This article was published as part of our 16-page Manniefest special edition. Click HERE for more information and more articles setting out a vision for the Highlands and Islands after independence.

We asked Yessers in the Highlands and Islands what a Yes vote could do for them – and here are their answers.

1. Luan MacCormack, Yes Nairn

The National:

I’M a Yes Nairn activist because Scotland should be governed by the people we elect always. We need a real local council, local people need to have their say. We need the power to ensure that what’s right for our community is heard and enacted, be it on the environment and energy (need before profit and greed), housing and planning, roads and transport or the common good (what really fits our town).

A real local council can help lift our community out of poverty, help our young people have fulfilling lives and protect the vulnerable – so independence means we are living in the early days of a better Nairnshire.

2. Pixie Murray, Sutherland

The National:

I’M 16 and thanks to education being devolved I’m about to start my university education without worrying about tuition fees. Just one example of the different choices the Scottish Government makes when it has the power to decide.

I want to live in a fully independent Scotland so that all decisions about our lives are made by people we elected, who are answerable to us and reflect our values and beliefs – not those of our neighbours.

I’d like to see Scots benefit from all our renewable energy instead of paying the highest prices for electricity in the UK. I’d like to see foodbanks disappear from our towns and cities because they are no longer needed. I’d especially like to see our links with Europe restored so we can regain our right to free movement and free trade and benefit once again from having our European friends make their homes here in Scotland.

I believe an independent Scotland could be governed with compassion as the guiding principle, not the private-profit motive.

3. Alice Nicolson, Invergordon

The National:

In English:

HELLO, I am Alice Nicolson, aged 18. I support an independent Scotland because I want to see a government that represents the wants of the Scottish people and can be entirely in control of its own laws, finances and everything else, because that is what every country deserves.

I hope to see Gaelic and other national languages promoted far more within the curriculum and major changes within the legal system to promote fairer and more equitable outcomes for men and women who report sexual assault, rape and domestic abuse.

In Gaelic:

HALO, is mise Alice NicNeacail, aois 18, agus san àm ri teachd do dh’Alba neo-eisimeileach, tha mi airson riaghaltas fhaicinn a bhios a’ riochdachadh miann muinntir na h-Alba agus a dh’ fhaodadh a bhith gu tur fo smachd a laghan, ionmhas agus a h-uile càil eile air sgàth is e sin a tha a h-uile dùthaich airidh air. Tha mi an dòchas atharrachaidhean mòra fhaicinn taobh a-staigh an t-siostam laghail gus builean nas cothromaiche agus nas cothromaiche a bhrosnachadh do bhoireannaich is fireannaich a bhios ag aithris air ionnsaigh feise, èigneachadh agus droch dhìol san dachaigh. Tha mi cuideachd an dòchas a’ Ghàidhlig agus cànanan nàiseanta eile fhaicinn air am brosnachadh fada a’ bharrachd taobh a-staigh a’ churraicealaim agus sgoiltean.

4. Frances McKie, Evanton

The National:

I HOPE Scotland’s independence will bring an end to the abuse of the Highlands and Islands for live bombing and other military experiments. I’d like to see agricultural and fishing policies supporting small-hill farmers and small-boat, inshore fishermen, and new investment in rail and sea transport to take freight off roads.

Specifically, I’d like to see the development of Invergordon and Nigg, along with other east-coast ports, to let Scottish produce avoid Dover queues and Brexit bureaucracy. I’d like to see

co-operation with the Arctic nations and EU to develop sustainable energy within the Highlands and Islands and investment in Scottish wool as a multi-use, environmentally friendly material.

5. Lucy Beattie, farmer and researcher, Ullapool, Wester-Ross

The National:

IN 2014, when I placed a Yes sign in my fields beside the main trunk road from Inverness to Ullapool, it was well received locally, but there was a mixed reaction from farming friends. Here we are, eight years on, and I think those folk have changed their minds. The threat of a no-deal Brexit negotiated by a political party that has not received majority support in Scotland since 1955 has left farming people dismayed, particularly hill farmers, and it’s not getting any better.

I think independence would bring better prosperity to our area, and a sense of pride in our place and people.

6. Gordon Cuthbertson, Fort William

WE could look after our land, cap heating bills ... we could even build a bypass, to alleviate the summer traffic jam and make Fort William a better town for locals and tourists alike. Oh, and we could teach our own language – Math dh’ionnsaich a chlann againn sa Ghaidhlig – and right through secondary school as well. That’s just for starters!

7. Inveryess

THE Inveryess group would like to make local government more local and thus break up Highland Council as at present.

Democracy should start at the local level, empowering people to take decisions designed to improve their local area and be accountable for those decisions.

Meaningful empowerment encourages participation and reduces passivity which also helps at national level. There is still a place for a level of decision-making between local and national because it can achieve economies of scale in purchasing and in administration costs. Local government funding also needs reforming, to reduce central control and improve local accountability.

8. Colin Watson, Forres

The National:

THE population in and around Forres includes a large number of armed forces personnel, ex-forces and their families. The nature of their employment means they move around the nations of the United Kingdom but all chains of command lead back to London.

This encourages the vast majority (particularly folk born outwith Scotland) to regard our nation as just a region and that results in voting along pro-UK lines.

Independence would lead to a change in outlook (as the chain of command resides inside Scotland) and a greater appreciation of the advantages of life and work in a small country where government is far more approachable and accountable.

9. Juli Harris, Craigellachie

The National:

PRISTINE, protected seas and shore, hills and glens: the sheer beauty

overwhelms, yet with privilege comes duty.

Renewable energy for all from our land and seas.

Fine food, drink and produce from our fair country.

Green links connect communities, thriving, safe and healthy.

Land reformed and not a bloody playground for the wealthy.

People living in harmony in communities rich in diversity.

Putting an end to fighting and adversity.

Our history, culture, arts and music celebrated as a nation – we are custodians of our Scotland for future generations.

10. Tia Thomson, Yes Nairn

The National:

INSTEAD of being held back by the compulsion to abstract wealth to the select few, a new Scotland will see our plentiful resources harnessed for the benefit of all. Scotland recognises a need to be fair and equitable. More and more – demonstrably – we have become a nation of people who choose to give; to welcome refugees and others who want to make Scotland their home; to support ALL our people. A place where wellbeing is given due respect and importance, and all our people have opportunities to contribute to the future.

11. Sandy MacKenzie, Lochbroom

The National:

I BELIEVE that the changes that would follow independence will allow the Highlands to flourish as people discover the power of true democracy and sovereignty.

Our nation will be at peace with itself as a properly constituted country which can decide for itself which international organisations it wishes to join. The present devolved government has already signed up to the UN’s 17 sustainable goals. Empowering ourselves to become an equal on the world stage would be a dream come true: no poverty, zero hunger, affordable housing, land being returned to the people. A fully funded health service – all of these and much more could be the reward. No more playing second fiddle to forces over which we have no control.

12. Lilly Hunter, Wick

The National:

I WOULD like to see the Highlands become less car dependent after independence. Build out the railway network, both for people and for freight. Make it easy to get around, easy to get to our beauty spots. I would like to see a few good, clean industries establish themselves in the great empty interior of Scotland, creating jobs, building housing, schools and services. People and nature can live in harmony together! Let’s have a period of mass immigration to stimulate the economy, like Canada and Australia had. The world took our people, now it’s our turn.

13. Carole Inglis, Yes Skye & Lochalsh

FOR too long we have generated tax revenue from our natural resources, yet seen little financial return. We need to avoid a modern-day Highland Clearance, this time of our young people. Without access to affordable homes, we lose people of working age and that harms our hard-earned reputation for hospitality and depletes the workforce for tourism, world-renowned seafood and whisky and depletes our communities.

We also have an opportunity to become a renewables powerhouse, by investing wisely in wind, hydro and marine energy for good jobs and the common good. Too many lost opportunities already, it really is time to grasp the thistle.

14. Chris Sagan, Isle of Bute

The National:

THERE is a stone near the visitor centre in Rothesay to remember the 600 men of Bute who gave their lives for Scotland fighting with Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298. That may be long ago, but that spirit remains strong on the Isle of Bute.

Being islanders, the Brandanes of Bute find it easy to be of independent mind. While some remain faithful to a dying Britain, the inherent pragmatism of more and more islanders leads them to conclude that we need to get away from the corrosive and corrupt bed of vipers that is Westminster.

15. Iain Bruce

NUMEROUS failures to protect the interests of Nairn by Highland Council – particularly over the Port of Cromarty’s proposals for crude oil trans-shipment in the Moray Firth – mean I’d like to see independence provide Scotland with a bicameral (two-chamber) parliament. The second chamber would be composed of delegates from regional councils which would also have direct management of Common Services Board(s) for roads, energy and water.

Everything else would be managed by a greater number of smaller and genuinely local councils, so that Nairn Town Council would once again look after our local affairs.