THE bells have only just stopped chiming but 2023 is already set to be momentous for Scotland’s independence movement.

Last year came to a close following the UK Supreme Court’s decision that Holyrood does not have the power to stage another referendum. While doubtlessly disappointing, legal clarity is always welcome. What has become clear through this verdict is the death of any notion that the UK is a union of equal partners. The future of Scotland must be decided by the Scottish people and Scottish democracy must prevail.

We go into 2023 with the Yes movement rightly galvanised across Scotland. Following the Supreme Court ruling, support for independence rose as high as 56%, with six polls in a row finding that support for independence outstrips that of the Union. At the same time, the most recent Scottish Social Attitude survey found that only 22% of Scots trust the UK Government to act in their interests.

I welcome the fact that more and more Scots are recognising the necessity of independence and Westminster will nervously be taking note. Yet as the new year begins, this support must not be taken for granted and we have some thinking yet to do on the path forward.

To this end, I look forward to the SNP’s special conference due to take place on March 19 in Edinburgh. This will provide an opportunity to discuss and decide the way forward for Scots to be able to express their view on our nation’s constitutional future.

Looking further ahead, the Westminster chaos has calmed somewhat and alongside this so has the immediate possibility of a snap general election. However, this in no way means that there is no work to be done as it’s difficult to understate the importance of the next Westminster election.

Due before January 2025 (but likely to come sooner than that), the election will be the next opportunity for the people of Scotland to give their view on how fit for purpose their governance arrangements are, and who is best placed to make decisions for Scotland.

We don’t need a new UK Government, telling us what our priorities should be and what our future should look like. Scotland needs to ditch the UK’s broken democracy for independence in Europe, and the ability to control our own destiny. The election, when it comes, is our chance to protect democracy in Scotland and ensure people have their say.

The SNP have a clear vision of Scotland’s best future, and that is independence in Europe. With 72% of Scots wanting back into the EU, I look forward to using 2023 to get stuck into my new expanded role in the SNP Westminster group as the spokesperson for Europe and EU accession, which will be mission-critical for winning independence.

With the next election holding such significance, I firmly believe that our activism is more important than ever.

Understandably the last few years have seen it take a hit. Lockdowns and social distancing measures saw campaigning move online and prevented us from doing the important work of delivering leaflets and chapping doors.

Now in 2023, with support for independence galvanised across Scotland, it’s the time to reinvigorate the movement.

It’s time to get back out on the doorsteps and take part in those all-important rallies and make sure every Scot understands that it is us here in Scotland that will decide Scotland’s future.

Let’s make 2023 the year of independence activism so that when the next Westminster election comes, whenever that may be, Scotland is ready to make it crystal clear that we want the right to choose.

The right to choose a better future as an independent European nation.