A YOUNG LibDem member who used to be a “hard-line Unionist” has launched an independence campaign group after becoming “frustrated” with the party’s stance on the issue.

Cameron Greer and fellow member Jake Stevenson have started up Scottish Liberals For Indy, which they hope will give the LibDems a voice within the Yes movement ahead of a planned referendum next October.

The pair are planning to apply for the group – which is not currently affiliated with the LibDems officially – to become an associated organisation of the party after receiving an unexpected wave of support since it was launched on social media on Monday. 

The National: Scottish LibDem leader Alex Cole-HamiltonScottish LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton (Image: PA)

Campaigners hope to influence party policy

Greer, 17, hopes the group can persuade the leaders to adopt a more neutral stance on independence and vow never to join a Unionist campaign group – like Better Together – in the event of a second referendum. 

Greer joined the LibDems in lockdown and, like the vast majority of members, he was pro-UK. But as he watched how Westminster was running the UK throughout the pandemic, his mind shifted as he realised Scotland needed a new path. 

“I was a very hard Unionist for quite a while, but then I started researching more about independence and eventually I thought the situation is so bad in Westminster, how can independence be worse than how the UK is being run?” said Greer.

In adopting his new views, Greer confessed he felt initially isolated within the party, thinking he was the only one who could feel affectionate about Scottish independence in a federalist, Unionist organisation.

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"There were actually a lot of us"

But he soon discovered he was not alone and there were even conveners of local LibDem parties that supported self-determination for Scotland.

Now he wants to be able to bring all these voices together and ensure the party can have its say on what an independent Scotland should look like.

Greer told The National: “I didn’t know any other LibDems who were independence supporters and I didn’t think there were any.

“That made me feel isolated, but I messaged someone within the party who I was quite good friends with who said there were actually a lot of us. We’ve got a few conveners of local parties who are independence-supporting, I think. 

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“So when I found Jake [Stevenson] on Monday, I said we need to set up a group to bring all of us together so we don’t feel isolated.

“We are quite a small minority because it’s a Unionist party, but we are here. I think there should be a group within the party to give us a voice in the Yes movement so we don’t have to individually campaign for it.”

The group has already attracted almost 1000 followers on Twitter in less than 48 hours, with even LibDems from England offering their support. 

Greer, from Langholm in the traditionally-Tory Scottish Borders, admitted he has become frustrated with the Scottish LibDem leadership’s opposition to another referendum. 

No more Better Together

Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton earlier this month vowed to fight “tooth and nail” to stop indyref2 and did not rule out teaming up with other pro-Union parties in this mission.

But Greer is hoping if Scottish Liberals for Indy is accepted by the party, it will be able to persuade the leadership to adopt a neutral standpoint, allowing members the space to campaign for whichever side they wish. 

He also insisted the party should not join a Better Together-style campaign again.

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“I think everyone gets to that point within their own party where they feel a bit frustrated and I have felt frustrated, but it’s part and parcel of being in a party,” added Greer.

“There’s always going to be different opinions and you’re not always going to agree with the leadership and that’s healthy. We’re still establishing our aims and policies but what we’re probably going to campaign for is a neutral stance on independence from the party as opposed to a pro-independence one so people can choose what they campaign for.”

A spokesman for the Scottish LibDems said: “This Twitter account is not affiliated with the Scottish Liberal Democrats. We do not support the break-up of the UK.”