A workshop by Dr June Maxwell
7th September 2019
The omens for another great march of independence came early that morning, first with the weather forecast, then an encounter with a guard heading for his train in Inverness Station. “You’ll be looking for the Perth train,” he said, with a glance at the YRS t-shirt and bag. “No, we’ve got a bus going.” He was surprised, seemingly unaware of the scale of numbers heading from all the airts – the bus itself had Yessers from Elgin to Ullapool to Thurso, for whom Inverness was only half way. “Well, I’ll be on the march too, once I get to Perth and am out of this uniform!”
The good news had started even earlier, with the announcement a couple of days before that one of the marchers and a rally speaker was to be none other than Deputy First Minister John Swinney. Here was a very public acknowledgement of the grassroot indy movement and its massive marches, from the top of Government. Will this endorsement be repeated, or even bettered, at the next march, on 5th October in Edinburgh? (Why not join us on the two YRS buses going, and help make the march the biggest ever statement of the demand for independence.)
Massive, but aye peaceful and indeed joyous marches. And though it is galling that the so called BBC Scotland said not a peep about the march, while paying attention to sectarian violence directed the same day at two small Irish marches in Glasgow, our mix of pacific and terrific reached out to far more people than violence ever could or should. And we would hardly have gone unnoticed, with about 20,000 going past well-populated areas, down into the centre and through to the North Inch by the Tay, and no doubt into the all-important local media. It has been suggested that there were more police than usual, but if so, they weren’t intrusive. The regular shouty counter-huddle of Yoonies has, to be fair, never presented a danger; though notably this time they were placed back from the marchers. But any increased police presence may have simply been down to caution stemming from the Westminster tensions or from the presence of a senior Government minister.
The march was previewed by The National with a stunning front cover; rather, two covers, flipping the paper round for mirrored Scottish and Welsh banner headlines, and a sea of Saltires or, the other way up, of Red Dragons, marking Perth and a simultaneous Welsh indy march in Merthyr Tydfil. The National was being handed out in Wales, but as seen in Oban, folk in Perth had also been busy handing out Yes.Scot scrolls and posters in advance along the route of the march, and these were being held aloft by many appreciative onlookers on the pavement and at open windows. Yes there were a couple of Union Flags stuck up; but no-one looked out of those windows. And as ever the marchers bore much more than just Saltires, but one small group of Basques celebrated the passing march holding flags of their own national banner.
We’d arrived an hour early at the gathering point on the edge of the giant corrie that is the Letham area of Perth, to what seemed a worryingly small number in the park. But first the park, then the road, quickly and smoothly filled to bursting as the mix of folk of varied lilts and languages, clothes and costumes, kept their tryst with the common cause. Welcoming facilities and emerging sunshine eased the wait, then we were off, the start of the Highland hills to be seen on the horizon above the trees and houses and the Lowland flats. Leading the way and the volume was the Saor Alba Pipe Band, including some YRS members; spotted was the band’s Saltire-bedecked support van (number, SP07RAN). And with pride of place in the YRS contingent taken by none other than Hamish himself, the diminutive lion that directly inspired the indy cartoon of same, the Ross and Sutherland roar was always going to be heard.
Visions for a Scottish local democracy
Sung by Fascinating Aïda at the Spiegeltent, Assembly, Edinburgh Festival 2016. “SO SORRY SCOTLAND”by Lyrics by Adèle Anderson, Liza Pulman & Dillie Keane: Music by Dillie Keane. Filmed by LA Media. With enormous thanks to William Burdett-Coutts and Sharon Burgess for enabling us to make the dvd.
We were passed a link to the video and thought it too good not to share, enjoy.
YRS enjoyed an excellent Day of Action with street stalls in Dingwall, Alness, Tain, Strathpeffer and Avoch. We distributed a thousand copies of the National newspaper along with local group leaflets and received a very positive reaction from passers by, with many stopping to chat and looking for information.
The Yes network is in place and working well. With no need for direction from politicians, the Yes movement in the Highlands is driving the campaign forward.
The success of today can be attributed to the formation and enthusiasm shown by the local Teams within YRS.
Thanks also to our friends from InverYess for their help and support.
So, 2019 has arrived and a very happy New Year to you all! With the beginning of a new year, independence-minded folk across Scotland are looking to the Scottish Government to make haste and get the official campaign underway. Others urge caution, to keep the powder dry until some kind of clarity emerges from the shambolic Brexit train-wreck. Whatever happens, the job for Yes Ross & Sutherland has not changed: make the case for independence and win the support of our undecided neighbours. Our campaign is already well underway and continuing apace. Leafleting routes are well travelled, our boots are worn and the sight of a YRS bannered street stall is far from unusual in towns along the Cromarty Firth and beyond. But this is not the time to rest on our laurels. 2019 will very likely be a hugely important moment in Scottish history, so we must build on our successes and think big for the future of our campaign and for the future of Scotland.
To this end, YRS is planning a Day of Action on the 26th of January. We aim to be on the streets in as many towns and villages across our area as we can manage. We’ll be leafleting, manning stalls and handing out free copies of the National newspaper (which will be running an article on us) during the day. And in the evening there will be a party in the Alness golf clubhouse with live music to give everyone a chance to relax, have a drink and get to know others in the group (more info and tickets here). In the run-up to this event and in the months to come, local teams will be setting up in our towns and villages. These teams will be semi-autonomous, with their own structures and ways of working, coordinating with each other through, and supported by, the wider YRS group. This network will be adaptable and quick to react and should allow us to significantly ramp up our operations.
The time has come for Scotland to wake up to the fact that our future within the UK looks bleak. The current direction of travel will see us all poorer, both financially and in spirit. As Little Britain closes in on itself, rejecting workers from the EU (that many of our industries badly need) in favour of chlorinated chicken from the US, Scotland can choose a different path. This is a path that we will need to take soon, if we are to take it at all. This is not news to us, as members of an Indy campaign group we are all well aware that Scotland can do far better. But there are many out there who remain unconvinced, perhaps worried by the prospect of going it alone. Our next set of leaflets shows very clearly that Scotland has tremendous resources which give our country enormous potential. It’s time to get this message out there and let everyone know that we are not chained to the unfolding calamity of Westminster’s Brexit negotiations.
On the 19th of January YRS will be holding a members meeting in Hilton of Cadboll in Easter Ross to report on what’s been happening, share news of upcoming events and plan for the future. Members will receive emails soon with more information, but if you’ve not yet signed up with us, why not come along to our meeting and find out what we are about? Get in touch via our Contact Us page and we’ll let you know the details. Likewise, if you are keen to help out on the 26th and/or join us for the evening, you don’t have to be a member. Contact us and we’ll let you know how you can help, and feel free to book a ticket for the party using the earlier link. We look forward to seeing you there!
We will be publishing a full report on the AUOB Edinburgh march in due course. In the mean time we are compiling an album of images from the day to use on social media and as a gallery on the web site. If you have any pictures you would like to add to this album please send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Following on from the success of the marches in Inverness and Dundee, we look forward to heading to Edinburgh for the biggest march of the year. Probably the most passionately supported one to, given the uncertainties of Brexit. Combined with the arrogant and condescending tone from Westminster toward Holyrood, it is imperative we make the greatest effort to be there.
We will not only be marching to show our desire for Independence, but also in defence of our parliament. We must stand and be counted and make a statement that is heard the length and breadth of the land. Yes Ross and Sutherland are now running two busses to this event, however tickets are moving fast. There are still some available on a first come, first serve basis, so get in quick.
Tickets are available from eventbrite
MARCH FOR INDEPENDENCE- EDINBURGH
SATURDAY 6TH OCTOBER 2018
GATHERING EARLY, LEAVE 1.00PM SHARP
Johnston Terrace, George 4th Bridge, Lawn Market, High Street, Canon Gate, Queens Drive, Holyrood Park.
While the morning of Saturday the 28th broke with the sound of rain drumming on all and sundry, by the start of the YES march at 1:30pm it had cleared and the sound of drums on the streets of Inverness was literal. With pipes and chants also ringing out, fourteen thousand marchers strode out to demand their freedom from a regressive, one-sided Union that has held Scotland in contempt for its entire duration.
— Independence Live (@liveIndyScot) July 29, 2018
The All Under One Banner march rolled over the bridge and up to the High Street. Here we were treated to the sight of a tiny handful of Unionist supporters with a microphone trying vainly to be heard over the massed ranks of this unstoppable force. The engines of fifty YES bikers revving as they passed the insignificant group completely drowned out their attempt to defy our message and we left them behind without a backward glance.
Onward, the march flowed, a boiling ribbon of blue and white to challenge the Ness itself, but with many other colours also in evidence. The yellow and red of the Catalonian flag was strongly represented along with flags from many other nations. Even the St George’s Cross flew proudly, not to mention the colourful banners of the many YES groups from across our nation. Unionists and their Union in our wake we were now met only by friendly faces, waving flags and cheering their support from the roadside.
Pouring into the park at Castle Heather we gathered at the stage to hear powerful words and inspiring music. Messages of hope and inclusivity reminded us that Scotland is Big Enough, Rich Enough and Smart Enough to look after her own and to be a force for good on the world stage. Anger at Westminster injustice and disrespect confirmed that Scotland has Had Enough of a union that has left us poorer and unable to realise our true potential. Maree Todd MSP gave an excellent speech at the beginning of the rally and Steve Elwood spoke passionately and powerfully on behalf of YES Ross & Sutherland at the end of the day. Hats off to all the speakers and a big thank you to Steve who represented us so well. Thanks also to the stall team, those who donated tombola prizes and to Lorraine who baked ninety Indy cup-cakes! We made over £200 for the cause.
If Saturday’s events left you thirsty for more, see below for further opportunities to make your voice heard:
click on image above to view gallery. Thanks to Elizabeth and Peadar for images.
List of marches and other events
11th August – Protest Media Bias BBC | STV Pacific Quay, Glasgow
Provided for information only, this is a peoples demonstration by all members of society in Scotland. Could we please ask that if you are intending to attend this demo that you do not wear YES or YES ROSS SUTHERLAND t shirts etc. We don’t want this branded by the MSM as an Indy protest but rather as a Scottish peoples protest.
Be advised, this is not a YES event. Demonstrators will be challenging BBC bias, not demanding Independence for Scotland.
18th August – AUOB March in the Yes city Dundee
6th October – AUOB March in our capital city Edinburgh.
PS – The street stall in Beauly on Sat 4th Aug is cancelled.