Unite for Scotland: Overcoming Divisions to Achieve Independence
Scotland stands at a pivotal moment in history. We are a nation whose aspirations for independence have swelled over the years, stoked by the promise of a future where our country’s destiny is in the hands of the people who live here. Yet, as we draw closer to that future, the movement that was supposed to carry us there seems fractured and adrift.
I joined the Scottish National Party (SNP) because I believed in its commitment to independence. It was this common cause that swept me into the Scottish Parliament in 2016, riding on the wave of optimism that followed the 2014 referendum. Many of us thought independence was just around the corner. We thought wrong.
Despite repeated promises of an imminent independence referendum, the SNP leadership has now pivoted towards nebulous terms like a “democratic effect,” with no clear timeline in sight. Such ambiguity not only betrays the aspirations of the YES movement but also risks squandering the mandate for independence that we have all worked so hard to build.
My decision to join the Alba Party stems from a steadfast dedication to the mandate given to me by voters: the unrelenting pursuit of independence. In ALBA, I find a party that echoes this focus unequivocally. As the inaugural ALBA Member of the Scottish Parliament and the party’s Leader at Holyrood, I am resolved to uphold this singular focus and unwavering commitment.
Let me be clear: independence is not merely an end goal; it will be Scotland’s new beginning. It will be a catalyst for creating a country that leads the way in living standards, economic resilience, and innovation. The country that gave the world the Enlightenment, penicillin, and the telephone surely has the compulsion and ingenuity to reimagine and reinvent itself for a 21st century future.
While there are those who argue that the independence movement is too fragmented to succeed, I see diversity of thought and approach as a strength rather than a weakness. Yes, ALBA and the SNP have differences, but they are differences in strategy, not in the end goal. And often, a diversity of tactics is exactly what is needed to accomplish bold objectives.
As I take up the mantle of leadership for ALBA at Holyrood, I extend an invitation to all those who believe in independence to join us in strengthening Scotland’s cause; whether that’s within our party or working in tandem with us. Let’s set aside our past differences and work towards our common goal.
The SNP and ALBA may be different vehicles—and both are necessary—but we can, should and must all get back to driving in the same direction. Together we can use the democratic instruments we have at our disposal to proactively pursue and achieve independence at every election opportunity going forward.
We must also be clear about what would constitute an unequivocal outcome. A high bar that we will aspire to is ‘50% Plus’ of votes using the only gold standard there is—the ballot box. This will be a clear and definitive, “mandate to begin negotiating Scotland’s independence” from a union, which has long since served its purpose.
Therefore, in the spirit of collaboration and clear purpose, I promise an open-door policy of friendship and cooperation with all pro-independence parties and groups. We may debate fiercely on policy issues, but let’s never again be swayed from our focus on the bigger picture: a free and independent Scotland.
So, to independence supporters feeling disillusioned or politically homeless, I say: there is a place for you in ALBA, a place where your voice will be heard and your efforts valued. And to those many good and decent nationalists who remain in the SNP, know that you may have lost a despondent colleague, but you have gained a determined ally.
Let’s not let past divisions distract us from the prize that is almost within our reach. It’s time to refocus, reconnect, and reinvigorate the cause of Scottish independence; together.
We are at a crossroads. Our ability to work together, and the path we choose now, will define Scotland for generations to come. Let’s make sure we travel the path that leads to independence; that leads to prosperity and dignity for all who choose to live in this beautiful and ancient country.
First published in The National