THE recently announced SNP independence convention has turned a few heads in the Yes movement this week - and that’s without the details being publicised or possibly even ironed out yet.

The National understands a meeting of the organising committee is to take place on Wednesday, but details are being held close to SNP chests.

After broadcaster Lesley Riddoch questioned on social media whether journalists would be able to attend the SNP members-only convention, we took the query to the party press office.

An SNP spokesperson said: "We've been inundated with interest about the independence convention from party members. More details about the event, including media access, will be forthcoming in due course."

From what we could gather in Westminster, MPs are also none the wiser. So how are grassroots figures feeling about the convention?

“Well, I wouldn't start from here,” said Riddoch, who is co-organiser of reactionary rally organisation Time for Scotland. The group have organised demonstrations to draw media attention to Scotland at the Brexit anniversary, as well as the Supreme Court verdict.

She also attended the Glasgow AUOB march, saying at Glasgow Green: “This is what it needs to be like, it’s all fine. We’ve got a cause and we’re on it.”

The National:

In reaction to the SNP decision, Riddoch said: “Joint working across the independence parties and Yes movement has been fairly non-existent over the last 10 years with Nicola Sturgeon in charge. What needs to happen are baby steps to build trust and learn how to work together after almost a decade without any real coordination.

“Without those preparatory, trust-building, water-testing, baby steps, it's no surprise the first big event is a return to form for the SNP, running its own event, with its own people, on its own date, and promising to involve the rest of us at some unspecified later time. When is a good time to change?”

Riddoch had one “humble” suggestion for the party, and for Yes.

She said: “I'd humbly suggest that some small moves are made immediately to start the ball rolling because it took years to establish the Scottish constitutional convention that finally delivered devolution.”

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The writer and broadcaster called for a “jointly agreed programme” for Yes, especially to remove clashes in events which has been seen on June 24 with the convention and an independence rally in Stirling. One small move that could be a fairly simple one to put together.

Riddoch added: “And that's urgent. We are always arguing about the timing and composition of these single big events, then we will always be arguing – and that is the least appealing aspect of independence to the people we need to persuade.”

The secretary of the Scottish Independence Foundation, who are funding the AUOB calendar this year, said he was “shocked” by the SNP’s decision to hold the convention at the same time as the Stirling rally.

Iain Grant told The National: “It is either extraordinary incompetence or a deliberate snub to the independence movement. The SNP had the choice of four weekends in June and two days per weekend, that is eight days to choose from, and they decide the day of the traditional Bannockburn commemoration."

Grant hopes the party recognise “their error in judgement” and move the convention to the following day, June 25.

He added: “They need to restore the links between party and movement urgently, or they will find support draining away.

The National:

“My views are mine alone, not those of the Scottish Independence Foundation, although I know colleagues will be disappointed by the decision.”

On the AUOB date clash, an SNP spokesperson said: “The scale, activity and diversity of the independence movement is one of our great strengths.

“Support for independence exists in every community in Scotland and we’re confident that as one big part of the movement will be discussing strategy that day, another big part will be marching.”

Amanda Burgauer from Common Weal attended the Glasgow march at the beginning of May with others from the organisation and described it as “terrific”.

In a newsletter to members of the pro-independence think tank, she said: “I've heard from many people who say it was just what was needed to show the independence movement is still alive and kicking.”

The National: Amanda BurgauerAmanda Burgauer (Image: PA)

When asked for her reaction to the SNP announcement, Burgauer said: "Common Weal believes that we are stronger together than we are if we all do our own thing.

“Anything that harms the ability of a major initiative in the independence movement to create a buzz around our cause is unhelpful. We should be magnifying each other's work, not detracting from it.”

Isobel Lindsay, the sole SNP member to support the party participating in the Scottish Constitutional Convention in 1989, said she understood the party’s decision but the communication with members should have been better.

Lindsay, who resigned as an SNP member in 1989 to support the Convention, said: “I understand that there were a very limited number of dates available for any conference before the summer, but I think the way the SNP should have dealt with it was to put out a statement encouraging their members who were not conference delegates to attend the Stirling march and to accept the invitation to provide a speaker who was a senior party figure.”

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, founder of Scotland's largest grassroots independence campaign Believe in Scotland, said the SNP must stop “dragging their feet and decide a preferred road to independence” at the convention.

“It cannot be another talking shop or the start of a discussion. I doubt the SNP membership would be happy with that and I know the wider Yes movement wouldn't,” MacIntyre-Kemp said.

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Humza Yousaf recently announced a summer campaign for independence, but MacIntyre-Kemp warned that the SNP and Yes will miss the campaign season without any clear decision made on June 24 as they will have no “goal to aim for”.

He added: “The SNP will also likely face a by-election in Margaret Ferrier's constituency, and they can only motivate their own support to campaign if they have committed to a path to independence. Losing that probable by-election just before the SNP conference, will lead to panic and wrong decisions.”

The National: The Believe in Scotland teamThe Believe in Scotland team (Image: LP)

In February, 241 voting delegates from 126 local and national Yes Groups joined the Scottish Independence Congress hosted by Believe in Scotland. They voted on a series of motions and 70% agreed that in the absence of a Section 30 order, the only “plausible” route to independence was through using General Election as a de facto referendum.

The founder of Believe in Scotland urged the First Minister to commit to such a route.

“If Humza Yousaf wants to make his mark, protect his party and unite the Yes movement, then the SNP's independence convention must commit to a de facto General Election campaign and motivate the activists to work.

“I believe that this is what the SNP members want, it's what the Yes movement wants and it's what the country needs," MacIntyre-Kemp said.