Fired up and ready to go

You might have heard… the SNP are holding three National Assemblies where we will debate and discuss the recommendations of the Sustainable Growth Commission.

I’m really looking forward – in my new role as Depute Leader of the party – to hosting these assemblies in Ayr, Aviemore and in Edinburgh.

The Edinburgh event at the Corn Exchange on Sunday 9 September is already fully booked and has a waiting list. The events at Ayr Racecourse on Saturday 25 August and Aviemore Macdonald on Saturday 1 September are filling up fast.

No other political party in Scotland could attract such an interest and we recognise the responsibility and the opportunity we have in giving our members a platform.

The events will use participatory leadership techniques deployed by movements in Denmark, Austria, Sweden and Canada. This will allow members to set the agenda within the context of the SGC recommendations. This enables a grassroots empowered policy development process on independence.

These are the first SNP national assemblies since 2010 and they promise to be invigorating debates, in the best traditions of the SNP. They also have the potential to herald a new chapter in the story of Scotland’s journey towards independence.

And I recognise that the wider debate on the Growth Commission and independence is greater than just the SNP. We have a responsibility to set out a credible plan for a future Scotland – and to listen to others, and take on their ideas too.

So I’m engaging in wider discussions too – meeting with trade unions, business groups as well as people from across civic Scotland and the Yes family to share their views with us.

The ability to mobilise our mass membership and present a positive case for Scotland in the next referendum or in a snap general election is vital.

So that’s why I have been ramping up the SNP’s preparedness for a snap Westminster election as well as building the case around the ‘why of independence’.

Vetting for potential candidates for next General Election is now open and Westminster Liaison Committees are being re-established.

I have also setup the SNP Campaign Committee, with myself chairing, in my other new role as Campaign Director, aided by a strong team with Alison Thewliss MP, Kenneth Gibson MSP, Joan McAlpine MSP, Drew Hendry MP, Julie Hepburn and Margaret Ferrier.

Make no mistake: with the Tories in turmoil over Brexit and Labour devoid of relevance and purpose in Scotland, we’re fired up and ready to go.