WITH more and more people telling us that they wish to attend, The National’s rally for independence will have a very special dug who emigrated from Spain to the dear green place on the same stage as Nicola Sturgeon.

The First Minister will speak to an independence rally for the first time since 2014 when she speaks at our event at George Square in the heart of Glasgow next Saturday afternoon.

Sturgeon said last week: “I’m really looking forward to speaking at the #indyref2020 rally in George Square – and I hope people from all over the country will come together and make Scotland’s voice heard.”

READ MORE: The National is hosting an indyref2 rally – and Nicola Sturgeon is speaking

Details of more speakers and entertainers for #indyref2020: The National’s Rally for Independence will be announced over the coming days, but we can assure you of a top-notch line-up who we hope will energise the Yes movement at a time when indyref2 is on the horizon.

Confirmed to take part is the Wee Ginger Dug who is the four-legged star of the Yes movement, but it truth it is the oratory and written contribution of his owner Paul Kavanagh which has come to the fore.

A renowned blogger before he became a National columnist, Kavanagh brings a distinctive voice to the Yes movement, arguing with passion and humour for independence and an inclusive, progressive Scotland.

Sunday National editor Richard Walker said: “Paul has been travelling the length and breadth of the country both solo and as part of The National roadshow, talking about the benefits of independence and cementing links with the grassroots.

“Although the SNP will play a major role in calling and winning #indyref2020 we’re very keen that those hundreds of local activists working all over Scotland for a better future are also represented at our rally and can’t think of anyone who has worked harder to earn the right to do so than Paul and, of course, the Wee Ginger Dug. We’re delighted he has agreed to join the bill.”

Kavanagh added: “It is vitally important that we use this event to send a message to Boris Johnson that the people of Scotland will not be silenced and will not be shut into the shortbread tin.

“Scotland says yes to Europe and no to Westminster. Our future is as an independent nation and a part of the European family. We reject the backwards-looking empire nostalgia of the British state.”

The National’s rally is entirely separate from the first march by the Scottish Independence Movement set for Glasgow next Saturday, but its organiser Manny Singh has pointed out that the march’s original start time of 1pm at Kelvin Way has been altered to 11.30am, with the march dispersing close to George Square.

Singh said: “We knew that there would be people wishing to attend both events so it was appropriate for us to have an earlier start.”

It was revealed in the weekend’s Sunday National that Janey Godley will also be on the stage in George Square.

READ MORE: The National rally: Janey Godley confirmed to join line-up

One of Scotland’s finest comedic talents who is renowned for her biting satire against many targets, Janey is not just a comedienne, but also playwright, blogger and best-selling author who is well-known as a proud supporter of independence.

She said: “I’m so excited to be part of this iconic day which will strengthen the bonds and show willingness to listen and to share our hope for the future.”

The National has been made aware of several Yes groups who are organising transport to the rally on Saturday. For example, Tweeddale Branch of the SNP are organising bus travel.

If you have transport to Glasgow and have seats on board that you are looking to fill, please e-mail details to community@thenational.scot.