WHAT do members of the grassroots campaigns for Scottish independence want from a new leader of the SNP?

The Sunday National has been canvassing opinions from groups across Scotland and the clear message is that the new leader has to work with them to secure independence.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, founder of Business for Scotland/Believe in Scotland

FIRST of all, I want them to bring the independence movement together, to reach out and engage in a more productive way with the grassroots, the civic campaign, and understand that while the SNP may well be the biggest player and have the power to make the decisions on policy and timing, they are not the be all and end all.

They cannot win without us so they need to work more productively with us.

Secondly, I would like to see them refocus the SNP on independence as we have had too many false starts.

I know that is an accusation that has been levelled at the party over and over again but we cannot delay any longer. We need to push on and they need to give the independence movement a target to aim for and let us get out there and move the polls.

That means they have to publish their papers and policies so we know what they are going to campaign on as the expected government of an independent Scotland in the first term.

They stopped the papers after releasing two or three but they have to tell us what they stand for, refocus on independence and put independence at the forefront of what they do. This should not be to the detriment of anything else but we clearly need a new focus on independence.

Finally, I would hope that a fresh start with a new leader will give us a honeymoon period and people will listen to what the new leader is saying without the bad filters that Nicola was talking about.

That will allow people to consider what they have to say about the benefits of independence. The new leader should not be put off by the opposition accusing them of just talking about independence again. We haven’t talked enough about independence.

The opposition has been talking about Brexit and British nationalism but we have not been talking about the alternative so of course the polls have not risen.

We need to have a fresh look at what we stand for, what the policies are and get them out there.

It’s worth pointing out that I am not an SNP member so I don’t have any say in this but I can only speak as someone who has been involved in the independence campaign and we are scunnered time and time again waiting for the SNP to fire the starting gun.

We will win from 48% or 50% or even 45% support in the polls. All we need to do is campaign and we can’t campaign until the SNP delivers from its end. We are ready to go.

Alan Petrie, Aberdeen AIM co-organiser and co-founder

THE First Minister leaves a huge gap, but new leadership also means new opportunities. The new leader of the SNP takes on three huge jobs on day one, the First Minister of Scotland, leader of the SNP and leader of the greater Yes movement.

The latter is a very different job and maybe where most new opportunities exist and a fresh approach could pay dividends. AIM took a stance on backing a de-facto Westminster election at a recent meeting and this is still our official position.

It’s time to push on and step up the campaign. These are the things I’d personally like to see from any new leader from a grassroots independence perspective: a wide civic campaign organisation with a code of conduct at its heart.

This organisation could make the positive campaign its sole focus, rather than the day-to-day governance of the nation.

We also need the independence papers to be published in a timely fashion with a proper campaign around the merits of independence. Government papers should all have a section on independence.

From a North East perspective, I’d like to end the pretence that a just transition for the North East is possible while in the devolution era and spell out the harsh reality that without independence, the North East will never be able to have anything like a just transition. Most of all, we need a leader to truly embrace the Yes movement.

Craig Lundie, Radical Independence Campaign

A MORE obviously centrist leadership appeals to many of the SNP old guard, having rehearsed the old argument – leave the politics till after we get independence – for so long. But this is a terrible approach and thankfully more and more people agree with Radical Independence Campaign on this point.

So we will continue to campaign directly against the monarchy and against the coronation of King Charles III. We will campaign for the institution of an independent Scottish republic that includes the people of Scotland – all of them – in the decisions that affect their lives.

Say what you like about Alex Salmond. And there’s a lot. He left the party with an obvious successor. And that is surely one test of good leadership – to prepare those who will come after them to have as smooth a transition into place as possible. Not this time.

Nicola Sturgeon has not left an obvious, let alone an uncontestable successor. So much so that anything that could look like a smooth transition is almost inevitably going to look like a backward step.

Maybe the process of choosing leaders needs a proper process – over an extended period – where intentions can be scrutinised, voted on, and held to account.

It’s been said that Nicola leaves Scotland a better place than when she became leader. I’m not so sure. Certainly, the party is not a better party. The movement is not a better movement.

As far as the country is concerned, surely we know that we’d be better off if we didn’t crown King Charles III. There are people in the SNP, hopefully not too many, who don’t seem to understand this. Unfortunately, some of these people are senior SNP politicians. Which is why, at this point, it’s hard to see any circumstance where we’ll be better off with a new leader of the SNP either.

Ruth Watson of Yes Kirriemuir

YES Kirriemuir is a party-neutral group of people who want Scotland to be independent and although we recognise that the SNP and Greens coalition is the mechanism by which independence will be achieved, we are of the view that the Yes movement does not rely on one person.

I think what the British establishment does not understand is that the Yes movement is bubbling up through the floorboards of the British establishment and it does not have one head, one figure.

One of the reasons the National Yes Network decided really early on that there would not be one person leading it and that it would be a coalition is because you can’t cut the head off a Hydra.

It does not matter if one person goes down because there is a whole wave of activists across Scotland working for independence and there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes.

One of Nicola Sturgeon’s strengths is that she genuinely seems to care about people and genuinely seems to care about those people who perhaps many politicians don’t spend time with.

I would like the SNP membership to choose a First Minister who also cares as obviously about all the people they serve. I would also like it to be someone who does not view politics as a career but as a life of service.

William Duguid, Perth & Kinross Yes Hub

IN my view, the movement would like the new SNP leader to be someone who’s willing to reach out to the Yes movement and work with them on achieving independence.

As First Minister, they would need to be able to deal effectively with the various issues currently at the forefront and be robust with media commentators who will use them as a constant stick with which to beat the Scottish Government and, by extension, the idea that Scotland can govern itself.

Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation is undoubtedly a game changer for the Yes movement, but it’s up to all of us to organise ourselves to ensure a positive end result. I think unity on all things is probably unachievable, but we need to work harder at working together and fixing on independence as the common goal.

Despite the current disagreements within the movement, I think we can and will do so. After all, our opponents managed it in 2014 and the Unionist parties still collaborate with one another – so why shouldn’t we be able to?

Carole Inglis, co-ordinator at Yes Skye & Lochalsh

GRASSROOTS support for independence has solidified over the last two years as a result of lockdown and online meetings and is already taking steps to build the civic movement that was promised but not delivered.

More than ever we need a new SNP leader with the ability to work across political boundaries in the common cause of independence.

The movement has to work hard at this and it’s the least we should expect of a First Minister for Scotland. In the words of Andrew Carnegie: “No man [or woman] will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself [or herself] or to get all the credit for doing it.”

Many connections from Shetland to the Borders and from Stornoway to Fife have been forged and strengthened by our sense of purpose – independence – and we are not going away.”

Yes Clackmannanshire

WE do not have a collective stance on what the new leader should do. All options should be explored by party members and by the entirety of the Yes movement, from using de-facto referendums to rejecting Supreme Court ruling as incompatible with the right to self-determination.

The most important thing is the electorate understanding the need for, and benefits of, independence and of course that Scotland should make a democratic choice.

Adrian Doherty, Secretary of Yes Greater Glasgow

I THINK what most of the grassroots want is someone that helps unite as much of the pro-independence movement as possible on the core specific tactical and strategic objectives that are needed to achieve independence as quickly as makes sense. The future of the movement depends on such focus and vision to get us over the line in the next few years. So clarity, urgency and pragmatism are needed.

Yes Stirling

WE were disappointed to hear about the resignation of the First Minister – but will continue to stress to those we engage with that independence is bigger than one person. We will continue in our efforts to share with the public our vision for a prosperous, more equal society outside of the United Kingdom.

Our plans for our campaign over the summer remain unaltered. We would have liked the SNP to continue with their plans for a congress in March to discuss the process for Scots to exercise their right to choose. Delays do not help us with campaigning.

We hope a new leader of the SNP will put the benefits of independence at the heart of their interactions and make the case daily for Scottish independence.

Yes Scottish Borders

WE successfully represent people from all areas of the independence movement. Our meetings have many local groups coming together, including representatives from four independence parties as well as those from no party.

As such, we wouldn’t want to comment on the new leader of one particular party but just as we are working together in the Scottish Borders, we hope the new SNP leader will act to make independence a priority and be willing to reach out to, and work with, all sections of the Yes movement so that we can move towards our goal of independence for our country without delay.


IT was a sad day for Scottish politics.

There is absolutely no doubt that Nicola Sturgeon was a great stateswoman. However, this is not the last chapter for us.

Now is the time to galvanise the Yes movement, leaving behind the past challenges. We must move forward.

Independence is bigger than a party or a politician. Power lies with the people. That is you and me.

The will to deliver Scotland’s independence should be prioritised from our next first minister.

InverYess will continue to campaign, listening, talking and bringing forward all the positive reasons for Scotland’s self-determination.

Share your thoughts or your group’s thoughts with us by emailing letters@thenational.scot