BORIS Johnson’s visit to Orkney to promote the Union has merely underlined that the tide has turned in favour of the Yes side.

That’s according to one of the organisers of protests to mark the Prime Minister’s arrival.

Robert Leslie, a Yes Orkney member since 2012, says his organisation was joined by local SNP branch members, Orkney Oot Wae Racism and NHS campaigners for the demonstrations.

An estimated 200 people are thought to have joined in, with socially-distanced protests planned along the Prime Minister’s route from Kirkwall to Stromness.

“On a grey and misty day on Orkney in late July, it was great to see so many folk turning out,” Leslie said.

READ MORE: Yes groups out in force for Boris Johnson's visit to Orkney

He told The National that Orcadians have seen through Boris Johnson’s “desperate dash” to Scotland in a bid to save the Union.

The Yesser explained: “We just wanted to get out there today to let him know we’ve got a different view up here and know where the Union is going.

“There were a lot of folk there today that have a lot of respect for the way the Scottish Government, headed by Nicola Sturgeon, have handled things during the pandemic and I think a lot of the issues that have arisen during this time have shown what Scotland’s relationship with Westminster is like – the financial relationship and the lack of powers we have to deal with certain things. That’s probably had a huge bearing on the way that folk are feeling at the moment.”

READ MORE: Former deputy FM shares Orkney's hilarious welcome to Boris Johnson

Leslie, who seen support for independence “steadily climb” since the 2014 referendum, says the pandemic has been the final straw for Unionists, young and old, in the region.

“Over the last few months, the way that things have gone, I’ve had a quite a few messages – and my daughters in their early 20s have been the same – from friends saying ‘I can see why we’re needing independence now’.

“These are folk that would never have voted for it even a couple years ago probably. There’s a definite shift.”

He added: “There were people that were standing out there today that in 2014 would never have shown their face. But there’s a new willingness to engage in the political process that I’ve not seen past – that’s what we saw today.”