OUR Wee Ginger Dug columnist Paul Kavanagh has been invited to speak at the SNP’s independence convention in a bid to reach "out to the wider Yes movement". 

Kavanagh, who has written for The National since day one, told us SNP depute leader Keith Brown invited him to speak at a panel at the event – understood to include other Yessers who are not members of the party.

He said: “I was very happy to be asked because I thought it was a sign that the SNP was reaching out to the wider Yes movement.”

His blog, and later his column for this paper, were named for his late dog.

READ MORE: SNP MPs in the dark on Independence Convention plans

The Yes movement has issued frequent calls to the SNP to make room for other voices and the inclusion of non-SNP members at the convention on June 24 will go some way to addressing these concerns.

Details around the format of the event remain vague. It is thought the party leadership will set out their preferred strategy towards achieving independence.

Given the announcement from Brown earlier in the week that the convention would not see members take a definitive decision on the issue, it appears unlikely the convention will see the SNP vote on proposals.

Joanna Cherry, the SNP MP for Edinburgh South West, pointed out in her column on Friday that only the party’s conference has the ability within SNP internal rules to decide its policy.

There remains discontent among some members that the convention will only be a chance to discuss options rather than decide a course of action.

Marking two weeks before the event – which takes place in Dundee’s Caird Hall – kicks off, Brown said that Westminster was stopping Scotland from “reaching its full potential”.

He said: "Our country and people have everything it takes to be a hugely successful nation but, because of successive Tory Westminster governments – that people here don’t vote for -  Scotland is being stopped from reaching its full potential.

READ MORE: Ash Regan calls for SNP independence convention to be 'opened up' to Yes movement

"We have vast natural and renewable energy resources, an educated and skilled workforce and we are renowned for our invention and innovation - there should be nothing stopping us from thriving like other independent countries like Ireland, Denmark and Norway.

"So, the question is, what do these other countries have that Scotland does not? They have the full powers that normal independent countries enjoy which allows them to take the decisions that work best for their people.

"These successful countries do not have to endure Tory governments they don't vote for, making decisions that ignore their interests - like Brexit, which is hitting living standards hard and adding to food price rises. With Labour now standing shoulder to shoulder once again with the Tories on Brexit, Westminster is unquestionably the biggest threat to Scotland's progress.

"Independent countries that are like Scotland are wealthier and fairer than the UK. Scotland can be too. Independence is the only way to ensure all the levers of powers to harness our potential and put Scotland’s best interests first are put in Scotland's hands.”

Commenting SNP Depute Leader, Keith Brown said: "The scale, activity and diversity of the independence movement is one of our great strengths.

"The SNP, as Scotland's largest political party and leading force within the movement, will always seek to work constructively with others to progress forward on our journey to securing independence for Scotland and look forward to hosting a panel of exciting guests from the wider movement at our Convention on Independence."