WE were disappointed to read The National’s story on Friday (AFI’s ‘invite to unite’ snubbed by parties, October 9), not least for its very negative portrayal of a move that many people believe could serve to unite the indy movement and give us a rock-solid majority for independence at Holyrood next year.

To say the leaders of three other parties had dismissed an offer to talk with Action for Independence was disingenuous to say the least, given that the letters to the other leaders were only sent out on Thursday. AFI has repeatedly said it is not a party but an “umbrella” group, or alliance of parties, Yes groups and individuals with one common aim – independence. The only policy position we take is over independence, and candidates standing under our umbrella can take their own party or personal position on any other policies.

READ MORE: Action for Independence’s ‘invite to unite’ snubbed by political parties

To suggest that AFI will be choosing candidates for other parties – in remarks attributed to Colette Walker from the ISP – is simply wrong. We have said on many occasions that parties aligning with us will choose their own candidates. All of the quotes from other parties in the article are recycled, from weeks or even months ago, and were not responses to our letters, as Andrew Learmonth seems to imply.

Such sloppy journalism suggests to us that The National is perhaps too much in the pocket of the SNP to see what is going on outside of the party bubble. Many independence supporters, both inside the SNP and in the broader Yes movement, have expressed varying degrees of frustration that the party has ignored repeated mandates to progress independence, and AFI is attempting to bring them all together to #MaxTheYes and make next year’s Holyrood election THE independence election.

Derek Stewart Macpherson
Communications Officer, Action for Independence

Note: The Greens, ISP and the SSP were approached on Thursday night and asked for a response to AFI's letter. They all told us they would be rejecting the invitation to meet.