THE SNP must "catch up" with the Yes grassroots and give independence campaigners something solid to "aim at", a leading independence figure has said.  

Believe in Scotland CEO Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp said to effectively push the polls, the SNP are the ones who must set the target for a campaign - but that this must be led by ordinary activsts, not the politicians.

The comments came before senior SNP MP Pete Wishart called for a cross-movement Independence Convention to be held after the SNP’s special conference to mobilise the grassroots campaign.

Responding to the senior MP, MacIntyre-Kemp advised SNP politicians to "check" what efforts were already organised by the movement before making suggestions.

Believe in Scotland's campaign steering group agreed the outline agenda for their Scottish Independence Congress taking place in Febraury, before the SNP special democracy conference, on Tuesday night and will be sending out invitations to register within the next few days.

The National: CEO of Business for Scotland, Gordon MacIntyre-KempCEO of Business for Scotland, Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp (Image: Max Crawford)

At the Business for Scotland dinner, MacIntyre-Kemp gave his annual address to leading figures of the movement sat alongside grassroot activists. The speech focused on both the organisations past achievements and future goals.

MacIntyre-Kemp said Believe in Scotland, the campaign arm of Business for Scotland, has “become very successful”. He added that his organisation doesn’t exist to run the independence movement - but to support grassroots efforts.

In reaction to the suggestion of another convention, after three being held in the two months prior, MacIntyre-Kemp said: “The Scottish Independence Congress that we have coming up in February will have 150 delegates, half a dozen national campaign groups and representatives from three pro-independence political parties attending.

“At the Congress, we can take the temperature of the Yes movement and feed that into the SNP democracy conference rather than wait to hear what they’ve got to say and find out it doesn’t actually match what the movement is thinking.”

READ MORE: Anti-monarchy activists 'turn Buckingham Palace into polling station'

The representatives of the three pro-independence political parties are Michael Russell for SNP, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh for Alba and Lorna Slater for Greens.

“Basically he’s [Pete Wishart] got a good idea but what he doesn’t realise is that the Yes movement is actually pushing ahead and the political parties have to catch up.

"Politicians calling for cross-movement Independence Conventions should probably check and see if the movement is already organising such an event before suggesting it.”

The National: Pete Wishart on the campaign trailPete Wishart on the campaign trail

Wishart said that the summit should invite all parties who support independence to establish a campaign HQ and structure, as well as “prepare materials and central messaging”.

When asked if the suggestion of the campaign HQ was a good one, MacIntyre-Kemp said: “The SNP should run their campaign, Greens should run their campaign, Alba should run theirs and Believe in Scotland, plus our affiliated groups, will run ours. It’s not for the SNP to decide who gets to run the grassroots campaign, the grassroots will decide that.

“I agree that there has to be a grassroots, no party aligned campaign that is genuinely independent of political parties or we won’t be able to reach a huge chunk of the undecided.”

READ MORE: Robert Burns: How the champion of liberty has enthralled generations

At the dinner, MacIntyre-Kemp made clear that it will likely take SNP to set a target for the campaign to officially begin, but then the movement can take it forward.

He said: “Independence support is going to rise as soon as we are in campaign mode – I think that may take the SNP to have its special democracy conference and actually give us a target to aim at as a Yes campaign.

“Once it does that, we can go forward, and we can take the message out to people, and it will be sustained until the 2024 General Election – where I believe Scotland will deliver a resounding mandate for independence."

MacIntyre-Kemp reiterated the need for activists to come off social media and get involved with local groups or chat to friends, family and co-workers about an independent Scotland.

He said: “We have to get our movement out of the Yes bubble and on to the streets, into the office, into the pub, into cafes and we need talk to people and ask what kind of Scotland do you want to live in because, if any answer is positive - it is more easily delivered through independence.

“Right across Scotland we can’t do anything without the support of our local groups.

"Delivering leaflets, key messages - there are thousands of people who work in the Believe in Scotland campaign."

READ MORE: De facto referendum would see Scots vote for independence, poll finds

The annual address was concluded by pointing towards next week’s Brexit anniversary, with the organisation supporting local groups across Scotland that are hosting events.

They will also be supporting Time for Scotland’s procession and rally at Holyrood.

He touched on the Scottish Independence Congress to be held in February online by describing it as “bringing the campaigning arm of the independence movement together to talk about the way forward – and not waiting another 10 years”.