The Grassroots Yes is back!

large_yes-scotlandWhen the official Yes Scotland organisation folded after the referendum it left a vacuum.  There appeared no contingency plan to deal with the aftermath of a No vote.  The head-honchos cleared their desks, packed their bags and disappeared.

I recall the days after the result wondering what would happen.  Would local Yes groups do similar?

Would Scotland go back into her box?  Like the football team, the memory of the summer of 2014 to be celebrated in ritual celebrations of glorious defeat?

Not a bit of it.  There was an explosion of energy.  It was like the Yes Scotland supernova had erupted.  I spoke to several people who had campaigned hard during the indyref and the feeling was not one of depression but one of absolute positivity.

The Unionist atomic bomb had exploded, but when the smoke cleared … Yes was still standing.  We weren’t beaten.  Ideas sprang forth.  I recall one which quickly gained momentum amongst us Yessers was of a Yes alliance.

Pro-independence political parties experienced a massive increase in membership.  Would the SNP, Greens and Scottish Socialists formally cooperate in order to take on the Unionists?  Could such an alliance dent Scottish Labour’s dominance at Westminster?

No such alliance ever materialised.  But what did materialise was the evisceration of British Labour in Scotland.  Scottish Yes leaning voters, understanding Westminster operated a first-past-the-post system, overwhelmingly backed the SNP.  Scotland is now represented at Westminster by MPs who all back Scottish independence.

The recent Scottish election witnessed a similar result for the SNP.  Nicola Sturgeon’s party failed narrowly to repeat the majority victory from 2011.  But the Scottish Greens gained in numbers and a pro-independence Holyrood chamber has been maintained.

Politically, the independence movement is stronger than it’s ever been.  But what of the grassroots Yes campaign?  The activists who were the colourful and vibrant public face of Yes Scotland have disappeared from view.

Well these guys never went away.  Today we see the fruits of an initiative launched in Largs the day after the referendum.  The National Yes Registry [NYS] was created in order to ensure the most successful grass-roots campaign ever seen did not wither.

The beauty of the NYS is that, like the local Yes Scotland groups, it is not based on party allegiance.  Those behind the project are ordinary people, just like the thousands of ordinary folk who gave life to Yes Scotland.

It’s also important to note that these guys aren’t linked to any of the more well-known pro-indy websites.  One of the things that has most impressed me is the refusal of NYS to favour any site, or indeed newspaper, in choosing who to notify of their official launch.

This very site is small-fry when compared to Wings Over Scotland or The National, but we were offered exactly the same embargoed material as they were.  Newsnet, iScot magazine, Bella Caledonia, Wee Ginger Dug and Common Space were all invited to take part in the launch on the same terms.

This fills me with optimism regarding the future of the NYS project.  It hasn’t been hijacked by people or groups with an agenda.  There’s a distinct lack of ego.  It is a continuation of the raw, honest purity that made Yes Scotland such a successful grass-roots movement.

It’s going to be interesting watching ‘Yes Again’ re-emerge.  There are so many opportunities for a movement not hamstrung by party tribalism and freed from the shackles of agendas.  It has one goal, to persuade people of the merits of independence.

I hope they get it right.  There have been too many post-referendum initiatives injecting division and acrimony into the independence movement.  NYS would do well to learn from that.

Good luck guys.  We’re all rooting for you. is here to help.

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5 thoughts on “The Grassroots Yes is back!

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  3. clachangowk

    On the face of it might be a good idea but I am not convinced.

    Recently there was a long letter in the National demanding that the SNP show respect for other Indy supporting folk and organisations while in that same letter ranting about all the things the SNP had done wrong in the indy campaign and implying it was the SNP’s fault that the referendum was lost.
    Suffice it to say I did not agree with most of the writer’s points and found them superficial.

    I have attended a number of Common Weal evenings locally and found them interesting and useful. However, I could sense amongst many attendees anti-SNP feelings and in fact was shouted down when I as an SNP member wished to make a point from an SNP point of view.

    Respect is a 2-way thing and until, in particular, left leaning groups accept they do not have the fount of all wisdom and that the SNP is not wrong simply for being the SNP, I’ll reserve my judgement on the value of the registry.

    The SNP leadership has declared it’s readiness to work with others. But a bit of respect in return would not be amiss

  4. Fiona Grahame

    Despite being a Unionist dominated place Orkney has continued with its Yes campaign and joined the Yes Registry. It is difficult for folk in the Northern Isles to keep connected with the debate in Scotland but we are determined to do so. The Scottish elections and the Carmichael affair were hard for us but what was harder were the very negative online comments some supporters of independence attacked us with when the LibDems increased their majorities in Orkney and Shetland. Those kind of comments are unhelpful and do nothing to persuade people to vote Yes next time. I have great faith in the people of Scotland who are now more politically aware than ever before. The Yes Registry is a great way to share ideas and to keep us connected.

  5. Sandy Lumsden

    I sadly noticed from NYR’s website that Aberdeen was not mentioned amongst Groups supporting a second referendum so hence I am putting my name in the Indyref2 list.

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