"WE would, however, again ask that the highlighted sections of the quotes are either amended or removed. We have clearly explained why they are factually incorrect.”

These words arrived in my National email inbox from the Home Office at 32 minutes past midnight a few years ago – and if there had been any doubt before, that was when I realised I had made the right decision moving from No to Yes on independence.

So, the background. I grew up in Newton Stewart, Dumfries and Galloway, now represented at Westminster by Alister Jack (below) and at Holyrood by Finlay Carson – who, if you aren’t from the area, you may remember from having to refund £1200 after paying his own company cash from the public purse to create his parliamentary website. The area voted No in 2014 by a comfortable margin.

The National:

I was one of those No voters. I didn’t want to leave the EU and I was scared an independent Scotland would be kicked out. I wasn’t confident Scotland could go it alone economically or on what we’d do for a currency. I was nervous about breaking up a Union that had been together for so long. In short, I was as terrified as I suspect Alex Cole-Hamilton is when taking a lie-detector test.

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These weren’t particularly unique fears – they were and are common to many No voters. However, coming to Glasgow a few years later to study journalism at university and doing shifts at the then Evening Times alongside that, I was exposed to the realities of UK Government policy in a way I never had been.

You may have heard mention of the “public sphere”. In essence, as set out by Jurgen Habermas, this is the space where private individuals come together to discuss matters of public importance. Once upon a time this was rich people meeting in coffee houses, and later it was the letters pages of newspapers.

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The media controlled what entered the public sphere, but more recently, that sphere has been slammed to the floor and shattered into almost as many pieces as there are warring Labour factions. With social media and even just with how easy political discourse is to access in-person at places like a university, we each build up our own personal public spheres, deciding who we want to hear from in who we follow.

Often we focus on the negatives to that, talking about echo chambers. It’s an issue. For me, though, this was also helpful. The nature of the big papers and the BBC meant an embarrassing lack of thorough coverage of how Tory policies were negatively affecting Scotland and these new spheres offer options to tap into.

The National: BBC Scotland

In Glasgow I was seeing how, for example, UK stubbornness on drug policy was hindering efforts to make progress to save lives. The dial started moving for me.

Despite claims to the contrary from some corners, the Yes movement was far from lazily preaching to the converted in my experience, and was busy debating key issues around independence and how to win over voters. Stalls were set out.

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The resources I read and was able to access showed independence as normal the world over. Many aspects of the UK's economy were outshone. Meanwhile, by the time the Brexit vote happened, it was readily apparent that Scotland’s voice would constantly be disregarded.

Soon there were sub-editing shifts going at The National that I was ready to fill. The idea of breaking up a union that had lasted so long didn’t fill me with so much dread when I read about how corruptly it had been set up. The fear of not knowing how we’d do economically was cooled knowing that we can’t stop the Tories from getting into power and instituting policies to benefit only the privileged. And Keir Starmer can’t work out what a policy is to institute.

The National: Keir Starmer visit to Wolverhampton

But as I mentioned at the start, it was that email above all that made everything click.

An asylum seeker had been locked up at Dungavel detention centre and booked on a flight to their home country where they feared death. The Home Office said this was nonsense – no removal notice had been issued. The National had seen the removal notice, but that didn’t stop the threatening emails.

We refused to make the amendments. “I will pass this on to someone more senior here tomorrow and they can decide whether we pursue the matter further,” the Home Office representative told me at such a ridiculous hour of the night that it wouldn’t actually be “tomorrow” when they passed it on.

Guess what? As it turned out, the Home Office was in the wrong. A “human error” had been made. That asylum seeker, who I will not be naming because the hell they went through was so traumatic, had suffered like that because of a Home Office “human error”. Given their track record, the only surprising thing here is seeing the word “human” associated with this Home Office.

Working at The National, I have seen case after case of such Home Office horror, inflicting misery on the lives of those who need help most. It’s why I find Scottish Labour's vitriolic opposition to indyref2 so insulting. It’s why I’m so confident in my decision to back a Yes vote.

The UK Government and its departments are run for all the wrong reasons and the first-past-the-post electoral system ensures it always will be. Ruth Davidson went from being the Scottish politician perhaps most barren on policy to being an unelected baroness, and that says everything you need to know about the Lords.

Part of my job at The National is engaging with our readers. As the Autumn of Indy Action arrives, I wanted to share my journey because many of our most loyal readers and activists shaped it. If there are any conclusions to be drawn from my path on how to win people over, that’s a bonus.