LESLEY Riddoch’s piece in Thursday’s National (Division within the Yes movement isn’t helping anyone) fails to address what is actually causing this division.

Lesley’s first substantive point highlights the fact that “two separate Yes organisations are marching for independence a fortnight apart in the same city”. Lesley sees this situation as preposterous, and I quite agree. But Lesley fails to shed any light whatsoever on the detail of the situation, giving the impression that the two organisations, All Under One Banner (AUOB) and Believe in Scotland (BIS), are equally at fault.

I would like to assure readers of The National that this is most certainly not the case.

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AUOB has held marches for independence across Scotland for the last ten years, with this year’s Glasgow march being the 40th that we will have organised since 2014.

Every year on the first Saturday of May we march in Glasgow, and the following year’s march dates and locations are announced in the preceding autumn. As such BIS were fully aware that AUOB intended marching in Glasgow on May 4. Indeed, any reasonable observer might conclude that the BIS march at Glasgow on April 20 was actually scheduled so as to, quite literally, steal a march on AUOB, and to impact the attendance at Glasgow Green on May 4.

Whilst BIS seem to have no reservation in shamelessly copying AUOB’s marching format in significant ways, they are very different from us in other regards. Whilst BIS appear intent on representing a top-down, “official” version of the Yes movement, AUOB represents the people’s movement, and whilst BIS is party-politically aligned and exclusive, AUOB is non-party-political and inclusive.

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Business for Scotland ought to have stuck to their original remit, and what they do best – liaising with Scotland’s business community to bring them onside whilst carrying out important research and campaigning – but this is clearly insufficient for the guiding lights of BIS, who instead seem intent on an ultimately destructive act of “empire building” that will only succeed in sowing further divisions within the indy movement.

Under these circumstances, Lesley Riddoch’s appeal for “political parties and movement organisers to pull together” rings very hollow, and particularly so when she inexplicably fails to state the real facts of the situation, facts she MUST be aware of.

Indeed, this failure means she is effectively, if unwittingly, stoking division within the Yes movement, even as she talks of unity, in much the same way as the organisers of Saturday’s BIS march are doing; talking up unity as she ignores the fact that important voices within the indy movement committed to fighting Westminster’s colonial drive are being excluded and cancelled, and that many committed indy supporters see Saturday’s BIS march as being more about devolution than independence.

We at AUOB are for unity, but not the unity of the graveyard sought after by those who seem intent on splitting our indy movement even further.

If your readers are for genuine grassroots, all-inclusive and non-party-aligned pro-indy marches, then they can rest easy knowing that AUOB, the established rank-and-file organisation of the Yes movement, will continue to march for independence and provide a platform for ALL sections of our movement.

Neil Mackay
Named organiser for the May 4 national demonstration for self-determination in Glasgow