NOW Scotland is set to become the first national membership organisation of the Yes Movement this weekend.

Some say it should have happened years ago, but The National can reveal that the group – whose logo, right, has been printed here for the first time – will formally launch at the weekend when its website goes live.

Now Scotland is not setting any membership targets, but is determined to build quickly and well to carry forward the independence campaign.

The hope is to have a sizeable membership able willing and ready to campaign from this weekend until independence is gained.

Using software called NationBuilder, which was funded by a grant from the Scottish Independence Foundation, Now Scotland aims to build up from the grassroots rather than be a top-down organisation.

NationBuilder was the software used by the SNP prior to winning outright the 2011 Holyrood election.

It was also successfully used by French president Emanuel Macron to build his En Marche movement.

Open to everyone who supports independence for Scotland, the new grouping is not a political party and says it has no intention of becoming so.

Instead, it will act as a non-party forum, bringing pro-independence groups and individuals together.

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Modelled on the Catalan National Assembly, Now Scotland has grown out of a series of assemblies held last year, which elected a 15-strong steering committee to get the organisation up and running.

The eight women and seven men on the steering committee have done so in record time. National columnist and former MP George Kerevan was elected as co-convener, along with well-known activist Gillian Mair from Glasgow.

Asked why the group went for the name Now Scotland, Mair said: “Our name is the clarion call for political urgency.”

The only serving politician on the committee is Angus MacNeil, the SNP MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar since 2005.

Former diplomat Craig Murray is also a member.

The initiative to set up the assemblies was led by All Under One Banner (AUOB), the organisation which put together the main marches and rallies for independence all over Scotland for the past seven years.

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Andrew Wilson, Neil Mackay, Keir McKechnie and Carol McNamara of AUOB are members of the committee, along with Dr Ian Grant of the Scottish Independence Foundation.

The remainder are all well-known activists in their areas, such as Lyn Middleton, an English-born New Scot who lives in the Scottish Borders and is an enthusiastic member of Yes Linton.

Mairianna Clyde, a historian and community councillor, Suzanne Blackley, host of a pro-indy show on webcomradio, Glasgow teacher Charlotte Ahmed, German-born Kim Dams and Linda McCorrison make up the rest of the committee.

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The new national membership organisation has been given a warm welcome by National columnist and independence campaigner Lesley Riddoch, who has pledged to be one of the first members.

She said: “The bold decision to organise an all-party/no party grassroots Yes movement from scratch is a beautiful and precious thing.

“It’s the start of ‘ordinary Scots’ exercising agency to end generations of exclusion from the formal political process. I’m not much of a joiner – but I’ll be joining on day one.

“The Yes campaign has had an over-reliance on political parties. Essential as they are, the creation of Now Scotland is a very welcome and long overdue counterbalance.”

Several people have already taken to social media to welcome Now Scotland. There have also been Unionists attempting to denigrate the organisation before it has even started – a sure sign they are worried.

Mackay explained the genesis of Now Scotland: “We held our first assembly last February in a church hall in Glasgow and we got about 60 people from across the Yes movement who gathered to discuss tactics and strategy for the way forward.

“With all the marches being postponed because of the pandemic, our minds turned again towards strategy.

“That’s why we called a two-part online assembly in November, which led to the election of the interim national committee.

“It was all done democratically, a movement of the people by the people.

“We are ready to go on Friday, which just happens to be the anniversary of the passing of the Aliens Act by the English Parliament in 1705, a key moment in the run-up to the Union of 1707.

“We are now in the final days of that Union, and we are hoping that as many people as possible from across the Yes movement will join up and participate in what is a genuinely democratic grassroots movement.

“All our eyes are on the first major event after this weekend’s launch, which will be our assembly on March 6. That will be a crucial event for us going forward.”