A NATIONAL Yes group is to be launched in the New Year to pave the way for Scottish independence.

It is being formed by All Under One Banner (AUOB) who will firm-up plans for the organisation at their next assembly which will be addressed by the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford and other major figures in the indy movement.

It is the second assembly to be held by AUOB and this time is being taken online, building on the foundations of the first held before lockdown.

Aimed at the grassroots of the independence movement, the online assembly will “discuss the how and the why of a national membership organisation and agree a plan of action”.

AUOB national co-ordinator Neil Mackay said: “We invite representatives of Yes groups and campaign organisations, as well as individual activists, to debate and discuss the next steps to escalate and intensify the campaign to forge a referendum and restore Scotland’s independence.

“AUOB believes in building the maximum unity of purpose, action and urgency across the movement to take full advantage of the momentum and enthusiasm for independence.”

Mackay said the assembly on November 14 will provide a platform to co-ordinate efforts and improve organisation.

“This is to achieve two things – the continued impact of the exciting events organised by AUOB and to help the wider Yes movement with plans to organise and develop. We will discuss the how and the why of a national membership organisation and agree a plan of action,” he said.

Along with Blackford, speakers at the event will include Kenny ­MacAskill, leading Yes campaigners Charlotte Ahmed and Robin McAlpine and National columnists George Kerevan and Lesley Riddoch.

The event is aimed at being a welcome space for activists to share strategy and tactics to win independence.

“The movement is at a crossroads and AUOB hopes this will make an important contribution to strengthening the movement by developing bold and ambitious plans to secure the next referendum and then win the arguments in favour of independence,” said Mackay.

AUOB’s Assembly will be hosted online and will provide a virtual venue with multiple interactive areas optimised for connecting and engaging. There will also be question sessions, workshops and plenty of space to network.

AUOB organiser Keir McKechnie explained: “This will rev up the independence campaign. Workshops for the first part of the day will include strategies for winning independence, becoming the media to confront project fear 2, building alliances and campaigning through Covid.”

Charlotte Ahmed said the campaign is at a crucial point as Tory austerity and coronavirus were creating an economic crisis not seen for decades. “We need to make sure our campaign unites all those suffering the effects of recession and fighting against oppression,” she said. “AUOB can do this in the next few months and draw new people into the campaign to shape a future Scotland we want and deserve.”

Riddoch said she had been impressed by AUOB’s adaptability and persistence.

“All Under One Banner has developed enormously in the last year, with training events, Zoom calls and online ceilidhs as well as the brilliantly organised mass marches for which they’ve become famous,” she said.

“Obviously the lockdown has changed the public dimension of street politics completely but AUOB has adapted at light speed to produce small, socially distanced demonstrations instead. These have been organised with warmth, friendliness and military precision to reassure police, participants and bystanders.

“I’ve been incredibly impressed by AUOB’s adaptability and persistence – they are perhaps the best organised national grassroots Indy organisation on the go today and I’ll certainly be tuning into Assembly and I’m delighted to be part of it.”

Kerevan pointed out that the cause of Scottish independence had always been a movement from below rather than a parliamentary affair.

“When the First Minister abruptly cancelled the SNP’s doorstep campaign for a second referendum after the 2017 General Election, it was AUOB which spontaneously resurrected the movement,” he said.

“Hundreds of thousands answered the call by AUOB to march. That march by ordinary Scots themselves will continue until independence is reached, with or without the political elite.”

To participate, representatives of groups and individuals can register at: auob.org/assemblyregistration