WELL finally the starting gun has been fired, and once again as a committed SNP activist I find myself and my colleagues ready to commence battle for another election.

It does not seem long since the referendum of 2014, but since that time the SNP juggernaut has swept all before it and has been incredibly successful in eight elections and 17 years in power. How about the General Election July 2024? I am afraid like many of the “faithful” at this time, I look forward to the next six weeks with great trepidation.

Why so? Right now, the SNP election strategy requires to be identified. “Keep calm and carry on” does not cut it. The National over many weeks has published letters and comments where independence and SNP supporters have made it clear that of course the SNP must concentrate on the crucial areas of the NHS, cost-of-living crisis, education, housing, energy and growth, BUT at the top of the list is independence.

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There remains a clear reluctance by the SNP hierarchy and its senior politicians to simply put independence “front and centre” in everything they do and say. The Tories talk more about independence than the SNP do. The SNP must unashamedly talk about independence from a positive perspective at every venture. Independence is a MUST as it is the ONLY solution to the 14-year austerity economic disaster created by the broken, bankrupt, Brexit Britain Tories which the SNP has had to manage for years.

Westminster is not the solution to the needs of Scotland going forward. Tories or Labour in power changes nothing. Scotland will be forgotten in a heartbeat! We have all our SNP MP hopefuls ready to trot out how we can make a difference in Westminster. Clearly we must aim for a majority of Westminster seats, and that requires the voters supporting the party. As independence support hovers round 50%, clearly the party must attract these voters. Start by appealing to them through a massive campaign of only “independence can save our country”, no ifs no buts. Engage the whole Yes movement and bring other independence-supporting parties on board. An independence-based strategy remains the only way forward.

It is crucial that in every SNP leaflet, social media message, face-to-face discussion, be it with the public or the press, the key word must be independence and it must be shouted from the rooftops at every level of the General Election campaign. Surely it is time for a determined drive from the leadership on independence. It must be at the fore of the messaging or we risk both activists and voters staying home, and it will be 2017 all over again. Polls are consistently showing people are looking for change.

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The solution is a simple three-point strategy understood and implemented by every politician in the SNP:

1. Send the clear, resounding message that ONLY Scottish independence will secure the future of our nation and the future prosperity of our citizens. We have the resources and know-how in abundance.

2. Be positive and tell Scotland and the whole world what we have achieved for our citizens through devolution.

3. Unashamedly attack the dismal failure of the United Kingdom to recognise the nation that is Scotland (there is no UK dividend; no better together; no equal nationhood in the UK). The UK sees Scotland as a resource to be plundered.

Lastly, a final food-for-thought moment. Right now the SNP top echelon and MP hopefuls are continually telling the activists and supporters in the constituency associations and branches “get out leafleting, chapping on doors and spread the message”. The only key message is: “Only independence can secure Scotland’s future.”

Dan Wood