IT is because we need the full powers of independence to recover from Covid and safeguard public health and the economy that we need action to secure independence now.

The Scottish Parliament has a clear mandate for independence but the First Minister has put it on ice until after Covid.

This is not acceptable to the majority of voters who supported pro-independence parties and cannot be allowed to continue.

That is why an Independence Strategy and co-ordination of effort is now required if we are to deliver the referendum we seek and the independence we need.

The Yes movement outwith Parliament needs to come together. The failure to provide political leadership is creating a political vacuum – one that the Unionists are already filling with plans and preparations to thwart the independence cause.

READ MORE: Alba MP calls for emergency ‘Yes summit’ to add urgency to indy push

This failure to provide political leadership makes extra parliamentary action essential.

With lockdown easing, Yes groups and the wider movement need to come together to co-ordinate a strategy. The Now Scotland demo last week at which I was pleased to speak at and the All Under One Banner (AUOB) event on Saturday show that the appetite for action and the vitality is there. It is strategy and co-ordination that is now required.

Unless the SNP wake up, as Dennis Canavan has said, and wake up fast, the SNP is sleepwalking to disaster and the opportunity to move Scotland forwards to independence will be lost.

Since the election, the SNP have effectively ceded the power of initiative to the Tories and handed Boris Johnson a veto over a second independence referendum.

The Scottish Government are not only failing to take any action to implement their mandate for indyref2 – they are neglecting the vital preparations that are necessary to win the case for independence.

As we saw last week, Unionist preparations are well under way with moves to rig a future ballot by extending the franchise to non-residents of Scotland and Michael Gove using Covid funding to carry out polling on the Union.

While the pro-Union forces plot and scheme and the UK Government is in full battle-readiness, redeploying civil servants to swanky new offices and using the Union Jack to brand taxpayer investment in Scotland, the SNP remain asleep at the wheel.

Undecided voters and soft Yes voters need concrete answers to the thorny questions of currency, debt, borders and Europe. Alba will continue to play our part in making positive and constructive contributions to the debate.

But the Yes movement needs to regain the initiative and to do so quickly. There should be an emergency summit of the Yes movement outside Parliament to plot a way forward and to inject urgency and hope into the independence campaign.

Someone like Dennis Canavan would be ideally placed, as a highly respected figure within the Yes movement, to chair such a meeting and to take this initiative forward.