HUMZA Yousaf set out the Scottish Government’s plan for industrial strategy and the economy in the event of Scottish independence during an address at Glasgow University on Monday.

It was the first speech in a new series setting out the case for independence and expanding on the Scottish Government’s white papers.

The room was full of business-people, academics and journalists.

Pro-independence think tank Scotonomics opened their weekly newsletter with us – which you can subscribe to here – by writing: "In failing to mention a just transition or a well-being economy, the First Minister’s recent major speech on the economy highlights the deep economic contradictions at the heart of the SNP’s independence plans." 

Common Weal's Robin McAlpine reacted to the speech, saying there was "no need to wait for independence" to implement industrial strategy.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf's independence speech – what was it all about?

McAlpine said: "We have been calling for a proper industrial strategy for Scotland for a decade now, not least to finally capture some of the much-promised renewable energy jobs for Scotland. There is absolutely no need to wait for independence to get on with this.

"There needs to be a proper vision for an industrial future for Scotland and politicians must lead that vision. Another woolly jumble of committees and consultants is a long, long way away from an industrial strategy."

Simon Barrow, national secretary of the SNP trade union group, told The National: "We welcome the First Minister's emphasis on industrial policy, and the commitment to make it a central plank of driving forward an independent Scotland.

“But the challenge is not just one for the future. It starts now. The SNP-led Scottish Government needs a fresh, joined-up approach linking green industrial policy to regional development and a strategy to eliminate poverty and inequality.”

READ MORE: Scottish independence activists must look forward as well as back

Barrow added: “Above all, the focus of our industrial thinking, now and on the path to independence, must draw on the experience, ideas and expertise of trade unions in negotiating a just transition away from damaging fossil fuels and towards a sustainable, prosperous and more equal future.

“Abundant on- and off-shore renewable resources, technical capacity and educational excellence – all in Scotland's hands – are the key drivers of the future, starting now."

If you want to read how trade unions reacted to the speech you can read this week's Picket Line newsletter here.

Overall, the reaction from the grassroots movement was that a lot of what Yousaf mentioned, or didn't mention, should already be in motion.

However, the pitch to the business sector to get on board with Yousaf's vision was well-reported on and analysed – potentially bringing those outside of the Yes bubble into the independence conversation with several policy initiatives.

This week, we featured a piece from Alan Petrie, an activist from Aberdeen in which he wrote: "I’ll be honest – this article will not make easy reading for many and will likely get more than a few, 'How dare he,' reactions."

If you haven't already, I would urge you to read it here.

In it, Petrie argues the Yes campaign has forgotten it is just that, a campaign, and has wasted nine years in which steps towards a guaranteed victory at a referendum could have been made.

He said: "The post-referendum Yes movement is like a closed Facebook group – bloggers who write what you want to hear and self-gratification.

"Somewhere along the line, we forgot that the Yes movement is a campaign, and its one job is to reach out and convince others that independence offers a better long-term future."

READ MORE: Scotland must look beyond its borders. That includes at the Nordics 

He's not the first and won't be the last to share these opinions.

At least once a month, someone in the Yes movement urges other activists to get out and campaign and the same struggles are listed: consistent messaging, numbers, and an aim.

But 2023 did give the movement more concrete messaging – and with a General Election campaign coming, activist numbers and a date to aim for will naturally come. The influx of foot soldiers is something independence activists have been eager for for years.

2024 should be the year when Yes is top of the agenda for both Scottish activists and Scottish media.

The movement really must grab the opportunity with both hands and put it at the top – welcome new activists, get messages up to date with the key information and do the leg work of a campaign.

What are your suggestions for welcoming new activists? Have any events been particularly good at drawing in support? Let us know at

Young Scots for Independence are gearing up to campaign with the relaunch of their Glasgow and North East groups.

The Glasgow AGM takes place on Saturday and will welcome Stuart McDonald MP as guest speaker to the university union at 1pm. They are also heading out to campaign with Alison Thewliss MP, and SNP candidate for Glasgow North.