THE recent announcement that the SNP are now in the process of deciding whether to use the next Westminster election or the next Holyrood election as a de facto referendum will mean that it is likely that any actual independence campaigning is at least a year away, if not two.

This will mean that by the time it does finally roll around, we will be at the halfway point of the Unionists’ beloved “once in a generation” timescale for holding a second referendum. By this point, Scotland will be long down the road of being out of the EU and tightly in the grip of an isolationist, right-wing UK Government which has no intention of letting us go.

Airdrie for Independence was formed in the aftermath of the 2014 campaign to fill the void left by the Yes campaign, which shut up shop just as many Scots were getting started on their journey to independence.

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Since 2016, we have taken part in marches across the length and breadth of Scotland. We have brought political discussion back to our local area and have discussed every aspect of past, present and future Scotland in an attempt to win support for independence in our local community.

We have hosted film screenings and had guest speakers address us, where the discussion has ranged from general Scottish politics to more detailed topics, such as currency, law, broadcasting, trade-unionism, international relations and defence.

We are proud to have played our part in the political awakening of many Scots, and in helping to build a momentum which put 150,000 people on the streets of Edinburgh – shooting down the false narrative that there was “no appetite for independence” in Scotland.

The arrival of Covid 19 stalled that momentum, and sadly has seen us settling in to a post-Covid/post-Brexit UK while we await the breaking of the impasse.

At the very time when we should be taking action, we are instead in the doldrums, awaiting a fresh wind to fill our sails. The SNP, having promised a referendum in October this year, now appear to be willing to kick the can down the road until at least 2024 and at the latest 2026.

As the immediacy of a referendum moves further away, people are more inclined to focus on what is up close and personal. Jobs, pay, working conditions, energy prices, fuel and food costs are all uppermost in peoples minds right now, and we run the very real danger of losing support as people grasp for the quickest solution over the best solution.

The election of a Labour government in England may remove the Tories from power, but this will only be a respite until they return, and they will be back. The only way to protect Scotland from the whims of an out-of-touch UK Government is full independence and we need that today – not in two or three years’ time.

It is our firm belief that since Scotland began debating independence way back in 2012, the case for independence has adequately been made.

With the notable exception of currency, which the SNP have not properly addressed to the satisfaction of the Yes movement or the wider electorate, it is perfectly clear that Scotland has the resources to become a fully independent country which can take its place in the international community.

The benefits and drawbacks are clear, but we cannot spend our lives in limbo, on a circular ride, discussing the same topics over and over. As a Yes movement, we cannot take to the streets indefinitely, calling for a referendum which no one seems willing to deliver. The matter appears to be out of our hands and entirely in those of the politicians.

As such, we at Airdrie for Independence have taken the painful decision to place our group’s activities on indefinite hold until such times as there is a referendum deal for which we can honestly and truthfully campaign for. We will no longer be operating our social media accounts and our physical resources will be held in storage until such times as they are required again.

We would urge all pro-independence politicians in Scotland to begin the process of working as a collective to deliver independence at the earliest possible opportunity, and would urge our members, and the entire Yes movement, to work within their respective parties to ensure that their leadership responds accordingly.

Jim Cassidy on behalf of Airdrie for Independence