THE decision by the House of Commons to go for an election in the second week of December landed very luckily for the Edinburgh Yes Hub, organisers of tonight’s pro-independence Scotland Moving Forward event at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh. From being an event aimed at rallying the Yes movement in and around Edinburgh, Scotland Moving Forward has suddenly been thrust to the front and centre of Scottish politics.

The election call has made it suddenly much more interesting, not least because SNP depute leader Keith Brown will be the first keynote speaker at the event for which tickets are still available from the Queen’s Hall box office.

Although First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will undoubtedly give a major speech at a press conference today, Brown will be the first member of the SNP to deliver a planned address at the start of the election campaign, which The National can reveal is set for national and international media coverage.

Having issued just four press passes for the event before yesterday, the number distributed by organiser Mike Blackshaw has shot up to 19. Ticket sales to the public also soared and the venue is filling up nicely for an event which also features National columnists Lesley Riddoch and Paul Kavanagh, who will be accompanied as always by the Wee Ginger Dug.

Colin Fox of the Scottish Socialist Party and Lorna Slater, co-leader of the Scottish Greens complete the line-up of speakers, each making an address before the final question-and-answer session. Entertainment will also be provided by singer-songwriter Amanda Brown and folk music duo Johnston and Gordon.

Blackshaw told The National: “When we put the event at the Queen’s Hall together we did so because it was it was the day before Brexit. It now surely is the start of a very important election campaign. We expect a lot of supporters will see it that way and those who have not bought a ticket will be doing so.

“This event has now created enthusiasm within the press and we stand at 19 press passes plus a German TV film crew.

“We have sold over 300 tickets but with this new slant on the event we expect it to be closer to 500. The hall will be buzzing and to be honest so am I. I know some people cannot afford the ticket price, so I will buy you a ticket should you wish to go. What is money when I can smell independence? We have also made all under-18s free, as this is their world, it is their future.

“Doors open at 6pm and the event starts at 7pm with an introduction from Lorna Slater followed by Keith Brown, Colin Fox, and some music. After the interval, we’ll hear from Lorna Slater, Paul Kavanagh and Lesley Riddoch followed by a question-and-answer session.”