THE start of a new independence campaign has reignited Yes groups across the country.

With the first “scene-setter” paper published by the Scottish Government last week and the revelation of a target date of October 2023 for the vote, activists are gearing up for a fresh campaign drive.

Here, we ask Yes group members what they think of the launch and the plans for indyref2.

Fiona Matheson, Yes Orkney

The National:

“For our Yes group, it is as if you have sprinkled magic dust on it, it has pinged into life just like that.

“We have already got a considerable number of activists waiting and ready to help.

“Everyone is ready and raring to go, but we have been through this before, we are seasoned campaigners, and it is not quite such a jubilant campaign as it was in 2014.

“People are steeled, and they are serious about it – we know what we are up against.

“We are putting the band back on the road.

“I think it is absolutely the right time [for a referendum] and we are going to be utterly neutered if we can’t get independence over the line. I have no doubt this is our last chance.

“If we don’t win, the UK and Scotland will be unrecognisable from the place I grew up in and we will not be able to do anything about it.

“I’m in my 60s and I came through the Thatcher years and the depression of all of that. I see exactly what is on the horizon – but on steroids.”

Alistair Ballantyne, Yes Angus and Dundee and Angus Independence Group

The National:

“The launch has been long-awaited; people have been saying when is this going to take place?

“Another 10, possibly 15 people, joined our Facebook page just in the two or three days afterwards. We have SNP and Green members and all sorts of folk who are realising it is time to stick their head above the parapet again, which is good.

“I have read the 72-page [first independence] document – it does seem to go through the big issues.

“Comparing it to 2014, I still have copies of the 400-page document which was just too much, nobody read that. And if you put something out like that as a big document, opponents can pick and choose the issues.

“We have been needing the referendum launch. If it can’t be done into 2023 and it drifts into 2024, there has to be a bloody good reason for doing it – a pandemic or a court action or something.

“We need to get a referendum done – if it is the Catalan version, I really don’t care now.

“Democracy is the will of the people to be asked a question and answer it.

“Even if we lost, we would be getting allowed to ask ourselves – do we want to stay part of this Union?”

Pat Farrington, Yes Islay

“I am absolutely delighted the launch has happened. I was very active in the 2014 campaign – I was a Labour activist until I realised how awful the Better Together set-up was and became an SNP member.

“I was very disappointed in 2014, I thought we just might possibly squeeze through, so I am delighted that the fresh announcement has been made.

“However, I am a bit disappointed that it wasn’t made with a great big fanfare and whistles and bells and that sort of thing – it was quite a quiet announcement.

“I think October 2023 is good timing, I was hoping it was September, I had that in my mind. We need good weather – and we have got an October school holiday which might help with people being able to get out and about and do a bit of canvassing.

“I also agree that we need to get all ducks in a row – it has got to be right this time.

“There have to be no cracks in the plan and all the questions people will ask, there has got to be an answer for.

“We have got to have the policies directly from the SNP government – it has to be definitive.”

Adrian Doherty, Yes Greater Glasgow

“From what I have seen, the first paper looks like a good example of reframing, turning the dialogue around a bit so that we are talking about what we want to be talking about and it makes sense.

“I think there is never going to be a perfect time and there are still doubts in the back of my mind about how people are feeling about the wider political context with Ukraine and how that makes everyone nervous right across Europe, our Nato membership and all of that.

“Personally, I don’t think that should be a blocker but I think it could well distract people’s attention and make them nervous about going down the route of leaving a UK entity.

“It was when I was living and working in Denmark that I really started to think why are we not doing this ourselves in Scotland when we have got the ability? That was in the 90s.

“I have always believed we can do it on our own – why not, there are lots of other countries that do it.

“The timing is going to be an issue – but it is never going to be perfect.

“There is a lot of ground to cover in the next year or so and we need to get up to 55/60% [Yes support] to be comfortable.”

Sharon Trish, convener of Yes Strathearn and Perthshire Independence Network

The National:

“The launch and the first indyref paper were very welcome as we’d been anticipating an announcement from the First Minister. It was brilliant that Patrick Harvie was there, as his contributions showed a partnership for the upcoming campaign.

“I think Independence In The Modern World hit all the right notes to show what’s possible in an independent Scotland, as referenced in other similar independent countries, particularly in comparison to how the UK has held us back in so many areas.

“Interestingly, our local group met for the first time in months just a few days before the announcement to plan our participation in the Believe in Scotland campaign. We are ramping up campaign organising, and activities for Yes Strathearn and Perthshire.

“Whilst we will have street stalls and events, we intend to have many listening opportunities for all in our communities to share their concerns, ideas, and hopes for the future of Scotland and particularly our part of the world.

“We’d anticipated a date in autumn 2023 and now it’s real. It’s a good 16 months away, and we believe we can deliver a positive campaign that will bring a majority to Scottish independence.”

David Myles, Yes North East Fife

“At long last, we have finally got the ball moving again.

“I liked the style of the way the paper was prepared, in that it was trying to compare and contrast and moving it forward which was distinct from the fiasco, for example, that Alex Salmond had over currency last time round.

“I think October 2023 is a good time to have the referendum and the reason is some debate will have to take place to try and convince the switherers to move over to Yes. Likewise, we need to make sure we have got on board all the youth.

“We are in the process of trying to get ourselves organised again.

“We have got a mobile hub, so rather than having premises, we have got a people carrier so we will get that back on the road.

“Having a date allows you to meet with other Yes groups and campaign for what you are trying to do and you know when you have got to do it.

“I don’t actually think that Johnson, despite all his bluster, will be able to refuse us [a referendum] – he will do what he possibly can to ignore it or push it down the road, but I don’t think he will refuse it.”