I can understand why Yes Scotland was closed down after the referendum — it was expensive and yet not that good at coordinating the grassroots. However, nothing has filled the void left behind.
The SNP is of course doing incredibly well, but at the end of the day it’s a political party and not only an independence organisation. The same holds true for the Greens and the SSP.
As a result of this, you haven’t see any official SNP involvement in the marches and rallies that have been held since the referendum — and partly as a consequence of this, Tommy Sheridan has several times taken the opportunity to up his profile by being a big presence at the rallies.
It’s also not quite clear how much effort is going into dissecting all the flaws of the first independence campaign to ensure we do better next time.
At the same time, many people — myself included — are clearly waiting impatiently for independence, and yet we understand that we must wait until there’s a clear Yes majority in the opinion polls before calling a new referendum.
So we need a rallying point. However, setting up Yes Scotland Mark II is probably not a good idea — we don’t need a campaign organisation at this stage.
I would instead propose that we set up an Independence Institute with the following remit:
- To organise events (conferences, workshops, perhaps even rallies) where pro-independence parties, organisations, bloggers and individuals can meet up and exchange ideas.
- To analyse the first independence campaign and figure out how to do better next time.
- To produce badges, car stickers and other materials that supporters can use when the don’t want to use party-branded stuff.
- To liaise with all the pro-independence parties to ensure they all remain committed to the cause and are ready once the second campaign gets called.
- To push support for independence up over the 60% mark that will probably trigger a new referendum.
The Independence Institute would probably be a mixture between a think tank and a campaign organisation. Once the second indyref gets called, it can hopefully easily transform itself into Yes Scotland II.