WITHOUT any doubt, the Yes movement has suffered severely during the coronavirus pandemic as there is only so much campaigning that can be done via Zoom or social media.

What has been most sorely missed is the “feet on the ground” of the independence marches and rallies. There are those who decry them as protests without actually converting people to the cause, but they are extremely useful in maintaining morale and building links between groups and individuals.

One of the key figures in the success of the All Under One Banner marches was Mandip “Manny” Singh, 41, who has since split from AUOB and been instrumental in setting up the Scottish Independence Movement.

Yesterday Singh was jailed for 72 days at Glasgow Sheriff Court after he pleaded guilty to the offence of holding an AUOB procession in May last year that was not in accordance with the conditions imposed by the SNP-led Glasgow City Council.

READ MORE: Independence march organiser jailed for 72 days over Glasgow event

Singh was the named organiser of the march for AUOB but any of their executive could have had that role – and indeed Gary Kelly, who has also left AUOB for Yes2indee, is also facing court action as he was the named organiser for the Aberdeen march.

Singh, Kelly, Neil Mackay and the other members of AUOB all knew the risks they took over the years. At some point the organisation was going to attract police and political attention simply because it was so successful.

That’s why The National today sounds a warning to the entire Yes movement – we are all under scrutiny now, and it’s time to realise that action will be taken against any group that does not comply fully with the law as it stands.

Now the law might be an ass, not least because there has never been any serious trouble at any independence march, even with the few Unionists who peddle their nonsense at each one and who are allowed to insult and offend with impunity.

But the law is the law, and Unionists will be only too happy to make hay with Yessers breaking laws, so let us make sure we are legally invulnerable in future.

That being said, the jailing of Singh is grossly unfair and entirely disproportionate to the offence committed under the Civic Government Act. Sheriff Paul Brown ordered that Singh be under curfew for 72 days from 6pm to 6am.

Singh is a taxi driver who works nights. How could he accept such a curfew? So the alternative of 72 days imprisonment was imposed.

He is a most unlikely martyr for the cause, but as far as we know, Manny Singh has become the first person to be jailed for organising a pro-independence march. No-one was hurt or arrested at the march in question. Perhaps the prosecutors and sheriff should have taken that into account.