YRS Comment

AUOB Yes Independence March, Oban 16 June 2019

AUOB Yes Independence March, Oban 16 June 2019

Oban became the Road to the Referendum for the day; and the Isles confidently stepped out onto that road. A large banner for Yes Mull and Iona was held aloft just behind our own contingent as we passed through the town: us, and seven thousand others, in a tremendous display for a place of the size of Oban. Equally impressive was the welcome from the townsfolk and tourists watching along the route, on the roadside or from the windows above. Not just watching, but mostly smiling, with many holding up indy posters or waving small Saltires distributed for this All Under One Banner march.

It is not just the venue that was a first for the indy marches. It is also the first time that Yes Ross Sutherland has sent a self-drive minibus of marchers. Previously we have had a coach or two, but Oban was one of a number of smaller marches run this year for which such a level of engagement was sadly not justifiable. But thanks to the drive, and the driving, of Richard Scott of the Yes Strathpeffer team, a mix of Yessers from Sutherland, Ross-shire and Inverness, including local members of Saor Alba Pipes and Drums, headed off for the day.

It was also an indy march first in other ways. Presumably because Oban is a road bottleneck along the Argyll coast, the march was kept to one side of the road to allow cars to travel in the opposite direction, separated from the marchers and many indy dogs by no more than the white lines. And perhaps not unrelated, there was a larger police presence than at the other local marches. Not that they had any work to do, and as ever they seemed to be relaxed about the occasion. But full marks go to the woman beside us who made a point of having a quick cheerful word with the officers stationed along the route, leaving each with a smile or a laugh.

Probably a further first was the appearance of Yes yachts, with at least two spotted in the harbour in front of the town sporting Yes Saltires in their rigging. But possibly the most memorable first of this march was that we all got a good soaking. Aye, there have been short, sudden showers before, in Glasgow a couple of years back and in Inverness last year. But those were once folk had reached the destination field, and were free to hurriedly volunteer to help on the many gazebo stalls. In Oban, showers are made of sterner stuff, and hit early and hit long. Nevertheless, Yessers are themselves hardy – though far from stern – and the summer rain only served to add that special something to the day. And as if to apologise, the clouds parted before the suns rays just in time for the turn of Saor Alba to take the limelight once we had finally reached the shinty ground.

Indeed, the journey home was a particularly stunning one, with the late sun bringing out the best of the hill and water vistas, and of the fresh lilac expanses of foxglove-covered slopes and rhody-infested woods. Infested, because though colourful, rhododendron is an intrusive menace, choking out diversity. So too are the inevitable cluster of loyalist youngsters grouped round that feature of all indy marches, arch-unionist McConnachie and his microphone. Makes you wonder what they seek to achieve; hardly encouragement, as a tiny band massively outnumbered, the subject of bemusement and photographs by the passing Yessers, and of disdain, surely, from bystanders.

Not that this is the only regular unionist input to the indy marches. Much more concerning is the emerging pattern of last-minute bureaucratic challenges to the well-laid and publicised march plans from within corners of officialdom in public bodies, in this case Argyll & Bute Council, whether acting independently or by prompt. But an equally proven pattern is the resolve of AUOB, backed by the Yes grassroots, to face down these spurious challenges. With such resolve, we can but win through to independence. (Though a penny or two to the AUOB crowdfunding wouldn’t do any harm, of course.)

See full image gallery here

Fascinating Aïda’s post-Brexit song

Fascinating Aïda’s post-Brexit song

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 Day of Action January 2019

YRS Day of Action January 2019

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.

2019: Could this be the year of independence?

2019: Could this be the year of independence?

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!

The Gathering #2

The Gathering #2

The Gathering #1

The first Gathering was held in May this year and it saw the coming together of many hundreds of Indy campaigners, representing YES groups from all over the country. On the 24th of November it happened all over again. Organisers, National Yes Registry (NYR), named this Gathering Independence Reframed & Evaluating the Growth Commission, but unofficially called it How We Win!

It was a very early start for attendees from the Highlands, with many of us taking advantage of the minibus arranged by Yes Ross & Sutherland. Spirits were high as we gathered and set off from Tore at 5:30am, driving through darkness and thick fog to arrive in good time for the 9:30am start in the Albert Halls, Stirling.

Keith Brown, deputy leader of the SNP, was asked to open the event with an address about the recently published Sustainable Growth Commission (SGC) report, in which he acknowledged the concerns that many have voiced over the currency section. He also applauded NYR for opening discussion of the report to such a wide audience, and told us that this would be the biggest consultation on the report outside of the SNP.

Jim Mather, former Scottish Government minister addresses Gathering #2

Following Keith, Jim Mather, former Scottish Government minister and member of the SGC spoke of the aspirations of the report: good financial management and optimising all of Scotland’s potential. His hope for the future of Scottish politics is that parties will work together for the national interest in a partnership rather than competing to score political points with voters. He emphasised that the SGC report is not a finished article, but merely a starting point for the conversation on Scotland’s future, and saw that conversation as presenting a fun and exciting challenge.

Now it was time to get down to business, so Eddie and Jason, founders of NYR, introduced us to the new version of the IndyApp (available at https://nationalyesregistry.scot). The app has been extensively developed since its first launch, with an improved interface and additional functionality. Using IndyApp 2.0, YES groups all over the country can communicate with each other, share ideas and work collaboratively on projects. The main aim of the day was to begin a conversation on a variety of topics relating to an independent Scotland. These conversations will inform our campaign to convince the population and also bring together the grassroots contribution to submissions on the SGC report. The IndyApp will allow any member of a YES group to provide input on any of the topics.

Having previously been assigned table numbers at random, delegates were then set to work in small groups on one of 17 topics. Groups looked at subjects from currency, tax and pensions in an independent Scotland to how we can organise and share resources as a grassroots movement. We were also asked to share the values that we felt were most important to bear in mind during the campaign and to guide Scotland after independence has been achieved.

Bill Mills and June Maxwell address the Gathering

Group work continued until we broke for lunch and, while we ate, Bill Mills and June Maxwell spoke to us about Reframing the Narrative. Their work has focussed on the psychology behind framing (spinning a story to create a certain perspective) which is the basis of propaganda and reframing which combats this. We learned that people are mostly unaware of the frames that shape their views and that we are quite susceptible to repeating and strengthening the frames of others, even when we vehemently disagree with them. If we deny, for example, that Scotland is too poor to go it alone, we actually reinforce that belief in the minds of those who currently think that way. It is also the case that a solid fact will not, by itself, change someone’s frame – the fact will simply be denied and the frame reinforced. Bill and June explained that the best way to change someone’s frame is to speak to them face to face and build a rapport. Sometimes it’s better not to discuss independence at all, as it is more important to leave someone with a good impression of an Indy supporter than to challenge their attitude to the topic itself. In future, that person may well be more inclined to ask questions and listen to answers about independence; but that comes from them and there’s no way that even the best, most well-reasoned argument will change their mind until they are ready.

Armed with this new information about reframing we returned to our groups to continue our discussions. Each team worked hard to prepare a brief presentation to deliver at the end of the conference so that all could hear about their deliberations. The groups also populated a short form that would provide a starting point for those wishing to continue the work on these areas using the IndyApp.

The Yes Highland group at the end of the day.

The presentations themselves were entertaining and diverse, perhaps not polished, but that was to be expected in the limited time that was available to prepare. They were all interesting and informative, emphasising that, with independence, there is so much we could change to make our country better. The audience were inspired to learn from the Resources group that Scotland outcompetes the UK in many areas including maritime resources, food and drink exports and top universities, while boasting 25% of the wind and tide energy potential for the whole of the EU. We were shocked to find out from the Welfare group that 20,000 people have died within three months of being “deemed fit for work” and losing their benefits. This group advocated a citizen’s income as a means of preventing those worst off in society from falling through the cracks. Yes Cumbernauld amused us with their Scottish rhyming slang title of “numb and cauld”, and the presentations finished with the emotional story of Jim from the Scottish Health Service group who had battled cancer, here in Scotland, and had survived with the help of nurses, doctors, consultants and surgeons from all over the world.

The work done on these topics did not end there, rather, it was only beginning. The groups are already set up on the IndyApp and receiving members to take these discussions forward.

Albert Halls, Stirling

It was a tired crew that left Stirling that Saturday night to begin the long drive north to the Highlands. A huge thank you is in order for Ian who drove the minibus and saw us all safely back to our homes. Tired we may have been but, that day, we had all seen that the promise of a better Scotland is alive and well. That there are many out there who share our vision and when we work together we have the power to make that vision a reality.

AUOB Edinburgh March

AUOB Edinburgh March


It’s official, independence will bring blue skies and glorious sunshine to Scotland!

The sun was beating down on us as we massed below the castle, and it was easy to believe that greater forces were aligning themselves with our cause. The Yes Ross & Sutherland banners flew proudly in a light breeze as we stood amongst our countryfolk, awaiting the 1pm start. Johnston Terrace was crammed full. We were packed in between the castle cliff on one side and the steep drop to the Grassmarket on the other, while a look forward or back showed only more of the same until the road bent out of sight in either direction

1pm came and went. Word arrived that the march was underway and we prepared ourselves, excitement building. Standing next to us, a small band of three small pipe bagpipers and a drummer added great music to an already fantastic atmosphere. The fact that we didn’t even begin to move until it was nearly 2 o’clock didn’t faze anyone, and each slight shuffle forward was greeted with cheers. Shortly after 2 we heard that the front of the march had already reached Holyrood Park and around 2:30pm we crested the rise and stepped onto the High Street. It was simply sheer weight of numbers that had held us up, with many thousands of marchers having to set off before we could arrive below the gates of the castle.

In front, as we set off down the Royal Mile, the march stretched away as far as the eye could see and the sound of pipes, drums and chants for independence echoed from the tenement walls to either side. As always, the Saltire was ubiquitous among marchers and watchers on the sidelines alike, while flags from many other nations flew in our midst. England, Wales, Ireland, Catalonia, Germany, Canada and Australia to name only a few. Street performer Yoda had a Saltire, as did the statue of Robert Fergusson on the Canongate. Someone wearing a huge papier-mâché Theresa May head held a sign saying “Don’t Dance with the Devil”. The atmosphere was incredible! A sense of hope and confidence pervaded all, and there was a smile on every face. Even the police were clearly enjoying themselves.

At some stage we passed the inevitable pathetic handful of Unionists. Barely a dozen of the misguided individuals had shown up. Nobody cared. And no-one could hear what they had to say anyway. We left them quickly behind, our chants drowning out their feeble protest. They don’t see it yet, but it’s a good thing for them that we’ll win our independence in spite of their efforts.

Voices hoarse, we approached Holyrood. Now it was the turn of the bairns to lead the chanting, and they went to it with a will. As soon as one chant ended, a child would yell out, “What do we want?” and it would begin again. At last we burst out of the Canongate, exploding onto the square in front of the Parliament to be greeted by the sight of Salisbury Crags, bathed in sunlight and festooned with flags. On reaching the park, many marchers had climbed the hills to enjoy the spectacle and the glorious weather. In the distance, to the east, a large crowd had gathered at the stage to hear the speeches and listen to the bands. Many others chose to find a spot in the sun and buy an ice-cream from the van, watch the comedy croquet team or check out the massed ranks of bikers who had made their way along a different route.

Marchers continued to pour into the park for a good half an hour after we arrived, and we were to learn later that the estimated total number was 100,000! A truly astonishing figure. And they say in Westminster, “There’s no appetite for independence”. Well we saw on that Saturday that there is more than appetite, there is a gnawing hunger and a raging thirst for Independence that will never be satisfied by meaningless platitudes like, “Now’s not the time”. While Theresa May dances, the rich receive their tax cuts and the poor go to food banks. David Cameron’s money sits safe in his Panama account and the NHS crumbles. The UK, shackled to May, lurches towards a Brexit catastrophe as she prances. Across Europe and the World we see right-wing politics taking root as Project Fear sows division. Now most certainly is the time. Time for Scotland to stand up. Time for Scotland to have a voice on the world stage. Saturday’s march gives us all hope for the kind of nation we could be. If one hundred thousand can come together and demonstrate with passion but peacefully, forcefully but friendly, proudly but inclusively then perhaps the world – and the rest of Scotland – needs to hear what we have to say.

And so, having given us its blessing and gracing us for the whole event, the sun finally set on what was truly a momentous day. In the days and weeks to come we will be free to say, quite literally, “Vote Yes for a brighter future”.



See our favourite pictures from the day, visit the gallery


We don’t know who to attribute this to, and hope they don’t mind us posting but it is brilliant and would be a real shame not to be seen and heard by all.


Send in your photo’s

Send in your photo’s

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 contact@yrs.scot

AUOB March Edinburgh

AUOB March Edinburgh

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

AUOB facebook page for the event





Johnston Terrace, George 4th Bridge, Lawn Market, High Street, Canon Gate, Queens Drive, Holyrood Park.