THIS weekend thousands of political activists and SNP members will descend on the Granite City for the SNP’s 85th annual conference. In the midst of the political turmoil of Brexit, SNP supporters from across the country will come together in anticipation of what’s to come and to reflect on what we’ve achieved so far.

From the periphery of Scottish politics some decades ago, we have become the country’s largest party with more than 120,000 members.

We’re the party of free tuition – saving students in Scotland up to £27,750 compared to the cost of studying in England. We’re the party of record NHS spending that abolished unjust prescription charges. We’re the party that’s delivered the Baby Box, doubled childcare provision and handed 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote.

In government, we’re the party that’s cemented Scotland’s place as a world-leader in tackling climate change. We’re the UK’s largest anti-Brexit party with 100 parliamentarians in Edinburgh, Westminster and Brussels fighting for Scotland’s place in Europe.

We’re the party shaping a better future for the next generation, and we’re the party that will help deliver independence for Scotland.

READ MORE: Scottish voters overwhelmingly back Yes/No question for indyref2

READ MORE: Six things to look out for at SNP conference

But independence isn’t about a victory for the SNP, or even a victory for the Yes movement.

Independence is about our right to self-determination. The people of Scotland are, without any doubt, best placed to take decisions about our future and a Yes vote gives them that power.

So much has changed since 2014. Scotland is being ripped out of the Europe Union against our will by the most right-wing Tory government since Thatcher – despite promises from the Better Together campaign that a No vote was the only way to secure our EU membership.

The National: Boris Johnson

All of us who support independence have long viewed Westminster as a failing institution, but even we would have struggled to predict the complete meltdown caused by Brexit. And throughout all of this, Scotland has been ignored – we’ve been told to shut up and remember our place.

From speaking to voters across the country, I know that many people who voted No in 2014 are horrified.

They’re looking for a way to escape Boris’ broken Britain. They’re ready to hear the case for independence.

READ MORE: Kenny MacAskill wins SNP selection contest for East Lothian

And it’s our job to persuade them – with patience, understanding and open arms. The SNP are heading into our conference riding high on the back of increasing support for independence and a determination to do everything we can to protect Scotland’s interests.

Where the Unionists offer narrow isolationism – our movement offers the opposite. Independence is about Scotland joining Europe and the rest of the world as an equal partner – not about throwing up new barriers like Brexit does.

Be in no doubt, independence is coming. We have the mandate, we have the momentum and we can win that majority for independence.

So, it is important that we use this conference to look forward with optimism and passion – continuing to build our case for a brighter, more prosperous Scotland.

I’m excited to take that case across the country, as I know you all are too, giving voters in Scotland the chance to shape a better future for Scotland. This is our time – let’s grab this opportunity with both hands.