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Good news for the independence movement as "Yes" vote holds firm

Recent polling shows support for ‘Yes’ to independence is holding steady at 48%, even as the SNP as a political party has lost some ground. It is good news for the independence movement - although it means that independence support is not as closely linked to SNP support as it used to be. 

That raises questions - is this a blip or a longer-term trend? What strategic challenges does it present to the independence movement?

Independence is not the property of any party

The main conclusion has to be that we can’t leave independence to the SNP or to any political party. In the end, it is the people of Scotland who will have to roll up our sleeves and campaign for a better future. 

The determination of the wider Yes movement to deliver independence should be even stronger - we have never been closer to winning independence for Scotland. 

The best way for the SNP to help would be to sort out their issues quickly and fight the next Westminster General Election as a de facto referendum. 

Yes supporters are looking at the bigger picture

‘Yes’ support remains strong because people are looking at the bigger picture. They wish to reject UK rule and believe that Scotland is able to rule itself in a fair and democratic way. The country is rich in resources and keen to get back into the EU to grow the economy and deliver a better standard of living. 

All the publicity about the investigation into the SNP’s finances - where nobody has been charged with any offence so far - is not persuading people that they want to stay under the rule of Westminster. 

Scotland’s solid Yes is a riposte to Unionist hubris

Unionist commentators have been quick to proclaim that the independence campaign is over. “The Nicola Sturgeon Fall-out and the SNP Death Spiral” - the Times Scotland reported recently; “Bickering, Infighting SNP Looks Like a Party in its Death Throes” - the Telegraph; “Sturgeon’s Independence Dream Now Dead in Water” - the Scottish Daily Express. 

But the polling doesn’t bear this out. People are not moving to the Unionist camp - although they are less likely to support the SNP as a political party. 

Gap between support for independence and the SNP widens

The gap between support for Scottish independence and the SNP has now widened to 9%, according to Professor John Curtice’s analysis last week [April 11] in: “What Scotland Thinks”. 

Polling for Believe in Scotland earlier this year suggests that one way to narrow this gap at the next Westminster election is to fight it as a de facto referendum - doing that reduces the number of seats at risk of falling to Labour from nine to four. 

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, the founder of Believe in Scotland, said:

“Even with the chaos surrounding the SNP right now, there is still good news for the wider Yes movement. Despite SNP support wobbling - 48% public support for independence seems to be hard-wired. Given the Unionist politicians and media had been confidently predicting the end of independence the fact that almost half of Scotland is solid Yes must be absolutely terrifying.”

The SNP needs to sort out its issues

MacIntyre-Kemp said: “Humza Yousaf has a huge task on his hands and his SNP needs to do three key things better than in the Sturgeon era.

“First, he has to sort out the SNP’s structure and organisation. It needs a root and branch reengineering of the party to make it more member democratic, which means empowering a REAL National Executive Committee. 

“Secondly, he needs to make the party far more transparent, financially (obviously) and far more approachable to the organisers of the wider Yes movement who are sick of being treated with disdain.

Focus on independence with a de facto referendum

“Finally, he has to set a target date for the Yes movement as a whole to motivate activists, get them campaigning and drive Yes support up. Biting that bullet will be hard in the current circumstances but he simply cannot go past the next General Election without making it a singular clarion call for independence. If he doesn’t, Believe in Scotland’s polling suggests Labour will take as many as 10 Scottish seats and if they do that, they will claim it as a mandate to block independence for a generation.

“If Humza gets this right he will be in a hugely powerful position and will have his opportunity to deliver independence. If he gets it wrong, he will find out, just as Alex and Nicola did before, that despite everything else they achieve, an SNP leader must deliver independence or their career ends in failure.

“The tactical advantage that fighting the next GE as a de facto referendum has, is that it means the SNP can target its resources into fewer high-risk seats. If they get the party issues sorted and the policies right then they can stop Labour's wave at the border and begin the process of Scotland becoming an independent nation.”

A de facto referendum will mobilise the Yes movement

A decline in support for the SNP is not the same as a rise in support for the Union. The Labour Party’s pitch that long periods of Conservative rule are a price worth paying to stay in the UK has worn thin. 

The Labour Party promises to read every vote for Labour as a vote against Scottish independence. However many seats they win over the one they currently hold, they will claim that as a mandate to block independence for Scotland. 

People are looking at the bigger picture. The political landscape of Scotland will change after independence. But we have to get there first.

The best way to get independence supporters out chapping on doors and campaigning for the SNP in the 2024 general election is to fight it on a single issue - independence. The data confirms the view of many in the Yes campaign that now is the time to press harder. Avoiding the issue and fighting the next general election on the usual range of UK political issues risks handing many seats to the Labour Party and allowing them to claim a mandate for blocking independence for a generation. 


Appendix: Poll results

In a poll which Business for Scotland commissioned from Panelbase in February, there was a striking difference in the number of seats at risk in the next Westminster General Election according to whether or not it is held as a de facto referendum. The details are below. 

Panelbase for BiS: 2,006 Respondents - Feb 6th - 13th 2023.

Predicted Seat Changes- General Election

This table shows how Westminster votes and seats will change if a regular General Election were held tomorrow. 

Note: Total number of Scottish Westminster seats is set to reduce from 59 to 57 in 2023 due to the redrawing of electoral boundaries. 


Seat 2019 MP From: To:
Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine Andrew Bowie CON SNP
Airdrie Neil Gray SNP LAB
Coatbridge and Bellshill Steven Bonnar SNP LAB
East Lothian and Lammermuirs Kenny MacAskill SNP LAB
Glasgow North Patrick Grady SNP LAB
Glasgow North East Anne McLaughlin SNP LAB
Glasgow South West Chris Stephens SNP LAB
Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Neale Hanvey SNP LAB
Midlothian Owen Thompson SNP LAB
Rutherglen Margaret Ferrier  SNP LAB


Predicted Seat Changes- Defacto Independence Referendum

The table is the same as above but reflects how people surveyed would vote if the next UK General Election was run as a de facto referendum. You can see here that the SNP lose less seats than they would if the General Election was run as normal. 


Seat 2019 MP From: To:
East Lothian and Lammermuirs Kenny MacAskill SNP LAB
Glasgow North East Anne McLaughlin SNP LAB
Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Neale Hanvey SNP LAB
Midlothian Owen Thompson SNP LAB


Believe in Scotland App

Everything you need to know about Scotland's economy, its finances, independence and the impact of Brexit on Scotland in an App.

Believe in Scotland has put Scotland the Brief in an App to make the content easy to share with friends, family and anyone interested in Scotland’s future. The App also features notifications of new articles, videos and events, a quiz on Scotland’s economy (bet you score less than 4/10!) and it answers frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Believe in Scotland.

Get it on your phone now and have a play! 


View this page on your phone and then click below to download the app.

Download Instructions


iOS (Apple)

1.) Open the link using Google Chrome. 1.) Open the link using Safari.
2.) You will be prompted to Allow or Block Push Notifications. You will then be asked to install the app by clicking the banner popup at the bottom of the screen.

2.) You will see the app in the browser and a popup to install the app and 'ADD TO HOME SCREEN' will appear at the bottom of the screen.

3.) After clicking the 'ADD TO HOME SCREEN' link, press 'add' (If you have dismissed the prompt, you can add manually by choosing 'Add to Home Screen' from the Settings menu of the browser). 3.) When you click the blue "ADD TO HOME SCREEN" button you will then see instructions for how to add to the Home screen on iOS.
4.) Install app & allow or block notifications. 4.) Tap the relevant icon then press the 'Add to Home Screen' icon (You may need to scroll down to see the '+' Icon). Then click 'Add to Home Screen'.
5.) The app will now appear on the Home screen of your device. 5.) You can then click 'Add' in the top of the screen to complete the install process.  


Need more help? Click here.

What is a progressive web app? 

Scotland's poverty rate 20% lower than England’s, says authoritative report

A poverty gap is opening between England and Scotland, in particular in child poverty rates, according to a new report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. In its annual report: “UK Poverty 2023: The essential guide to understanding poverty in the UK”, the charity reports that rates of child poverty are diverging between the two countries. 

The report found that Scotland has a lower rate of overall poverty (18 percent) than England (22 percent) and Wales (24 percent), partly because of lower housing costs. Scotland has seen the largest fall in poverty of any area in the UK - six percentage points below where it was 20 years ago. The report praised the Scottish Government’s move to limit rent increases, and the Scottish Child Payment scheme, whereby poorer households receive £25 a week for each child under 16.  

Child poverty rate in Scotland comparable to the south of England

Child poverty in Scotland is amongst the lowest in the UK, at a similar level to the south of England, the report says. Across other areas of the UK, hard-won reductions in child poverty are “unravelling”, with child poverty in North East England up 12%.  

The report said: “Divergence in policy across nations will probably drive greater disparity in poverty rates. Scotland has taken decisive action in defining child poverty targets in legislation and enhancing the benefits system with a Scottish child payment for those receiving qualifying benefits; this was introduced in February 2021 at £10 a week per child under the age of six; the value doubled in April 2022 to £20 a child and increased again in November 2022 to £25 when it was also rolled out to all eligible children under 16. In response to both the pandemic and cost of living crisis, both Scotland and Northern Ireland have taken steps to limit rent increases for social renters, while the Scottish Government is introducing more protections for private renters including greater rent controls and eviction bans.”

The Council Tax Reduction scheme is also unique to Scotland and helps people on low incomes save an average of £750 a year on their council tax bill. Those eligible can also save up to 35 percent on their water and waste charges. 

The “rape clause” is driving more and more children into poverty in England

The Scottish Government mitigates the UK Government’s ‘rape clause’ which says that a low-income family can only get benefits for two children - unless they can prove that a subsequent child was the result of rape. The Scottish Government spends over £1.4 billion each year to mitigate this and other UK welfare benefit cuts.

The JRT report does not provide separate numbers for large-family poverty in Scotland and England. But it said that almost half of children in large families in the UK are now in poverty, up from 33% a decade ago. The JRT says that this two-child limit is increasingly important in driving up rates of child poverty in larger families.

The report said: “The latest data still does not show the full effect of the two-child limit policy, which explicitly targets larger families. This has withdrawn means-tested support from third and subsequent children born since April 2017. In the latest data, more than half of families containing three or more children have their youngest child born before this date so are unaffected by the benefits cap. As time goes on, more and more families will be affected by this and poverty rates in larger families are therefore likely to increase further.”

Poverty still a huge and growing issue - as Brexit shrinks the UK economy

Although it is worse in England, poverty is a serious and growing issue for too many families across Scotland. Brexit is turning the UK into the sick man of Europe and the economy is shrinking. An independent Scotland back in the EU could emulate Ireland’s growth rate - it grew more than 12% in 2022, compared to 4% for the UK - and fund better pensions and measures to support families.

The cost of energy bills in Scotland is also in part due to the UK Government's ideological decisions over how to tax oil and gas and their choices over privatisation of important infrastructure such as the national power grid. The JRT research doesn't yet reveal the effect of the energy crisis on low-income Scots - currently paying the highest bills in the UK despite living in an energy-rich country. 

Conclusion - an independent Scotland could do better

This report shows the result of the political and ideological choices of a UK Government that Scotland didn’t vote for. A cruel policy to limit benefits to two children in a family forces many into deep poverty. The Scottish Government has to spend too much of its fixed budget on mitigating these choices.

An independent Scotland back in Europe and with full control of its huge energy resources would have much more power to change the current political landscape and emulate other small European countries where relative poverty is much lower. 

Westminster's Section 35 block on Scottish law fundamentally undermines UK democracy

The UK Government has decided to block the Scottish Government’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill, despite the legislation falling under devolved competence. A move which Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said will almost certainly end up in court.  As we have been predicting, this is a worrying intensification of Westminster’s efforts to undermine devolution and reduce Scotland’s political autonomy.

Make no mistake: this is a political crisis for the UK and it’s one of Westminster's own making because no Westminster party has ever truly been committed to making devolution work.  Of course, they defined devolution working as stopping the inevitable rise in support for Scottish independence and in those terms, it has been an abject failure for the Union.  Devolution has been immensely popular with voters and where devolution has worked is in the Scottish Government's acting to mitigate some of the worst impacts of Westminster austerity, spending more of its budget on social care and Scotland’s NHS (roughly £100 per head) and the abolition of student fees. Where it has been a failure for Scotland is the fact that devolution within the UK comes with the continued failed economic mantra of Laissez-faire capitalism, the recent watering down of anti-casino-banking rules, political corruption and of course, being able to do nothing about the unmitigated disaster that Brexit represents. 

Devolution may have opened the door for the SNP to prove that they are able to run a country differently and with more soul and care for the people. Now that they are supported by the Greens in a majority Scottish Government, they have an unanswerable mandate for change and that is infuriating Wesminsters failing self appointed elites.  In 2017, when giving evidence to the Westminster trade Committee, I (GMK) explained that ‘Devolution was incompatible with Brexit’. I have been proven right many times over and now as both the Tories and Labour have lurched to the right to fight over the xenophobic Brexit vote the Union has become incompatible with Scotland, incompatible with democracy and incompatible with the values of the ordinary Scottish people.

Whether you like it or not, a majority Scottish Government has the mandated right to call an independence referendum; whether you like it or not, it has a mandated right to pass its Gender Recognition Reform legislation. Blocking these moves amounts to nothing more than an assault on democratic principles.  

Westminster enacted Section 35 of the Scotland Act 1998, a previously unused mechanic which has been described by political commentators as the ‘nuclear option’. Section 35 allows the Scottish Secretary of the UK Government to intervene with the passing of a devolved bill if it is believed to adversely affect the operation of reserved matters, that is, areas outside the remit of the devolved government. Despite having years to make amendments and consult with the Scottish Government, the current Conservative Scottish Secretary Alister Jack instead used Section 35 to block the GRR Bill. Translated - essentially, the UK Government is blocking this bill because they don’t like it, which sets a dangerously antidemocratic precedent.

This ruling comes hard on the heels of the UK Supreme Court’s recent move to block a second Scottish independence referendum, as well as an extension to challenges to devolved legislation such as the Rights of the Child Convention. Today the UK Government will push ahead with its regressive Retained EU Law (REUL) Bill which will remove all the mostly eminently sensible EU-derived legislation from the statute book by the end of the year. It's almost as if they thought Brexit isn't going as well as it should because there were still too many protections for exporters and that the food and drink industry needed a harder Brexit.

It is perhaps unsurprising that the first use of Section 35 is to limit a bill which had caused division in both the pro-independence camps. It is a clear divide and rule tactic with Westminster hoping for a muted response due to the nature of the policy involved. Regardless, the bill was approved by two-thirds of MSPs gaining votes from five different political parties. This included the current leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Anas Sarwar and former leader Richard Leonard, as well as the former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Jackson Carlaw.

This move sets a worrying precedent for how Westminster responds to bills passed by Holyrood in the future. We have to ask what else a UK Government which is politically opposed, hostile even, to the majority elected current Scottish Government might also move to restrict. This does not just undermine devolution but also threatens the tenets of Scottish democracy. 

Finally, regardless of anyone’s opinion of the GRR Bill, it is important to ask: will the UK Government really stop here? What happens if Wesminster blocks legislation on devolved healthcare? On education? On the environment? This ruling exposes a fundamental flaw of devolution as an expression of self-determination - one where it can be overridden when the central government feels like it, especially when they diverge from the devolved government. 

Until Scotland is fully independent, its political autonomy will always be under threat. New Labour are back: Starmer has moved the UK party to the right of Thatcher and is big into Brexit and refuses to defend the blocking of a bill that was supported by 18 out of his party’s 22 elected representatives in the Scottish Parliament. He offers no alternative even for voters of Labour in Scotland. Independence is normal and completely compatible with democracy and the clear desire of the Scottish people to rejoin the EU.

Ten key takeaways from Nicola Sturgeon's Indyref2 scene-setter speech (4min read)

The SNP/ Green Alliance that forms the Scottish government has a cast-iron mandate to hold a new independence referendum before the end of 2023. To facilitate that they needed to fire the starting gun on the political campaign before the Holyrood recess at the end of June and fire it they did.  

Today the FM alongside co-leader of the Green's, Patrick Harvie, set out a vision for an independent Scotland, publishing the first of a series of papers. 

We were not expecting a date for the referendum to be announced but there is a clear hint at September 2023 in that the budget for the referendum is set against the 2023/24 financial budget year which starts on April 6th 2023. Much of that spending would have to be done months ahead of the referendum, not just weeks - secure printing of millions of ballots etc - so although Sept 23 looks most likely the Scottish Gov will also want to leave May 23 open for tactical reasons. 

The FM's points on the economy are very much driven by the thinking from our book Scotland the Brief. If you want a free electronic copy then pledge your support to Believe in Scotland's campaign and we will send you a link.

Ten Key takeaways:

1) Scotland voted against Brexit but was taken out of the EU against our will. That has led to the cost-of-living crisis and only happened because we are not already independent.  

2) Brexit, Covid and Boris Johnson as a PM Scotland has rejected means it's now time to revisit the independence question. We can do better, thrive and be a fairer nation like many other smaller European nations that lack our natural economic wealth. We can be more successful as an independent nation than as part of the UK. 

3) Scotland will move forward on a referendum with or without a Section 30 order - if the UK government refuses to agree to a section 30 and tries to block the referendum then that would simply mean they are antidemocratic and have no respect for the fairness and the rule of law - but we know that anyway. 

4) The First Paper in the series will be published today then, new papers including:

  • Analysis of the status quo
  • Currency 
  • Fiscal position 
  • Pensions and social security
  • EU membership
  • Trade and national security
  • Transition and infrastructure 

There has been a great deal of Nation-building since 2014. Scotland now has an independent fiscal commission, and investment bank and its own tax collection system - we even more prepared for independence than we were in 2014. 

5) Boris Johnson has no democratic authority in Scotland and no moral authority anywhere.

Brexit has made the cost of living far worse in UK than elsewhere and we are experiencing double the inflation of France. Businesses are left short of workers and Brexit has hurt Scotland's exports. On top of this we have an EU trade war looming over UK Government's threatening to break Northern Ireland protocol. 

6) Ten nations were listed as comparator countries - all are wealthier more equal - have less poverty - smaller gender pay gaps - more social mobility - more productivity and more R&D driving their economy. All are wealthier fairer and more productive than the UK. She then posed a question: if all those countries can outperform the UK why not Scotland?

7) The challenge is to show how we can build a better nation and show how independence delivers a better nation than we can ever be as part of the UK. 

8) Patrick Harvie joined in - The world is changing, inequality is widening, we are accelerating towards environmental and societal breakdown. Actions of Scot Gov such as Child Payments and spending to mitigate Westminster cuts and austerity but with our limited budget and the UK's hostile approach to Scotland, we have our hands tied behind our backs.

9) Paper shows that we are being held back by Westminster's failed economic and environmental policies whilst other European nations have been successful by building fairer nations. We seem tied to hanging on to the coattails of an incompetent uncaring old Etonian Government that we did not vote for. 

10) Whether you voted Yes or No or are one of the young people now newly eligible to vote or a new Scot - let's make this an inspiring debate.


This was better and more focused than we had hoped and makes a very clear intent to hold the referendum that many have felt has not been forthcoming. The intent is clear and the statement of proceeding with or without a section 30 order is new. The UK is broken, and these papers need to show how independence solves the problems plaguing the UK right now and show how through the current direction of UK politics there is no way to solve them even in the medium or longer term.

A loss of freedom is the price we pay for Brexit

Brian Monteith tries to defend the indefensible, firstly equating Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian invasion with the UK's 2016 Brexit vote and secondly agreeing with Boris Johnson's characterisation of being a member of the EU family, as slavery.  The comparisons could not be more inaccurate. Ukraine is fighting for its survival as an independent state after being invaded by its larger neighbour. Brexit was (as we now know) a Russian-influenced campaign resulting in a narrow vote to leave the European Union, that the UK had been a successful member of for over 40 years. Johnson's cack-handed attempt to conflate the two events is both politically manipulative, insincere and indefensible.

Monteith's Scotsman column serves only to demonstrate that the low quality of Johnson is matched by his acolytes. Monteith claims, Brexit has freed UK citizens from EU serfdom, is he aware that Ukraine desperately wants to join the EU, which the EU has accepted, and asked for its application to be fast-tracked, which the EU has declined?

Unanswered questions hang over the Brexit campaign. The head of Vote Leave, insurance salesman Aaron Banks, met Russian officials multiple times before the 2016 vote and was offered Russian money in the form of business opportunities and gold and diamond mines by the Russian ambassador to the UK. Aaron Banks also made the largest single donation, £8 million, to the Leave campaign. The Electoral Commission found there were reasonable grounds to suspect that Banks was not the “true source” of the money.

It’s notable that Boris Johnson delayed the House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee report on Russian interference in the 2016 referendum until after he was in Downing Street. One of the Authors of the report concluded that ministers actively avoided looking for evidence of Russian interference and that the UK Government should have recognised the threat in 2014 when there was “credible open source commentary” that Russia undertook influence campaigns in relation to the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

Russian infiltration into the very heart of the British political establishment and London’s transformation into the world’s laundromat for dirty money is well documented. And we know that Johnson rebuffed intelligence officials’ concerns about Evgeny Lebedev (whose father was a KGB agent) and then he went ahead to make him a member of the House of Lords.
Does Monteith wonder why P&O recently sacked 800 UK employees but no French or Dutch workers? It’s because Dutch and French national employment laws are far stronger than UK laws. The Dover workers will be replaced by Indian seafarers being paid $2.38 per hour, well below minimum wage. The UK Government isn’t challenging P&O on the legality of their actions nor is it thinking of strengthening national employment laws to prevent this from happening again.

Monteith doesn’t seem bothered that Brexit will deliver a 4% permanent hit to UK GDP. The long-term damage from Covid will be just half of that. Even before the Ukraine war, higher taxes, food and energy prices and shortages were already a reality. 

Energy prices are set to soar higher, plunging millions more into poverty. The French have capped energy prices at 4%, but the UK is allowing them to rise 54%. And Scots will pay the most given the much higher transmission charges Ofgem imposes on Scottish generators. This is especially perverse when renewables, producing nearly all of Scotland’s electricity, are cheaper than oil and gas. 

The Australia trade deal will deliver a 0.01% bump to GDP while trade with the EU will plunge by 15%, costing the UK economy £32 billion. That’s money that could have funded social care and cushioned the blow from inflation and interest rate increases. The deal also threatens the livelihoods of Scottish farmers and fishermen, who have already seen exports take a nosedive since Brexit. 

Brexit hasn’t brought the UK ‘freedom.’ It has left it out in the cold, isolated and poorer but it is making the ruling class richer, which was always the goal. That's the cost of Brexit, not the cost of freedom.

Monteith ignores that 62% of Scots voted to remain, a material change in circumstance since the 2014 referendum. The only positive that can possibly emerge from this debacle will be the restoration of Scottish independence.

Five Reasons Why Independence is the Best Way to Protect Scotland's NHS

Fears Are Growing for England’s NHS

Former Conservative PM John Major famously said that the NHS would be as “safe as a pet hamster in the presence of a hungry python” if Boris Johnson and Michael Gove rose to power after Brexit. New developments are causing many to fear that he was right and that bars are being bent on the hamster’s protective cage. 

How does this affect Scotland - surely health care is devolved?
At the moment, health care is devolved to the Scottish Parliament - but the UK Supreme Court has ruled that Westminster only ‘lends’ powers to Holyrood. The UK Government can overrule the Scottish Parliament whenever it wants. There is little that can legally be done to protect Scotland’s NHS without independence. 

FIVE recent developments are causing concern

#1 The Internal Markets Act mandates that any international trade deal the UK Government signs will cover Scotland

The UK Government has made it clear it will not hesitate to override devolution in regard to international trade deals. The Internal Markets Act, which became law a year ago, has the specific goal of ensuring that these deals automatically cover Scotland. 

The UK Gov announcement said the Act would protect businesses, jobs and livelihoods by ensuring there are no “harmful new barriers to trade between all parts of the UK”. It also said “world-leading standards” would be maintained after leaving the EU. However, they have been watered down in many cases - one example was the post-Brexit relaxation of rules on pumping raw sewage into rivers. 

As a result many fear that the UK Government will make deals, especially with US-based, privately owned healthcare providers that impact the NHS in all four UK nations. 

#2  A clause protecting the NHS from being on the table in trade negotiations was removed from the .

The House of Lords inserted a clause into the Trade Bill as it passed through Westminster which would have protected the UK's ability to provide “a comprehensive publicly funded health service free at the point of delivery”. The amendment would also have restricted “the sale of patient data” and protected NHS drug prices but those protections were rejected.

But 357 Conservative MPs voted to remove this amendment to the government's bill.  Trade Minister Greg Hands said: “We do not see the need for this amendment, as protecting the NHS is already a top priority in negotiations.” The Trade Act was passed last year. 

#3 The UK Government is trying to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 

After leaving the EU single market, the world’s largest trading bloc, the UK Government wants to make up for some of the huge loss of trade by joining another trading bloc at the other side of the world - the TPP.

To succeed in joining, it will have to sign up to the bloc’s terms and conditions, which include rules to protect drug companies’ intellectual property. These allow them to bloc generic drugs. That would affect the ability of the NHS to negotiate cheap prices for medicines.

Joining the TPP would be seen as a stepping stone to a trade deal with the US. US officials and businesses have repeatedly said that the NHS must be "on the table" in trade talks, with US pharmaceutical companies and healthcare businesses eyeing the UK health market as a source of profit.

#4 Trade deals are likely to give legal protection to trans-national companies’ profits, tying future UK Governments’ hands

When the Conservative Government enters into new international trade deals it signs legally binding contracts. These deals will enable companies to bid for contracts within England’s NHS “market” for services and products. 

The small print protects these companies’ business and profit - any future Government that wanted to get out of these obligations would find the trade agreements contain multiple obstacles and financial disincentives. This means they could incur massive legal costs and have to pay compensation.

5 The new health and care bill (England) allows private company reps to sit on commissioning bodies

The new health and care bill passing through Parliament is the latest in a series of Conservative reforms which aim to create a pretended free market within the NHS with private companies “competing” for public money which is “spent” by commissioning bodies.

This latest form of this allows people with an interest in these private companies to sit on the boards of the commissioning bodies. The rules and protections that were in place under EU procurement rules will no longer apply. The UK Government’s poor track record on public procurement in the pandemic has caused international comment.  Its lack of oversight of the loan scheme caused government minister Theodore Agnew to resign this week, which does not inspire confidence. 

It is difficult to predict with certainty what effect this will have on Scotland’s NHS. But the concern - which is shared by many in England - over the increasing role of private companies is profound. It may make the provision of health care in the UK more profit-orientated and less universal. While Scotland remains part of the UK it may be difficult to resist that pressure. 


There is a degree of urgency in taking steps to protect Scotland’s NHS. The UK Government under the Internal Markets Act has assumed the power to effectively sign Scotland’s name on international trade deals as it wishes. This could burden Scotland with legal obligations which are costly to escape. 

There are challenges for health care provision in the 21st century - dealing with an aging population; implementing new technology; increasing mental health support. An independent Scotland would be able to plan, budget and make policy decisions in line with its democratic choices.

An independent Scotland would be in a much stronger position to pursue its own course with confidence and clarity.  

Tomorrow is the big Day of Action for Indy ... the Yes Movement is back in action

Months of preparation and planning come to fruition tomorrow when Believe in Scotland’s Day of Action for Independence will see the biggest co-ordinated Yes campaign for years take place all over the country.

A total of 110 Yes groups stand ready to stage a huge range of events to kickstart an Autumn of Indy Action initiative as the campaign gets into gear to prepare for the second independence referendum. Now the big day is almost here.

Events being held tomorrow include coffee mornings, Yes stalls, leaflet distribution, musical events and possibly even mountain climbing – all aimed at opening minds to the idea that independence is perfectly normal and enjoyed by most countries in the world.

Here are just some of the events taking place:

  • Yes for EU will create a colourful display of Saltires, banners, all 27 EU flags and a large Yes outside the Scottish parliament to convey the message: Scotland should be an independent country within the EU.
  • An indy tour of Angus run by Yes Forfar … described as ‘79 miles of flag-waving and noise’.  The Yes group will also be setting up a street stand.
  • Edinburgh Women for Independence expect an international researcher from Florence to drop by to compare Scottish and Catalan independence campaigns, focussing on the interaction between pro-independence parties and the grass roots.
  • Yes Pentlands members are decorating their cars with Yes stickers, posters and flags to drive through different areas.
  • Find out what your local Yes group is doing on our Interactive map here.

Campaign literature ready for the Day of Action includes a special supplement – Open Minds on Independence - produced by Believe in Scotland and The National newspaper. The supplement will be included in The National tomorrow and tens of thousands will also be distributed separately up and down the country.

It contains the facts you need at your fingertips to convince doubters that independence offers Scotland its best future, as well as exploding all the myths naysayers put forward to hoodwink voters.

Believe in Scotland is organising tomorrow’s Day of Action for Independence with the support of the National Yes Network, which brings together Yes organisations from all over Scotland, and the Scottish Independence Foundation, which provides vital financial support for a wide range of pro-independence projects.

It has been a long time since we have been able to properly campaign for independence and tomorrow will be a powerful signal

Believe in Scotland’s founder Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp appeared on The National’s online roadshow last night. You can watch the roadshow here.

Mr MacIntyre-Kemp said today: 'We can't wait to see all the amazing events Yes Groups will stage tomorrow. It has been a long time since we have been able to properly campaign for independence and tomorrow will be a powerful signal that Scotland has had enough of the Westminster incompetence and Brexit buffoonery which are stopping our country reach its amazing potential. I'd urge every Yes supporter to do what they can to boost the impact of the Day of Action.'

Here’s how you can help make tomorrow’s Day of Action as successful as possible:

  • Take part in an event being organised by your local Yes group.
  • Remember ... you don’t have to be a member of a Yes group to take part. Anyone can join in as an individual and stage an event. Be careful to comply with Covid safety rules, particularly on social distancing and wearing a mask.
  • Let everyone know what you’re doing. Post pictures and information on your event on social media. Use the hashtag #BelieveInScotland so that people can easily find and share your post.
  • Make sure you connect with a wide range of voters. The aim of the Big Day tomorrow is to change minds and convince those who have not yet been won over by the case for Yes. All our efforts should be directed at adding converts to the ranks of independence supporters.
  • Complete the following phrase in no more than 50 words and post it on social media. ‘I Believe in Scotland because … ‘ Again, use the hashtag #BelieveInScotland to allow us to share your phrase. There will be a prize for the best.
  • Display a Saltire in your window tomorrow to show that on the seventh anniversary of the first independence referendum in 2014 we show support for Scotland’s right to have another say on its constitutional future.
  • Sign the Believe in Scotland pledge: We believe that independence offers Scotland the opportunity to be a better nation. A nation that more closely matches the values, hopes and aspirations of the people of Scotland.  As a sovereign independent people, we can truly protect Scotland’s well-being. Independence offers us the chance to create a society and an economy that are more resilient, fairer, equal, ambitious, internationally connected, sustainable and successful.
  • Pledge your support for the grassroots-led campaign for Scottish independence and the key messages, exclusive content and campaign information from our pledgers community. We’ve teamed up with The National newspaper to make a special offer to pledgers. Every single pledger will receive a FREE PDF copy of the mini version of our book Scotland the Brief by email. Scotland the Brief has now sold more than 40,000 copies and has been described as a game-changer in terms of how people view Scotland’s economy and independence.
  • Support Believe in Scotland’s new regional Facebook pages, which are launching tomorrow. These pages aim to support local Yes groups by giving them an additional platform to share Indy news, content and events to a wider audience. You can also use them to find indy events in your area.

Tomorrow is your chance to get involved in this ambitious co-ordinated national campaign for independence and to send a message loud and clear: the Yes movement is back in action.

Virtual Burns Supper raises thousands for independence campaign and poem recital goes viral

Believe in Scotland’s virtual Burns Supper featured Scottish stars in a fantastic video production of "A man's a man", which topped 11,000  views in less than 24 hours.  Headlined by Brian Cox, the video also includes supermodel Eunice Olumide, Lesley Riddoch and Alistair Heather.

More than 550 independence supporters attended the BiS event and raised more than £4,000 for its independence campaign.

The event, rated by 91% of attendees as “excellent” or “very good”, was hosted by BiS founder Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp and featured talks, toasts, recitals and songs from a host of well-kent Scots.

McIntyre-Kemp, who hosted the event from his kitchen, said he was delighted with the success of the virtual Supper.“We didn’t let lockdown stop us celebrating the Bard and having a great night in. In is clearly the new out!

“We raised a fantastic amount of money for our billboard and Facebook advertising campaign being launched in February, this will be a major part of our bid to reach an increasingly independence-voting public and share our message of a better, fairer, greener, healthier and happier independent Scotland.

“But just as importantly, it was great to see so many independence supporters getting together and enjoying the event; some said even though it was only online that it was the best Burns Supper they had ever attended and 74% said it was better than or as good as a normal Burns Supper.”

The stellar line up of entertainers ranged from the best Burns and folk performers to TV and radio presenters, leading politicians and even a major TV and movie star. Guests enjoyed:

  • Readings from Brian Cox, Lesley Riddoch, Kate Forbes MSP, Eunice Olumide, Alistair Heather, Billy Kay and Brandon Malone
  • Musical performances from Iona Fyffe, and youth performers Rhianna Boyle and Eala McElhinney
  • Toasts and talks by Mike Russell MSP and Philippa Whitford MP, Alistair Heather and Bill Nolan
  • All hosted by Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

One of the highlights of the evening was A mans a man for a’ that, the Bard's thoughtful expression of the ideas of equality and fairness in society - which makes it so relevant for today’s society.

The poem was recited by a star cast led by actor Brian Cox with supermodel Eunice Olumide, historian and presenter Alistair Heather and presenter and academic Lesley Riddoch. The music was also provided by Oscar winner Patrick Doyle.

Click here to watch the video on our facebook page -