AT the SNP Independence Convention in Dundee on Saturday the First Minister announced how he intends to break through the logjam of repeated denials of Scottish democracy by the Labour and Conservative parties and bring about independence.

The stark reality is that the outcome of democratic elections in Scotland have ceased to mean anything with both Labour and the Tories vying with one another to Britsplain away the election of a Scottish Parliament with a clear and unambiguous mandate for a second independence referendum or the collapse of their parties as electorally significant participants in General Elections in Scotland.

The SNP has secured repeated mandates from the people of Scotland for another independence referendum, all of which have been shrugged off by Westminster parties which hypocritically still maintain that the so-called United Kingdom is a voluntary union of nations even as they unite in their refusal to specify exactly how the people of Scotland can decide for themselves whether another independence referendum should be held.

If democracy is to be anything other than an empty slogan, the outcome of elections must mean something, and as the First Minister pointed out in Dundee on Saturday, it is up to the Labour and Conservative parties to prove that the British state is the voluntary union of nations that they insist it is.

He was clear that there will be no more going cap in hand for a Section 30 order, pleading with the Labour and Conservative parties to grant Scotland something which is Scotland's by right: the right of the people of Scotland to decide Scotland's future by themselves.

The SNP will put front and foremost in their manifesto for the next UK General Election that a vote for the SNP is a vote for Scottish independence, and should the SNP win that election in Scotland then that will constitute a mandate for independence and the Scottish Government will immediately start preparations for independence negotiations.

The First Minister was clear that by winning the election he meant winning by the normal rules of Westminster General Elections. There will be no more toleration for special sets of rules being imposed on Scotland.

That means that the SNP will have won the General Election in Scotland if it wins a majority of Scottish seats. The share of the vote is not relevant when it comes to determining which party has won the right to form a British Government. So, neither should it matter when it comes to deciding whether the SNP has won the election in Scotland. That victory must give the winning party the right to implement its manifesto, if democracy in Britain still means anything.

In a voluntary union, Scotland cannot be overruled by England when it comes to determining Scotland's future.

READ MORE: Holyrood forced to defend including trans woman at political event

It's a bold and ballsy move and the usual suspects in the anti-independence media are already queueing up to rubbish it. The Westminster parties will be forced to prove that they really are democratic and they do not like it one bit.

Over the coming months the exact details of the strategy outlined by the First Minister will be fleshed out in the series of regional independence conventions which the SNP is planning to hold.

This will doubtless include details on the involvement of the other pro-independence parties and wider civic Scotland as a means of keeping the pressure on Westminster in order to ensure that the Labour and Tory parties cannot ignore the democratic will of the people of Scotland, and the tactics that the SNP contingent will adopt in the Commons to force the British Government to respect the mandate given to them by the Scottish electorate.

The Chain of Freedom

Independence supporters are being urged to sign up for a major independence event due to be held on October 14. The Chain of Freedom event is inspired by the Baltic Way or Baltic Chain event held on on 23 August 1989.

This inspirational demonstration involved approximately two million people in the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which at the time were Soviet Republics, having been illegally occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940. The pro-independence event saw the participants form a human chain across 430 miles, connecting the three capital cities of Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius.

The idea was to a demonstrate a popular desire for independence and to highlight the solidarity between the three nations.

The planned Scottish event will be much smaller in scale. The Scottish event proposes that some 77,000 people will hold hand and form a continuous human chain across the Central Belt from along the canal paths from Lochrin Basin in Edinburgh to Bowling Harbour on the north bank of the Clyde west of Glasgow. The event has been backed by writer and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch and the actor Alan Cumming.

The organisers say the focus of the event will be on bringing the independence movement together and not on politics. 

One of the organisers, Wilma Bowie said: "The feedback we are getting through social media is there are a lot of people who have become disillusioned and a bit disheartened by groups fighting against group and some of the comments and internal squabbles happening at the moment.

She added: "We will not tolerate any internal fighting, any miscalling of one party or anything – independence is the main goal and that is what everyone is focusing on and that is what we are promoting with this chain."

A heartfelt thanks and a personal milestone 

On a personal note, I attended the Convention, speaking on a panel of non-SNP members along with Lesley Riddoch and Gordon Macintyre-Kemp. It was the first major speaking event I have taken part in since suffering a major stroke almost three years ago. I would like to give my enormous and heartfelt thanks to Paige Paterson of the SNP Maybole and North Carrick branch who very kindly gave me a lift to Dundee and then got me home afterwards.

Without her door to door service I would never have been able to get there. As regular readers of my blog may know, I can no longer drive or walk any distance and public transport is very challenging. There is absolutely no way I could have got to the venue without Paige’s kind offer of a lift.

READ MORE: Tory MSP fumes as Holyrood to debate Scottish constitution

I'm not going to lie, I found the experience exhausting and physically and mentally draining. I am acutely aware that I am no longer as mentally agile as I once was and the muscles of my tongue and mouth no longer function as the used to, making clear articulation a lot more difficult. However, the biggest problem is a lack of stamina.

By the time that the panel session drew to an end I was running on empty. I was completely wiped out by the time I got home, and was still very fatigued the following day.  That said I am delighted that I made it and was able to participate, aside from any of the politics it was a huge personal milestone and I would like to do more public speaking events in the lead up to the critical General Election that lies ahead.