TODAY I will join thousands of others in the heart of Glasgow to demand Scotland’s right to choose independence.

Another election win for the SNP will make the case for this country having the opportunity to decide its own future simply unanswerable.

And the National’s rally today is a great chance to show Westminster that Scotland’s voice will not, and cannot, be ignored.

The question people are now faced with is whether Boris Johnson or the people of Scotland themselves should control this country’s future.

And I am confident that people across the nation will answer that question in a resounding fashion on December 12 by rejecting Johnson and his increasingly extreme right-wing government.

This election is Scotland’s chance to escape Brexit and to put our future in our own hands.

As the National reported exclusively earlier this week, the election has merely reaffirmed my resolve to demand the formal transfer of power for an independence referendum from Westminster before the end of this year.

And no UK Government has the right to stand in the way of yet another democratic mandate delivered by the people of Scotland.

The SNP goes into this election taking absolutely nothing for granted. We know there are tough battles to be fought and that every single seat needs to be contested vigorously.

But we go into this campaign full of confidence and knowing that our message is one that will strike a chord in every corner of the country.

And today I make this pledge and issue this warning to whoever may be looking to form the next UK government.

When it comes to the demand for the transfer of power for a referendum that I will make before this year is out, then know this – that demand will not be made on my behalf, or that of the SNP or the Scottish Government.

It will have been instructed and mandated by the people of Scotland themselves, having given not just their consent to it, but having directed it and demanded it as their democratic will.

It will be a demand for an independence referendum from the people – and for the people.

And any would-be occupant of 10 Downing Street should know this too – if you attempt to refuse it, you would not be refusing me, the SNP or the Scottish Government, you would be refusing and denying the express democratic will of the people of Scotland.

That would be an affront to the very principles of democracy to which the UK still claims to adhere, and it would not stand.

The opening days of this election campaign have already seen major cracks appearing in Westminster’s opposition to Scotland’s right to decide its own future.

Labour’s indications that they would not seek to stand in the way of such a mandate show that they understand the reality – which is that, whatever the bluster of recent times, attempts to block Scotland’s democratic right simply cannot stand.

This election really is the most important one Scotland has faced in modern times.

So much is on the line.

We face a catastrophic Brexit which would cost jobs and do huge damage to Scotland as a nation.

We witness the spectacle of Nigel Farage trying to lay down the law to Boris Johnson, saying his price for an election pact would be an even more extreme form of Brexit.

And as if that wasn’t enough, we see Farage egged on by Donald Trump, whose administration would gladly see our NHS as being up for grabs in any post-Brexit trade deal.

Johnson. Farage. Trump. Three names that sum up the times we find ourselves living in – and three names who should provide more than enough motivation for people across Scotland to come out and make clear that their values are not our values.

George Square will be packed today as people from all backgrounds join together to demand a better future for Scotland.

For me, it will be an event tinged with nostalgia and infused with real hope. Nostalgia, because it will remind me of similar gatherings in the square in the 1990s when we demanded a Scottish Parliament. And hope, because that Parliament was indeed delivered, and I believe now more than ever that independence will similarly be achieved.

An independent Scotland is closer than it has ever been. It really is within touching distance.

What is needed now is another clear win for the SNP to bring it even closer still – so vote SNP on December 12 to secure Scotland’s right to decide.