Tommy Sheppard: Independence movement led by “centre left” against conservative unionism

Nathanael Williams

Groups, campaigners and individuals associated with the Yes Movement make bid to attract No voters 

SNP MP TOMMY SHEPPARD, has declared that the battle for independence is now split between forces "by and large" led by the centre left against those on the centre right, during Sunday’s independence rally on Glasgow Green. 

The contender for SNP depute leadership aslo said that the conditions that caused many to vote no in the 2014 independence referendum had changed significantly.

Alongside Paul Kavanagh (Wee Ginger Dug) and Common Weal director Robin McAlpine, Sheppard addressed a crowd of approximately 1,800 on Glasgow Green as part of events celebrating the two year anniversary of the 2014 referendum.

Speaking on stage Sheppard, said: "The cause of independence is by and large a campaign led by those on the centre left and we have seen the unifying of people on that campaign.

"And by and large those who stand in our way are led by the right of centre and Ruth Davidson's Conservative party. And that my friends is a battle set which we can win. 

"Because we are in the majority, those of us that stand for decency. Those that say that this bitter intolerant country is not the be all nor end all of our humanity and that we can do better."

He described those that "want a progressive and inclusive nation" as the "clear majority" of the Scottish people.

Sheppard also referred to the latest Sunday Times and Ipsos MORI polls which both put support for independence at 48 per cent, three points higher than the result gained in the referendum two years ago. 

Although the poll showed a majority of Scots in support of Scotland remaining in the union, the SNP MP considered a standard bearer of the left of the party said it was a sign that more people could be convinced and that the "movement has to get prepared."

Kavanagh in his speech chose to focus on what he called the "broken promises of the British establishment" stating that the reason why another referendum is a viable option and request is as a result of the pro-Union side not keeping promises such as the ‘the vow’, made days before the vote against independence which promised unprecedented new powers for Scotland.

Among these examples were doubts over contracts for Royal Navy destroyers which threaten shipping jobs on the Clyde and the lack of investment recivied by Scotland’s renewables sector.

"Because we are in the majority, those of us that stand for decency. Those that say that this bitter intolerant country is not the be all nor end all of our humanity and that we can do better." Tommy Sheppard 

McAlpine, referring to the growth of the movement from nothing two years ago and the need for plans next time, said: "Those people who in their heart wanted to believe in independence, we need to reach out to them – what do they look like. They look just like the people that voted yes two years ago.

"This is not about trying to reach out to some group of people that we don't know, some group of people that we don't understand – these are our friends and our neighbours.

"We have, in my mind, two years to get together as a movement and prepare. We need to get that strength and plan together. We need to get fighting fit."

Picture courtesy of Nathanael Williams 

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