convention laid the groundwork for devolution. It  asked: “What if that other voice we all know so well responds by saying: ‘we say No and we are the state?” 

Nicola Sturgeon quoted Canon Kenyon Wright’s “simple and powerful” response - “Well we say yes and we are the people”.

2 Inspired - and informed - by the example of other independent countries

Scotland should be inspired when it looks at the performance of independent countries across Europe that are comparable to it. They are doing much better on a range of metrics. This demonstrates that Scotland over generations has paid a price for not being independent.  

Westminster governments Scotland didn't elect have imposed policies Scotland didn’t support, holding Scotland back from fulfilling its potential. 

3 The Conservatives have only 10% of Scotland’s MPs - yet they ripped us out of the EU

Despite having only 6 Scottish MPs, the Conservatives have been able to rip Scotland out of the EU. Businesses and public services are struggling for staff because freedom of movement has ended, and young Scots have been deprived of opportunities. 

The Conservatives have created the worst cost of living crisis in the G7 and the second-lowest growth in the G20.  They are also demonising workers, stoking industrial strife and provoking a trade war. 

4 The Scottish Government doesn’t have the levers it needs

Many look to the Scottish government for leadership. But it doesn't have the levers it needs to shape Scotland’s economy and grow the country’s wealth 

Mitigating damage is not enough - the Scottish government can’t prevent its budget being cut. It can’t stop the UK government pushing thousands of children deeper into poverty with the stroke of a pen. It can’t protect human rights or prevent anti-trade union legislation being enacted

5 Now is the time to build a fairer, green, wealthier Scotland 

Independence will allow Scotland to chart her own course, to build a fairer, greener, wealthier country.  It will allow Scotland to be guided by values and interests that are shared by more of its people. 

Now is the time to get Scotland on the right path, the path chosen by those who live here. An independent Scotland can be outward-looking and internationalist. 

6 "Scottish democracy can’t be allowed to be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any other Prime Minister"

The UK Government is refusing to respect Scottish democracy. The Scottish Parliament has a clear mandate for a new independence referendum. But the legality is contested by those opposed to independence. The Lord Advocate has already set the wheels in motion for the Supreme Court to decide if the referendum will be legal. If not, it won’t happen.

"If the referendum is disallowed it will end any

idea that the union is a voluntary union of equals." 

7 Believe in Scotland

Let’s make a positive case for independence. Let the opposition make the case for continued Westminster rule and then let the people decide.

Independence means trusting the talents and ingenuity of people who live here. Scotland has unrivaled energy, extraordinary natural heritage, a strong basis in the industries of the future, brilliant universities and colleges, a highly skilled and creative population.  Many independent countries don’t have the resources Scotland is blessed with. It's time to believe in Scotland!

Ten reasons Scotland can't afford to stay in the UK any longer

Campaigners for the union try to make people fear that independence somehow risks damaging Scotland’s prosperity. Indeed, it sometimes appears to be their only tactic. All the evidence suggests that Scotland has what it takes to thrive as an independent nation - it will be the most advanced and wealthiest nation ever to achieve its independence. Within the Union, Scotland is not as wealthy as many similar-sized northern European nations, many of whom lack Scotland's massive natural wealth and economic advantages. In fact, it trails behind even Northern Ireland in terms of growth. There is a cost to staying in the UK too, both in financial terms and in the opportunity cost. The Union Scotland is failing to realise its true potential and it looks set to continue on that path for as long as it is held back by a combination of Westminster incompetence and a lack of care for Scotland's interests.

1 The windfall tax on Scottish assets is bailing out the UK

The windfall tax on oil and gas companies' profits, combined with tax takes from the energy companies and petrol taxes levied at the pump are going to raise billions for the UK Treasury. Bloomberg reported the Treasury will collect £12 billion of tax from the oil and gas sector in 2022 - before adding the £5 billion windfall tax. That does not include fuel duties on petrol and heating oil which are expected to raise £26.2 billion this year.

This money is being raised largely from Scotland’s natural assets. And yet Scots pay more than anyone else in the UK to fuel their cars and heat their homes. To add insult to injury, headlines at the time of the last independence referendum told voters Scotand’s oil was about to run out. ​​In May 2014, one of the BBC’s leading stories reported “In just over five years Britain will have run out of oil, coal and gas.

The windfall tax also carries a tax ‘super-deductible’ that is designed to encourage more fossil fuel extraction. The UK Government is continuing a half century of mismanaging Scotland’s energy potential the same way. 

2 The UK Government has demonstrated it can’t be trusted to invest fairly

In an act of breathtaking political hubris, the UK Government passed over the Acorn carbon capture project in one of Europe’s biggest energy producing areas, Aberdeen. The Scottish Cluster – comprised of major industrial emitters, as well Acorn’s developers Storegga Geotechnologies, Shell and Harbour Energy – would have been an obvious choice for the technology. Instead, the UK Government decided to invest in marginal constituencies in the North of England. They demonstrated they cannot be trusted to help Scotland realise its potential to become the renewables powerhouse of northern Europe. 

3 For Scotland to realise its green energy potential requires a massive investment in the national grid

Scotland could power the whole UK and more. The Northern Isles alone could power the whole of Scotland. Right now, wind farms in Orkney have to pay financial penalties for creating more energy than the outdated grid can take. It doesn't matter how much tidal, wind and hydro energy they can produce, it is worthless - even a negative cost - without an efficient, renewables-based grid. The UK’s privatised National Grid is still configured around coal-fired power stations in the north of Engand that no longer exist. Creating a grid that could support Scotland’s transition to green power would require a multi-billion investment. 

Robert Gordon University recently calculated that for Aberdeen to become a global hub for renewable energy would take a £17 billion investment - and the money needs to start coming in now.  The ‘Making the Switch’ review says that “urgent capital investment” is urgent - without it the UK will miss its climate targets and Aberdeen will miss the boat. Yet the UK Government is investing only paltry, tiny sums for this important work.  Instead, the UK Government passed a law putting a levy on all UK energy bills to fund outdated and increasingly expensive nuclear power that Scotland doesn’t need.

If Scotland was independent and produced 100% of its own energy requirement from cheaper renewable sources it could provide cheaper energy across the country. There are many ways to store renewable power nowadays - including pumped storage hydro. 

4 Scotland’s economy is visibly shrinking due to Brexit

The Centre for European Reform (CER) has concluded that by the end of last year the UK economy was 5.2%, or £31 billion, smaller than it would have been if the UK was still in the EU. 

Scotland is being hit worse than other areas of the UK. It has one of the oldest populations in the world, with an average age 42, two years higher than the UK average, and no immigration levers. Losing free movement and the pool of EU nationals who could come here to work means that hotels across the Highlands and islands are restricted to residents only for dinner; or even shut; restaurants are shut more of the time; care homes are reducing capacity and crops are not being planted

5 Northern Ireland’s economy is growing - Scotland’s isn’t

Data released by the Office of National Statistics ONS this week shows that Northern Ireland is doing way better than Scotland. It is outperforming all the rest of the UK, except for London. Only those two regions have gone back into economic growth since the pandemic. 

That is because Northern Ireland is protected from some of the worst effects of Brexit on trade by the NI Protocol. It still has a foot in the single market while also trading freely with the UK. 

After the Brexit vote, the Scottish Government suggested a compromise position which would mean Scotland having a similar half-in, half-out status to Nothern Ireland but that was rejected out of hand. 

6 The UK has the worst inflation in G7 - and the worst economic growth in the  G20 bar Russia

The 9% rise in the UK consumer price index is the highest since records began in 1989, outstripping the 8.4% annual rise posted in March 1992 and well ahead of the 7% seen in March of this year.

The UK is expected to have the highest inflation in the G7 not just this year but also in 2023 and 2024, according to economists. A Financial Times analysis of the causes of price increases across the world’s leading economies shows that Britain — where the inflation rate hit a 40-year high of 9 per cent in April — combines the worst aspects of other G7 countries. 

The OECD has predicted that the UK will have the worst economic growth of any G20 country bar Russia. The reason things are so bad for the UK is Brexit. 

7 The pound has lost 20% of its value - pushing inflation upwards

Since the Brexit vote, sterling has been on the slide and has lost 20% of its value. Oil is priced in dollars and is bought on the international markets - so petrol, heating oil, fertiliser and many other vital imports cost more and that adds to inflation. 

Mathew Lynn wrote in the Daily Telegraph recently: “We can no longer rule out that sterling will fall all the way to parity with the dollar for the first time in its history. Our departure from the European Union has worsened the trade deficit at precisely the wrong moment. It hit £278bn in the first quarter of the year, the highest figure on record, and equivalent to 1.8pc of GDP….this is a big enough deficit to merit concern about the stability of sterling.” 

8 The UK Government is squeezing Scotland’s budget - and it has to spend millions mitigating UK policies

The Scottish Fiscal Commission confirmed in December that: “Overall the Scottish Budget in 2022-23 is 2.6 percent lower than in 2021-22. After accounting for inflation the reduction is 5.2 percent.”

The situation is significantly worse The Scottish government gets no extra money in recognition of the huge sums being raised from taxing Scottish assets. Instead, it has to spend almost £600m, from its limited, fixed budget, mitigating policies which are out of step with Scotland’s electoral choices and designed to make life harder for the poor - such as the bedroom tax and the so-called rape clause which limits benefits to just two children per family. 

9 Loss of EU support for the Highland and Islands, food production and education

Scotland’s universities are being debarred from applying as associate members to the EU’s Horizon fund, the biggest science funding stream in the world. In the first retaliation for the UK Government’s posturing over the Northern Ireland protocol and Brexit, the EU has barred the UK from applying. Scotland's unis will lose a billion Euros

The Highlands and Islands are also set to lose large sums of money in vital funding - it seems the UK Government mislead voters when it promised to match at least the EU structural funds - its current plans won't do that. The structural funding is just one stream of EU support among many - and as the EU recognises "peripherality" which the UK Government doesn't, the Highlands and islands looks set to be a heavy loser from Brexit. Agriculture also looks set to lose out as the replacement for CAP won’t be as generous - more of the cost of food production will be paid by the consumer, and less by the taxpayer. 

10 The UK Government broke its promise on the triple lock, exposing pensioners to inflation and poverty

The UK Government broke its manifesto commitment to raise pensions in line with average wage growth at the worse possible time. Prices have soared. Pensioners, particularly those who are ill or disabled, are especially exposed to hardship caused by rising energy prices. Inflation on basic foodstuffs is also affecting their quality of life. Pensions rose by just 3% this April while inflation is running at around 9%. Even if the triple lock were reinstated in the autumn it would leave pensioners worse off and how could we trust the UK Government's pension promises ever again?

Scotland can no longer afford to sit by and let Westminster decide

An independent Scotland would be smaller and more agile than the UK, it could start making better decisions for Scotland on day one of independence. It could make decisions that are in line with the electoral priorities of Scots, such as rejoining the EU. It could use taxes raised on Scotland's assets to invest in the infrastructure that is needed for the next century of energy production.

Why Quebec's independence dream went wrong -  lessons for Scotland

Between 1990 and 2005, about 50% of people in Quebec said they wanted independence from Canada. But since then, that has fallen to a third. 

During the rise of the Quebec independence movement, there were two referendums. The first was in 1980 when the proposal for more sovereignty was rejected by a 59.56 percent to 40.44 percent margin. The second was in 1995 and extremely close. “No” won by a whisker - less than one percent. It secured 50.58% of the vote, on an exceptionally high turnout of 93.52%.

But now, almost two decades later, the issue of independence is no longer at the forefront of political debate. Only about a third of Quebecois still support independence, although another third supports greater autonomy for Quebec. 

So what changed? Why did two-thirds of the people of Quebec reject the dream of independence?  Here are three reasons why Quebec independence support fell away and why those circumstances differ from the Scottish independence movement. 

1 Quebec’s independence movement is primarily associated with a white ethnic identity.

In his 1995 concession speech, the Parti Quebecois premier, Jacques Parizeau, blamed “money and some ethnic votes” for the loss. 

Although there were progressive elements in the mix, Quebec’s movement towards independence was based around the Francophone community and cultural identity.  Canada is a huge country - it has a larger landmass than the USA. Quebec is three times as big as France although the population is only 8.5 million. Different areas developed quite differently. Quebec was once part of the French empire, and was settled by 10,000 French immigrants - around half of the population today are descended from them. The movement for Quebec independence centred around protecting the French language and the cultural identity they developed as Quebecois. 

In general, the French settlers had better relations with native people than other colonists. But the independence movement was not successful in bringing along the indigenous people of the area, who were embarking on their own drive for more self-determination, human rights and control of natural resources. Some First People did vote ‘Yes” in the referendum of 1980, when the question was a vaguer one about developing a new relationship between Canada and Quebec. But that changed by 1995. 

The most populous First Nation of Canada, the Nehiyawak or Cree People, traditionally moved freely across a wide swathe of the country. They were particularly vocal in resistance. On October 24, 1995, the Cree organised their own referendum, asking the question: "Do you consent, as a people, that the Government of Quebec separate the James Bay Crees and Cree traditional territory from Canada in the event of a Yes vote in the Quebec referendum?" 96% of the 77% of Crees who cast ballots voted to stay in Canada. The Inuit of Nunavik held a similar local vote, with 96% voting No. The vast majority of non-French speakers, including immigrants to Quebec also voted overwhelmingly No in 1995. The multicultural city of Montreal also voted heavily No. 

Nowadays, supporters of independence are most likely to be over 55, white and native French speakers. (This is the opposite demographic in Scotland, with the only age group not supporting independence currently being the over-65s). Within social attitudes surveys, Quebec records significantly less support for multiculturalism. In 2017, Quebec passed a law banning women from wearing the hijab in public, even on the bus. 

2 Canada responded effectively to Quebec’s desire for more autonomy - eventually

Canada’s federal system is the most decentralised in the world. It has acknowledged and responded to Quebec’s desire for more autonomy. 

It wasn’t all plain sailing - in between the two Quebec referendums, there was an attempt at reform which would have officially recognised Quebec as a nation within a nation. When that failed, support for independence surged. 

But since 2006, Quebec’s status has been officially recognised. It has the right to call an independence referendum if it ever wishes to do so; it controls immigration, social security and administers more of the public spending budget than the central Government does. Quebec’s Parliament is consulted over Canada's international trade deals. 

Canada is a constitutional monarchy like the UK, but the Queen’s role is more clearly defined as ceremonial. It has a two-chamber Parliament similar to the UK. But in place of the increasingly corrupt and swollen UK House of Lords, Canada has a Senate with just 105 seats. These are appointed on a geographical basis and Quebec has 24 Senators. 

The House of Commons has 338 seats, allocated to the different regions. Quebec has 78. The main independence-supporting party, the Bloc Quebecois fell back to as few as three seats in 2018 when the ten-seat grouping split into two factions. But it has subsequently recovered and now has 33 seats. 

Quebec’s National Assembly has 125 seats. The nationalist party, the Parti Quebecois, which is associated with the Bloc Quebecois, has 27. The main party, the Coalition Avenir Quebec, has 74. CAQ is not an independence-supporting party - it is a federalist group, which works closely with the Canadian Government at national level.  

3 A focus on the past

If the movement for Quebec independence were ever to revive, it would have to be on the basis that most of the people in the country saw it as offering something for them. In its current incarnation, it does not.

Quebec was colonised by French speakers in the 16th and 17th centuries when it was called “New France”. But these French colonists were in similar position to those caught up in the plantation of Ulster. They were arriving in a country that was already inhabited and had language and culture and traditions already. 

Those indigenous people didn’t see that there was any benefit for them in the plan to create what would be essentially an alternative monocultural state with one official language. That view was shared by most immigrants, both English speakers from the rest of Canada and the US, and non-English speaking immigrants. 

There is a current controversy over a requirement to make university students take three core courses in French before they can graduate in Quebec. There will be a fightback against the draconian provisions of Bill 96 - in many European countries, it is possible to study a degree in English only. There are also rules which prevent shops having English signs. Last year, the New York Times carried an interview with a Montreal bookseller whose English-language shop attracts protests. 

The battle to keep Montreal as a French-speaking city is also proving controversial. Combatting the drift to English from a young, international population won't be easy. Even many young people of Francophone heritage are not in tune with the aims of Quebec’s independence movement.

Conclusion

Quebec’s independence movement is focused around maintaining a language and culture which are associated with a particular ethnic group and its history in Quebec. That is going to be a hard sell to the roughly 50% of the population who don’t share that background, and even for many of the young people within it.

It is different from the Scottish independence movement, which is not based around ethnic nationalism. The Scottish independence movement is a coalition of people who feel that independence is the first step to real progress on issues like social justice and climate action. It is based on a recognition that there has been long-term political divergence between Scotland and England. Despite not voting for a Conservative Government since 1955, for most of that time, Scotland has been ruled by one. Since the last referendum, Scotland has started to experience the negative economic and social consequences of a Brexit that it didn't vote for -  a material change in circumstances since 2014.

Another difference is that the UK Government has rejected multiple chances to devolve more powers to Scotland. Instead, it has taken every opportunity to sideline Holyrood and undermine the devolution settlement, such as with the Internal Markets Act. Unionist campaigners may therefore feel a good tactic is to allow Labour to lead indyref2 with promises of federalism, but those are not likely to be delivered by Westminster, an institution finely calibrated to serve the interests of the south of England. Even if there were a Labour Government, history suggests it would only be a brief break in Conservative rule. 

But the lesson to learn from Quebec's story is the importance of reaching out to all communities. The main source of immigration to Scotland is England - indeed the Scottish Government's economic plan involves trying to attract more people from south of the border. it is important that the message of the independence movement continues to be one that offers hope to new Scots of all backgrounds.

Further reading

History of Quebec - Britannica

History of Canada - Quebec separatism - Britannica

The Future of Quebec Separatism - OU podcast

The Nehiyawak/ Cree people - Canadian Encylopedia

How did Quebec’s Nationalist Movement Become so White? - Guardian, 2018

Language Bill Deepens Culture Clash in Quebec - the New York Times, 2021

"No Great Mischief" - novel by Alistair Macleod, about Gaels emigrating to Canada

Believe in Scotland to kickstart new Yes push with massive Indy day of action

Believe in Scotland, is calling on the grassroots Yes movement to join in a massive day of campaigning after lockdown ends.

Our crowdfunder is in its last week and the first £50,000 of donations were matched pound for pound by business donors so we hit our £50,000 target and business donor contributions took the total raised to £100,000. Since hitting that target we’ve received two more business donations, each pledging to match an extra £5,000 in donations. So the next £10,000 we receive is already effectively doubled and we will spend it on our indy day of action.

We have asked the National Yes Network to help co-ordinate a pan-Scotland action day featuring street stalls, coffee mornings, open days at local Yes hubs and a mass leaflet drop.  The National newspaper will be the media partner for the day of action and will print a special edition with a pull out in the paper containing all 24 articles published in its recent Open Minds series on independence, written by Believe in Scotland.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, founder of Believe in Scotland, said: “We need to have a referendum during this term of the Scottish Parliament and we need to start planning now to regain the momentum and raise Yes support before the referendum is called.

Lockdown means we can’t yet name a date but we can start planning - within a few weeks of lockdown ending we want to hit the streets and make up for lost time. Dozens of Yes groups have already expressed support for the idea, but we want to get more than 100 onboard and so we will seek agreement from the National Yes Network’s committee to act as our partners in making this huge push work.

The National is on board and that gives us great content to distribute as well as the campaign materials every local Yes group will receive from the Believe in Scotland fundraiser. Including all our 24 Open Minds articles in a special edition supplement that activists can hand out will help persuade a lot of people to consider moving to support for independence.

Provisional goals for the day

We want to hear ideas from activists and Yes groups with their ideas to make this initiative as effective as possible.

Suggestions ideas so far include:

1.    125 participating local Yes groups

2.    100 street stalls at open days at Yes hubs and offices

3.    25 coffee mornings

4.    100 billboards throughout Scotland

5.    100,000 leaflets door dropped (supplied by BiS)

6.    30,000 Open Minds supplements distributed via the National and street work

7.    50,000 meaningful conversations with undecided voters

8.    A coordinated social media campaign, with zoom training sessions for activists by BiS

9.    A major youth vote activation initiative

10.  100,000 views of related online content