"AND a huge thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for coming along tonight to listen to veterans explain in their own words their journey that has taken them along the road to why they think Scotland should be independent.”

With those words the first Veterans for Scottish Independence open mic night started.

So why military veterans? Why did Indylive think that we would be worthy as a newly formed group to get air time?

Well it is safe to say that the veterans, as with those still serving, are regarded by the UK Government as being devoted to the Union. It is of course a misconception but one they love to foster on every and all occasions. It is yet one more lie from an establishment whose very bedrock is built on the shifting sands of deceit and manipulation.

Since that first night in Bearsden, we veterans have gone on to talk at as many rallies as we could get mic time at. We have quite literally spoken to a few hundred outside of Holyrood to thousands upon thousands at Freedom Square (formally known as George Square). We have been interviewed on numerous occasions on radio and produced countless letters to the press. We are active on social media through our Facebook page Veterans For Scottish Independence 2.0 and our Twitter account @SoldierWhy.

The group is of course non-geographical, with our veterans spanning the length and breadth of our nation. We even have some residing in the lands of our neighbours. Every single one of us has been drawn together by our overriding desire to see Scotland as an independent, socially just nation. A nation taking its place within the worldwide family of nations.

Not one veteran that aspires to see this happen is tarnishing the names of the fallen, not one veteran that picks up their banner, their flag and joins in on the marches is breaking an oath. Not one veteran that stands in front of the crowd, mic in hand, and explains their journey of enlightenment is any less a veteran for doing so.

Every single veteran regardless of length of service, regardless of the branch they served in, did their bit. Some have left with a pension – all are left with experiences, whatever the case all have fulfilled their contract.

Being a veteran does not bind us to one political party or to one political ideology. We are free to make our own mind up as to where we put that cross on the ballot paper. After all in doing so are we not exercising that democratic process that our oath said we would protect?

As always the establishment will try to muddy the waters on pensions and support of veterans in an independent Scotland, failing of course to mention that they themselves have already farmed out the support of veterans to the devolved administrations. The much-vaunted Forces Covenant is a very hollow affair and only used by the establishment as and when they wish to tug on the heartstrings of the nation. Our pensions will be honoured and paid as before just as they are honoured and paid to our former colleagues from the Commonwealth and indeed non-Commonwealth countries.

For 313 years the establishment has had chance after chance to set the Union up as an equal partnership and for 313 years it has failed to do so.

There is now of course an optimism sweeping through our land that, thanks to the efforts of everyone at the grassroots level, we are going to succeed in our mission, that we will see Scotland an independent socially just nation. To that end I would like to call upon all military veterans of an independent mind to dust off your headdress, shine up your cap badge, grab your banners and your flags so that once this lockdown is finished we reclaim the streets in the name of Scotland, her children and democracy.