THE SNP have released their 2021 Holyrood campaign TV ad, focusing on independence and Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic.

The ad, titled “Scotland’s future is Scotland’s choice”, stars actress Neila Stephens and puts a push for indyref2 at the centre.

In the video the young woman, who is sitting in a large darkened room, reflects on a year of the pandemic, saying the Covid-19 crisis has made us all consider what “we care about and the things we hold close”.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon to set out Covid recovery plan for Scottish NHS

“So here’s a question,” she asks. “I mean how much does the UK Government care about you? This is a government Scotland didn’t vote for, with philosophies and policies we can only abhor.”

In the background, headlines about disability benefit cuts, food poverty, austerity and tax cuts for the wealthy appear on the walls. “Where’s the care there?” she says.

Stephens goes on to discuss Brexit, the betrayal of the fishing industry, and turns to Boris Johnson’s refusal to grant a Section 30 order to hold a new Scottish independence referendum.

The actress references family, and asks how “we can get governments that care about them”, before Nicola Sturgeon appears behind her on the wall and on small TV screens around the room.

“There is only one way,” she says. “The governments that care most about Scotland will be Scottish governments, of whatever party. Elected by the people of Scotland. Governments with all the powers needed to help us recuperate, restore, and regenerate after this pandemic. These powers come only with independence. And for that we need to exercise our right to hold a referendum.”

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At the end of the ad, Stephens stands before a giant projected image of Boris Johnson’s hair and calls for Scotland to decide its own future “before somebody else chooses it for us”.

Among SNP supporters the video was welcomed. “Powerful words delivered perfectly by one of our future,” one person wrote.

“It’s upsetting all of the right people going by the replies,” added another Twitter user.

“Listen the 2015 PPB will always be my favourite for obvious reasons (Martin Compston) but this one is a very close second!” added Lauren Martin.

However, opposition parties compared the large projections of Nicola Sturgeon on the walls in the clip to George Orwell’s 1984.

Labour activist Duncan Hothersall commented: “Just watched the Sturgeon-as-Big-Brother SNP election ad. I guess they have polling which suggests people will be swayed by that sort of stuff. Yikes. But as ever I'm struck by the central grievance that "Scotland must be allowed to choose". We *were* allowed to choose. We chose!”

READ MORE: STV announce line up for leaders' debate and election coverage

The focus on a referendum in the ad comes after the Alba Party yesterday set out their route to independence. Alex Salmond’s party is only standing on the list and hopes to achieve a “supermajority” for independence.

Speaking at a live party event yesterday Salmond said the Scottish Government should start negotiations with the UK on the first day of a new parliament and create a “standing independence convention” formed of elected representatives.

Following negotiations, he argued, a referendum could be called – while legal action, “international and diplomatic initiatives” and “peaceful and popular demonstration” could also be explored.

He confirmed he would be backing the SNP in the constituency vote. “In that unity and common purpose lies our strength and our greatest opportunity to deliver independence,” he said.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond says it's in Scotland's 'national interest' to vote Alba on the list

Meanwhile, STV announced the line-up for their first leaders’ debate next week.

While Salmond had urged TV bosses to include his party following a new poll putting their support at 6%, he will be missing from the panel.

The SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, Scottish Labour’s Anas Sarwar, Scottish LibDem chief Willie Rennie and Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie will participate in the debate on April 13, which will be moderated by Colin Mackay.