A PRO-INDEPENDENCE campaign group has said more military personnel are showing support for the Yes movement.  

Yes Elgin said that since campaigning started up again following the Covid pandemic, more services personnel have been approaching their stalls voicing support for Scottish independence

Elgin, in Moray, is close by to two military bases – the Kinloss Barracks near Forres and RAF Lossiemouth. 

Speaking to The National, convener of Yes Elgin Suzanne Wright said: “We’ve noticed since we’ve started going back out that there has been more service personnel coming up to us and talking about how they are pro-independence. 

READ MORE: Stephen Gethins: ‘We can’t fall into the same trap of Brexit disinformation’

“That is something we certainly weren’t getting pre-Covid when we were regularly out, there wasn’t much interaction but people seem more confident in talking to us now. 

“There’s nothing scientific to it at the minute but it’s definitely what we’ve seen when working on the stalls.”

Wright said that service personnel is a key demographic in the area given how close they are to the two bases.

She said the group is hoping to reach out to more personnel as time goes on and hopes that an independent Scotland could offer “something different”.

“I think a lot of personnel are hopeful of a different approach to the military if Scotland was to become independent”, Wright said.

She continued: “One of the things we argue is that the role of the military would be different. 

“There is a perception about the UK military of it sometimes having been the aggressor and we want to see the Scottish armed forces as a positive force in the world, being there to help with natural disasters, helping to rebuild after situations of war and be internationalists working with other countries to support positive change.

Yes Elgin says more military personnel have been showing support for independenceYes Elgin says military personnel are more confident speaking about independence than they were in the lead up to 2014

“We will have an armed force in some form but how we view this might be very different and it will obviously depend on the politics of whatever government we have.”

Crucially, Wright says it is key that military personnel know that they will have a role to play in an independent Scotland. 

She added: “I think there’s two things. One is a shift in perception but the other is reassuring people that they are welcome and that they would have an important role to play.”

In an exclusive video released by the Sunday National, former MP Stephen Gethins spoke of how independence would help make Scotland “more secure” and discussed the significance of Scotland’s role on the international stage.  

He said: “We need to take seriously our military alliances and our responsibilities to our neighbours in terms of military hardware, but also in terms of what we provide in broader security means like energy and food and drink as well.”

Wright says Yes Elgin is hoping to promote independence closer to military homes, to speak to more families and create a more “visual campaign” in a bid to “encourage greater confidence”. 

She continued: “The people who have approached us have said they’ve been confident in saying they support independence. 

“In 2014, that engagement just wasn’t happening. What they’ve said is they’re encouraged by other military personnel switching from No to Yes and that there’s been a shift amongst their colleagues. 

“This is really the first time we’re being approached by people telling us they’re a serving member of the forces and that they are pro-independence.”