IN response to last Sunday’s article (Bannockburn clash as ex-AUOB member sets march dates, June 14). Yes2 was started on September 19, 2014, a day no independence campaigner will forget. I spent the day in disbelief and admittedly a few tears were shed. I thought it was over, then something extremely powerful happened to get me straight back into the fight, my 8-month-old son came crawling over to me, that was enough to realise he and every other kid in Scotland needed myself and all of us to continue, so that afternoon Yes2 was born in my living room, its original name that day started off as “one of the 45” but I quickly changed it to Yes2.

It was a tremendous struggle for myself initially convincing people to pick themselves up and dust this defeat off, but gradually a revitalisation began to emerge and I was extremely lucky in 2015 to have the incredible additional support of Iain Aitken and Tony McCandless. With their passion, intelligence and skills added we took the Yes2 campaign onwards and into a new phase that saw the emergence of many other local Yes2 groups.

It was with great sadness that Iain passed away, his passion was an inspiration.

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I designed and copyrighted the Yes2 logo in order to support these groups with free merchandise for distribution via their hubs and stalls and it was extremely successful, as long as the logo was used only for local groups or charities and not for any form of profit, I was delighted it was being used to forward our independence message – a model which we managed to continue to self-finance for two years. However, eventually the money ran out and we were not of the opinion that crowd-funding was appropriate for us.

Our online social media presence was increasing rapidly and we focused on the distribution of information, discussion and articles encouraging many different contributors from a wide scope of independence opinions. This policy proved incredibly successful and led to an average monthly reach in 2017/2018 of up to three million.

In 2019/20 we noticed considerable issues with the online presence, particularly Facebook where our page followers numbered 75,000 and rising, and reach was averaging between 1.3m to 2m monthly. It was in this period that the page was suspended with no reasons volunteered, then again and again which started to become a regular pattern, always with no reasons outlined by Facebook.

Many requests have been submitted for clarification, never with a response, we can only assume why however it is easy to reason that such an increasing reach of the independence message may be giving some jitters especially with such a successful format that we had developed.

In March of this year again the page was suspended, no reasons given and unfortunately it remains suspended as we try to get this lifted and back online. We hope you will continue to support us and we look forward very much to greeting you all back when we have resolved this issue.

As mentioned, we were delighted that quite a number of other Yes2 groups emerged and are still going.

As the originators we will continue to campaign and endeavour to overturn a suspension that can easily be perceived as political in nature, and we maintain our passion and status as the original Yes2 within the independence campaign.

If others wish to use this status then we hope that it is for the reason, respect and integrity that we have worked so hard to establish. We also encourage supporting all other groups in their attempts to forward the independence campaign but we do maintain a far distance from any internal struggles elsewhere that are too frequently in the press and extremely damaging to all of us when the dirty washing is aired as a gift to The Unionist cause, it can only be used as a stick to beat us over the head with in the future and we sincerely hope that these factions can come to some sort of agreement that stops damaging our campaign.

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Yes2 is still here, no-one has taken it over and no-one should feel that they have the right to. If you wish to use the logo we request only that you make a formal request, as a such a well-recognised and respected “brand” we do jealously try to protect its integrity for the benefit of the entire campaign. If the logo is used without permission we will officially request that it is rectified, so please, as a matter of courtesy and to protect our good name help us retain the hard-won position so many have contributed to.

Too much hard work has been done by too many good people in this group to allow it to be hijacked; we have been here since September 19, 2014 and will be here to party with you all on the day of our independence.

We look forward to our return and your additional support in the future.

John McHarg