HAVING provided myself with a little respite from politics and basking in the glory of a fantastic election result – which sets the scene for not an “if” referendum, but a “when” referendum – it is time now to examine, with a sense of urgency, the way forward towards independence.

As the opposition continue to forlornly spout their denial agenda, that there is no mandate for such a referendum, they forget what a crushing defeat the 2021 Holyrood election has been for the opposition parties. For Labour, the Tories and LibDems, their dependence on list seats is there for all to see! A Tory party – a bastion of the “first past the post” system – having to depend on proportional representation for 25 of their 31 MSPs is totally ironic.

A little humility from these London-centric Tories in Scotland would be welcome as a result of their abysmal Holyrood performance. Nothing of the sort. Already their “new” Tory MSPs in Holyrood continue to be the willing pawns of the Westminster onslaught on our Scottish democracy. All the prevarication, spin, fantasy politics, Union Jackery and bullish behaviour of Johnson, Ross and the Tory elite will not change the result of our election and even less the democratic will of the Scottish people voting the SNP to government for a fourth term!

All these observations remain pointless if no action is taken or if no clear independence agenda is put in place and pursued during the next parliamentary term. The first years of this parliament cannot be the same as the last session. There can be no fidgeting or “kicking the can down the road”. Greater coordination between the Yes-supporting movements and parties will be crucial. The talks with the Greens should be in terms of a coalition, an olive branch should be held out to Alba and bringing all other Yes-supporting bodies formally into the fold is paramount. The SNP can no longer bear the burden as the sole deliverer of independence! A dynamic broad front of ALL the Yes movement moving forward building up momentum needs to start now.

Of course Covid recovery is crucial but it is not a barrier to pursuing independence. They are not mutually exclusive. Recovery through independence is the battle cry. The opposers of independence right now are truly rattled, we can all see the desperate tactics they are already using to combat the drive towards independence. The too wee, too stupid and too poor strategy is being pursued in all its forms. The word “union” is the catchword in all their messaging, be it branding, flag-waving, the use of royalty, creation of hubs and in the media – even a GB channel has been set up to support their cause.

What is the independence movement doing at this time to present the united front needed? At a strategic level, extraordinarily little. It is fragmented with in-fighting, settling scores and sadly heads in the sand from many. The activists on the ground who have just delivered a fourth term of SNP government sit bewildered waiting for action.

Ruth Wishart among many others has waxed lyrically about the need to unite and work together as a movement to achieve our independence goal. Best of all was Lesley Riddoch’s comment about “the drowsy inertia of this inter-indyref decade”. Escalation of independence activity to win the hearts and minds of the Scottish nation, particularly the “soft Nos”, is paramount. How? Create unity and structure within the Yes movement. Create the vision and mission for an independent Scotland. Create an understandable fiscal and monetary framework we all understand. Create a massive public relations exercise with a clear message on the type of country we wish Scotland to be. Emphasise Scotland’s place in Europe and in the world. Get to the “grassroots” with a massive indy movement escalation. Most importantly we must tell the people of Scotland what the alternative disaster will be if we remain in the UK. All this takes a will and organisation and is not just the SNP’s responsibility.

I believe it is “last chance saloon” if we do not.

Dan Wood