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SNP MP calls on Scottish independence supporters to ‘begin marching

A senior SNP MP has called on supporters of Scottish independence to resume large-scale marches despite the country still being in a state of lockdown.
Kenny MacAskill, a former justice secretary, said more mass rallies were required as the coronavirus pandemic meant traditional forms of political campaigning such as door knocking were no longer possible.
The MP for East Lothian claimed “a huge rally on an unprecedented scale” was required to prove an IndyRef2 was being demanded by a majority of Scots.
Pro-independence marches have become a regular sight in the largest Scottish cities in the years since the 2014 referendum but they were halted when lockdown was imposed in March.
MacAskill, who is viewed as an ally of former SNP leader Alex Salmond, said now was the time for Nationalists to take to the streets once more.
“Now as lockdown eases it’s time for the independence movement to get its boots back on and prepare to start marching once again,” he wrote in a blog for the Wings over Scotland website.
“Not just those major set-piece rallies that still exist but other ones around the country and especially in our communities. Preparations are being made and those doing so deserve our thanks and support. It’s important and now is the time.”
He continued: “In the new world brought about by coronavirus, canvassing and leafletting will be hard. Some activists for understandable reasons will not wish to do it. More importantly many of the public will not welcome it.
“Even with a face mask, chapping a door will be frowned on and could be counterproductive at this time. Even putting a leaflet through a door will raise concerns.
That’s why marching must begin. Socially distanced it must be, and respectful of the guidance provided. But it’s essential.
“Smaller marches in deprived housing schemes will show that the cause is still alive in areas that have been suffering.
“Moreover, a huge rally on an unprecedented scale is required to show that this is the demand of the Scottish people.
“It’s time once again to show that independence is on the march.”
All Under One Banner, a non-party independence campaign which has organised numerous marches in the past, previously said it would not hold any more events until Scotland entered phase 4 of its lockdown plans.
But speaking at her media briefing today, Nicola Sturgeon said the country was “no where near” being ready for phase 4.
Meanwhile, another SNP MP has called for unity among pro-independence supporters ahead of next year’s Holyrood election.
Richard Thomson warned against voting for fringe pro-Yes parties on the list in 2021 and said a so-called Plan B for independence wasn’t “worth a damn”.
“Sometimes you just need to unplug from social media and get your bearings in the real world again,” he wrote in an article shared on Medium.
“Remind yourself that the Holyrood electoral system is not rigged against the SNP, the SNP needs SNP list MSPs to form a government, that people elect the SNP to govern competently, not just because of (or sometimes even despite) its stance on Scotland’s future, that the condition of Scotland, (and) that there’s no Plan B, C, D or Z out there for winning independence worth a damn right now if it doesn’t involve a lawful referendum.”

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