The National:

Be wary of selective clips tweeted by These Islands. They are not our friends and anything they can do to make mischief amongst our wider movement, they will try.

I recently participated in the Big Indy Debate held in the Queens Hall in Edinburgh. Around 300 people attended to hear a range of views deftly chaired by Lesley Riddoch.

Make no mistake – I am “yes cubed”. I would even classify myself as an existentialist nationalist as depicted by the late, great Allan Macartney. So were there to be a referendum tomorrow I would always vote yes.

But we must understand that not everyone feels the same way. We know we can write off a certain percentage of our electorate who will never vote yes in any circumstance. I would suggest that includes those from These Islands. But they are not our target – our target is ordinary people who remain uncertain.

READ MORE: The big Scottish independence event organised from a hospital bed

We are all still living through a world-changing pandemic that has touched us all and where the outcomes of a chaotic Brexit are becoming ever clearer. Many people in Scotland will have to choose between eating or heating – a national disgrace in an energy-rich country like Scotland. It is becoming increasingly apparent to many that the dud that is Brexit was engineered by a devious right wing that saw the opportunity to remove workers rights and powers from the Scottish Parliament. The implications of the Internal Market Act are not yet clear, but it is a clear risk to the voice of our Parliament as any policy divergence can be undermined. Even if concessions are made it is still at Westminster’s whim.

The National:

Our political activists are aware of all of this – but it is those who remain uncertain whom we must inform and persuade. This is why, at the start of the debate, I noted that for every five minutes spent on social media, we should all spend double that time informing and persuading friends and neighbours. We are here because of those before us knocking on doors and campaigning – what better way to secure that legacy by completing the journey they started and deliver independence?

Independence will not be won by politicians; it will be decided by the people. Scotland’s journey to being a normal, independent country on the world stage will be complete when a majority of us vote in favour of it. That is where the conversations over the fence, at the local coffee mornings, in the street and on the doorsteps are key. What convinced us that independence is the way forward may very well convince others too – we all need to do this.

The National:

The overall debate was characterised by honesty and a diversity of views. Commentary was sought on a variety of areas that must be addressed in readiness for indyref2 – borders, currency, the EU etc. Spoiler alert – we didn’t all agree. This is as normal as independence is and we should not be afraid of other perspectives.

Perhaps the best example to illustrate some of the debate were the various views on borders. The concept of any type of border was previously depicted by the Unionists to be like an old East-German fortress. But all our views have changed – the pandemic has helped many understand why borders are important.

Many more people now appreciate that most of our trade with rUK is based on services and what a modern smart border could look like. I posed the question; “what would rUK like to see?” Our friends, business partners and neighbours will want to continue to trade; I can see business ultimately seeking to move to Scotland as a gateway to Europe given our ambitions. The failed visit of the Prime Minister for a US trade deal shows that it is proximity that will prevail.