LESLEY Riddoch’s column on September 22, “Visibility will be key as Yes movement looks to return to the campaign trail”, was many things, but mostly timely, challenging and provocative.

Yes, many of us never went away. We learned to Zoom, and with the “all clears”, we went back oot in Edinburgh to the streets, The Meadows, Portobello, shopping malls and bus stops. We shared spaces and stalls with Yessers: old friends and made new. We dipped into the Hope Chest, updated the website and made fabulous new banners. We’re really spot on with a Q code emblazoned for all to see.

Good question then – do they see it, see us, remember us? How visible is our activism, and yours, and yours, too? Concentrated, focussed or sporadic, weather and volunteer dependent? Okay, one year, we did sing alternative Christmas carols, offering leaflets, while shivering in the snow on the steps of Portobello Town Hall. Interestingly, from 2014 to even now, we continue to suffer the slings and arrows of “not interested in the SNP”. There’s that assumption if you’re visibly campaigning for independence you must be SNP. Very occasionally the riposte of “cross-party, no party, pro-women and families” can ensure some subsequent engagement.

Perhaps then there’s room for visibly decoupling from political parties and not just the defunct Union. Perhaps there’s room to demonstrate clearly the plurality of independence, and that the actuality of independence is neither aligned to one party nor wedded to any one in perpetuity. But that would mean having the vision of a more advantageous Scotland, backed by information in palatable form, minus party ideology. Stats and figures can be boring, overwhelming and off-putting. What a task then! For some in the grassroots, the lack of finances and knowledgeable, trained volunteers to create materials is just too overwhelming.

So why not a non-party hub doing just that? Is that one function that Believe In Scotland is managing? I think I’m back to asking if we can have a plethora of “sources” and messages without infighting over titles and positions, such as “leader”, and worse, “chair”, or the personality attempt at ownership of the indy movement? Why not a plethora? After all, the Unionists are, in the main, three-fold, London-based: Tories, Labour and LibDem. Their “differences” don’t hold them back in their single obsession of keeping the union.

Our continuing Edinburgh street and stall work obviously means we’ve never held the belief we could only be out there as part of a national campaign. It would be nice to be part of something bigger and pan Scottish again. Ah, those heady days of Super Saturdays and the broth of 2014. But without a mass movement of activists and volunteers, some polls indicate there is a growth in the desire for independence. How do we max the current nebulous activities to sustain and further develop even the smallest of gains?

Maybe we need to embed the idea that independence would bring positive change, through everyday sight and sounds from everyday folks. We know we can’t rival the forces of state broadcasters and pro-union press barons. So maybe making independence discussions become more of an everyday topic, an everyday normal, does require a shift to everyday visible. Just last month Edinwfi decided to explore trying out TikTok. Okay, we don’t fit the expected demographics, but who knows – if you don’t try, you won’t find out! Shared street and stall work might lead to shared video messaging.

But at least, we won’t be that sad housewife at a kitchen table with a coffee mug, AKA that infamous 2014 Better Together video!
Selma Rahman