INDEPENDENCE supporters will be hoping to pump some energy back into the movement later this month with a major event planned to kickstart the 2023 referendum campaign.

The Aberdeen Independence Movement (AIM) will be hosting its Progress to Yes conference at the city’s Altens Hotel on May 29 where an array of politicians, cultural figures, academics and journalists are all preparing to inspire as campaigners look to rediscover the spirit which fuelled the Yes movement in 2014.

The National’s reporters will be hosting a panel on the media and indyref2 and how the paper can be used to aid campaigning, while news and features editor Laura Webster will be speaking on the Young Voices panel.

Also billed to speak are MPs Drew Hendry, Richard Thomson, Kirsty Blackman, Stephen Flynn and Stewart McDonald, MSPs Maggie Chapman, Karen Adam and the recently confirmed Anne McLaughlin. Political activist Aamer Anwar, Scottish singer Iona Fyfe, Professor Peter Strachan of Aberdeen Business School and political propaganda expert Siobhan Tolland among many others will also be at the event.

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And there’s going to be a bit of polling expertise coming from academic Mark McGeoghegan, who regularly picks apart the nation’s voting intentions for National readers. Tolland and SNP president Mike Russell will run workshops at the event, which is set to attract at least 300 people.

Co-organiser Alan Petrie said he wants to bring some energy back to the independence movement with discussions on how a referendum can be won, and reminders of why it’s crucial to Scotland’s future.

He said: “It’s looking really good now, we could be looking at 500 people but we’re thinking it’ll probably be between 300 and 500.

“It’s going to be very independence-focused looking at things like policy and how we win, and not so much about process.

“We wanted to avoid this ‘name the date’ narrative and we just want to get back to speaking about why we want independence and how we can win.

“There’s going to be some workshops, a really interesting one with Siobhan Tolland who’s done a lot of community work, so she’ll be talking about how we can bring the campaign down to grassroots level.”

The National: Kirsty Blackman will be at the eventKirsty Blackman will be at the event

Mike Russell will also be doing workshops, and he’s going to be interviewed by Drew Hendry for the Scotland’s Choice podcast.

“We’re going to have some big announcements while we’re there and hopefully it’s going to kick off a proper summer of campaigning. We want to get some energy back.”

Groups such as Women for Independence, No to Yes, Skotia, SNP Socialists, Green Socialists, Yes for EU and English Scots for Yes among others will be turning out, as the movement looks to get back to work.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is aiming to hold a referendum next year and has said her Government will soon start refreshing the “very positive case” for leaving the UK.

Asked when a bill for an independence referendum could be brought before the Scottish Parliament, Sturgeon said she would “set that out in due course”.

Karen Adam said the event would give Yes supporters a great platform to build a winning campaign. She said: “It’s a fantastic time for the Yes movement, but not just any Yes movement, a progressive one at that. The results of the recent council elections speak for themselves, Scotland made clear that it’s time to progress to Yes.

“I’m looking forward to the AIM’s Progress to Yes conference on May 29. This gives us a brilliant platform to build a winning, progressive and civic campaign that will excite the people of Scotland and tackle the inequalities that have been created by the Conservative Government south of the border.”

North East Scotland MSP Maggie Chapman added she was looking forward to catching up with old friends and making new ones to build the prospectus for self-determination.

The National: Drew Hendry will also attend the pro-indy eventDrew Hendry will also attend the pro-indy event

She said: “I’m really excited by the Aberdeen Independence Movement conference.

“It will bring together all the significant forces in the independence movement to plan how we can win independence for Scotland.

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“I’m really looking forward to building the prospectus for a progressive Scotland with friends old and new. I’m convinced that we can change our country and our world for the better and making the case for a radical independence is at the heart of that belief.”

Tickets cost £20 for general admission, with a concession ticket at £9 and a youth-student ticket at £10.

National readers can get a £2 discount on tickets by visiting and using the code NationalDeal22