YOUNG Scots for Independence (YSI) has welcomed a new national executive committee that are raring to go for the upcoming council elections, and most importantly, the independence referendum.

I am grateful to the outgoing executive members for their hard work over the past year despite testing times; especially our outgoing convener, Cailyn McMahon, who has been responsible for a power of work throughout her years in the YSI.

Last year, the YSI played a key role in the Scottish Parliament election campaign. Our focus was targeting young people with relevant and engaging content.

We utilised social media and used new techniques which resulted in a much larger reach like our “Which Nicola Sturgeon are you” Instagram filters.

READ MORE: Pollster records increased independence support amid Westminster chaos

Many of our members were involved in local campaign teams, and shared their digital skills, and energy chapping doors when laterally permitted. The election was characterised by young people energised to vote for a party that prioritised their future and their needs.

The SNP manifesto demonstrated vision and hope for young people with incredible new policies such as free bus travel for under 22s, removal of council tax for under 22s, and free dental care.

The YSI are currently planning our election campaign and, Covid permitting, intend to get out on the doors between now and May. We will encourage our supporters to actively campaign and lend their support to their local campaign teams.

With an increase of digital activities throughout the pandemic, we welcomed new faces appearing at our meetings regularly, and this council election is the perfect opportunity to see these new campaigners flourish.

The YSI campaign machine is well oiled and our regional groups are keen to hold days of action to bring together young people and implement buddy systems for those who are new.

Local government is the least diverse layer of elected governance, so we are also incredibly excited at the prospect of young candidates. It is vital that young people are represented in local government and we are proud to see so many of our members putting themselves forward. Supporting our incredible young council candidates will be a priority.

After a successful SNP party conference where we passed our EmilyTest motion on gender-based violence, proposed by our current vice convener Robyn Graham and women’s officer Maria Mackay, we have a renewed drive to take forward policies that affect young people.

We are in the process of consulting our members on their priorities over the coming year and we look forward to aiding further policy development.

Polling has consistently shown that the majority of young people in Scotland support Scottish independence and the YSI recognises this opportunity to build our policy prospectus for a more equal and fair Scotland.

READ MORE: Lesley Riddoch: England is lurching rightwards amid the Tory circus of succession

Over the last year, the Tories have continuously shown themselves in contempt. With the most recent Covid-rule-breaking scandal, it is evident that the public are of no importance to them.

We cannot sit by and allow Tory cronies to rule over Scotland for generations to come. As we emerge from the pandemic, vital decisions will be made about our economy that will determine our recovery as a nation. If we want to build a fair and just society, we cannot simply sit by and watch the Conservatives implement policies that will damage our future.

The YSI wants independence for a reason. Young people want an equal, inclusive, and prosperous Scotland to flourish. The opportunities posed by independence are limitless, however, we must ensure that we build a nation inclusive of all parts of society and ensure that the rights of all people are protected. The YSI will always stand up for the rights of minorities and those who are being victimised by malicious campaigns against their rights.

If you are interested in getting involved with the YSI, email

Erin Mwembo is the new national convener of Young Scots for Independence