A guest article by the Scottish Independence Movement

WE can all agree that 2021 has not been the best of times for the Yes movement. The Covid-19 pandemic and all the restrictions that it necessitated deprived us of our momentum and the frustration caused by seven years without any discernible progress towards independence has resulted in some very unfortunate internal disagreements and disputes.

At a time when the Yes movement most needs to be united, it has never been more divided. It’s very perplexing. Nobody wants this division. Nobody wants this squabbling among the fundamentally like-minded. But nobody seems able to put a stop to it. Everybody wants the solidarity that we all recognise is desperately needed.

It may be argued that the Yes movement looks set to end the year in better condition than it started. We were a bit ring-rusty coming out of our corner as precautions against coronavirus were eased. But after an increasingly successful series of nationally organised marches as well as innumerable local events, we look to be getting back into our stride. But we have a way to go before we’re fully fit for the referendum campaign which hopefully we will be mounting sometime soon.

The National:

Another characteristic of the Yes movement that persists is the sense of community. Not just the sense of the movement itself being a community – what Sandra White (above) called the Yes family – but the feeling of being part of the wider community. Part of Scotland.

From early in its development local Yes groups have sought to engage with and serve their communities. There’s a hard-headed political pragmatism about this. Doing a beach or riverbank clean-up with a bunch of folks is a good opportunity to spread the Yes message. But that was never the only or even the main reason for participating in these communal activities. It was always more to do with trying to do politics differently. Trying to create a politics more connected with people and communities. It was just a good thing to do.

We’re still doing it. All over Scotland, Yes groups are joining with others to help with all manner of projects. Things like foodbank collections are now part of the routine for many Yes groups. I think also that we can claim to have done our bit when lockdown made it necessary to pay particular attention to the most vulnerable people.

Thinking about this community spirit got us wondering if it could help bring the Yes movement back together again. We reckon it might. If we find the right project. A project that will inspire everybody.

READ MORE: IN PICTURES: Thousands march for independence at Edinburgh rally

Scottish Independence Movement (SIM) is organising a St Andrew’s Day March and Rally in Edinburgh on Saturday, November 27.

Obviously, we hope that this event will be well attended. Just as we wish all success to other events planned for the Autumn months. But we would be delighted if the Yes movement as a whole could end what has not been a great year on a really high note.

It looks like to be a hard winter for everybody bar the privileged. Among the most vulnerable in our communities, there will be very real suffering. SIM is hoping Yes groups all over Scotland will be seeking to help in any way they can. But it looks like being a cold, hungry, joyless time for a lot of people.

Maybe we can do something about the last of these. Perhaps we can bring a little of the traditional joy of the season to children who might otherwise miss out.

What SIM is proposing is that as the marching season comes to an end, the Yes movement turns its energies to ensuring that no child in Scotland is left without a gift this Christmas. Even children who might not have been expected to experience deprivation have been made to suffer by the combination of a nasty virus and a no less heartless British government. Anything we can do to ensure that children are not robbed of a happy Christmas as they’ve been robbed of so much else has to be worthwhile.

SIM stands ready to help with the collection and distribution of donated gifts. We hope the whole Yes movement will join us in this effort. Who knows? It might benefit us as well. No child should be made to feel left out at a time of celebration. The aim is to ensure that every child has a gift this Christmas. A gift from Scotland to Scotland’s children.

We are asking the people of Scotland to donate one gift if you’re able, or a shoebox of gifts. Whatever you can comfortably afford to spend, bring it on the day and drop it off at the collection point.

Details can be found at www.facebook.com/events/194988886046929