THE Yes movement shows that there is a strong desire for democracy, not only in Scotland but in the rest of these islands.

Yes London is perhaps not somewhere people automatically think of when it comes to the campaign for independence, but they are working quietly in the background to reassure English voters that Scotland’s independence will be a good thing for English democracy and progressive politics.

London is also the place where I first joined the SNP, and it is good to see the tradition of independence and democracy remaining strong.

This week, I had the pleasure of chairing Yes London’s event, Scotland’s Future, England’s Future: The Implications of a Second Independence Referendum For English Democracy.

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I was part of an all-star panel which included the former Newsnight presenter and journalist Gavin Esler, broadcaster and podcaster Jemma Forte, as well as philosopher and EU campaigner Professor AC Grayling. As well as all being spectacular authors in their own right (something I’m in the process of trying to emulate eventually) each brought their own views and experiences on why the UK isn’t working and why Scotland should have another referendum.

The audience in-person and online lapped it up, and many came away buzzing from a riveting discussion.

What was particularly telling was the sheer frustration with the UK.

People in England aren’t happy that their votes effectively don’t matter because of the first-past-the-post voting system that is used for Westminster elections.

People in the devolved nations are aggrieved because it doesn’t matter what they want, it’s what a majority of England’s MPs vote for on the day that defines their destiny.

And everyone, everywhere, is angry at the bankrupt economic and social model that concentrates wealth and exacerbates inequality.

It’s also why the Yes movement is a source of hope for progressives across these islands.

Should we succeed, we have the opportunity to show what an independent, progressive Scotland in the European Union can deliver for all of us.

This success is one that will also show the rest of the UK, to coin a phrase, that there is an alternative.

The National: File photo dated 16/09/14 of supporters at a Yes Rally in George Square ahead of voting in the Scottish independence referendum. A majority of people in Scotland would vote for independence if there was a no-deal Brexit, polling has suggested. PRESS

The aim of our movement is, of course, to win votes for Scotland. But these types of events also help lay the foundation of that most crucial part: what happens after we win.

This is no mere hypothetical either. Geography shapes politics as much as individuals do (just ask the Brexiteers).

When Scotland becomes an independent country, the rest of the UK will be our closest and most important neighbour, alongside the EU.

It will be a shock for many in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to see Scotland leave, and we must be sympathetic to how they feel in the aftermath of a Yes vote.

It will provoke that existential reckoning that has long been coming about who or what the UK is actually for.

No doubt there will be some who would feel gleeful, but that’s not my politics.

My view is that we ought to work together constructively, have discussions, listen to each other’s viewpoints and then come to an agreement.

By being a good neighbour to the rest of the UK, we can demonstrate that Scotland is a mature country ready to join the world stage.

So the more types of these events that take place, the better.

We can and should focus both on winning votes in Scotland as well as friends and allies abroad.

It’s one reason myself and colleagues such as Dr Philippa Whitford and Stewart McDonald are keen to meet with others in Europe and around the world so that we can share the good news of what Scotland’s independence means for them.

All of this takes time and effort. It is why I am glad to see colleagues and our members engage in this para-diplomacy of explaining what’s happening in Scotland to audiences both in the near-abroad and in Europe.

The work that groups such as Yes London are doing can only help Scotland going forward, and I am very much looking forward to seeing the fruits of their efforts – as well as their next event!