Glasgow YES group ‘motivated’ after date set for proposed second Scottish independence referendum

A Glasgow YES group chief has said members are ‘enthused and motivated’ after a date was set for a proposed second Scottish independence referendum.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set out a roadmap to IndyRef2 at Holyrood on Tuesday, proposed October 19, 2023, as the date.

She has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ask for formal consent for the vote to take place, but warned that she would press ahead with plans if this was not granted - with the Supreme Court being asked whether the Scottish Government has the power to hold a vote without the UK Government’s backing.

The convenor of YES Southside, Malcolm MacInnes, said he was “very excited” when the announcement was made, and said he expected members would be “enthused and motivated” now that a date had been put forward.

The Yes campaign is preparing for IndyRef2.

“Democracy has to prevail,” he said. “They (UK Government) seem to think they can block democracy for as long as they wish.”

Mr MacInnes said that he expects Scotland to vote Yes the second time round - with around 55 per cent in favour of leaving the United Kingdom.

In 2014, 55 per cent of voters chose No and opted to remain as part of the UK, but Mr MacInnes said a number of things have changed since then that might persuade people to change sides.

A study after the result found that while 53 per cent of men voted Yes, 57 per cent of women voted No.

The YES group convenor said Brexit and the performance of the UK Government over the last couple of years could persuade more women and residents from EU countries to support independence.

With nine years between the 2014 vote and the proposed 2023 vote, there will also be a new generation of young voters who could make a difference.

“It could make a big difference,” said Mr MacInnes. “I read it might make as much as a 5 per cent difference. We have to make sure that young people go out and vote.”

Another difference from 2014 is the starting point for the YES campaign. Recent polls have been close - one week favouring independence, the next week remaining in the union. It’s much closer than 2013, when support for independence was often polling in the 30s.

“I wouldn’t dispute polls showing roughly 50/50,” Mr MacInnes said. “But there’s a soft underbelly to some of the No vote, people who might be persuaded to vote Yes.”