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  • Writer's pictureJim Manclark


“Is it incompetence or deliberate prevarication?” asks veteran Indy campaigner

Action for Independence (AFI) have slammed the Electoral Commission (EC) for a 14 week delay in coming to a decision on AFI’s re-application to register as a political party - after being told a decision would not be made until at least the first week in January 2021. This will take the total time to consider AFI’s application to 24 weeks.

This is despite the re-application having been submitted on 2 October 2020 and the EC having already taken 11 weeks to consider it and with all issues raised in the previous application having apparently been resolved after face to face discussions some months ago. The normal time for an application is 6 weeks, or 12-14 overall if an application has to be resubmitted.

AFI are also concerned that a decision may be delayed beyond even the 8 January 2021 date, in which case AFI says it shall have no option but to consider what other action it can take, including investigating legal avenues.

Interim Leader of AFI, Dave Thompson said: “It is disgraceful that the Electoral Commission (EC) has been unable to reach a decision on AFI’s re-application after 11 weeks and now tell us that it is still at least 3 weeks away. I really do wonder if this is just incompetence on the part of the EC or whether the UK establishment is so scared of the AFI alliance concept that deliberate prevarication has now become the weapon to derail us?”

Thompson continued: “The choice we wish to present to the Scottish electorate must not be ‘filibustered out of existence. The EC response has come after AFI submitted a comprehensive 14 page document detailing the timeline of correspondence between the EC and AFI since the re-application was submitted on 2 October. The submission also countered claims that the basic concept of AFI, as an alliance of smaller parties, was not fully considered by the EC before they refused AFI’s first application on 8 September, after 6 weeks and 4 days, as it clearly was, and it did NOT form part of that refusal, as was fully publicised at that time”

Lynne Millar, AFI’s speakers’ organiser said “As a YES activist and member of the AFI steering group I am beyond frustrated at the continuing delays to AFI’s registration. I work closely with our Glasgow activists who have been waiting for months to get out there campaigning. This does not only affect AFI, it should worry the wider YES movement, and potential political parties of the future. AFI has a unique concept, to try and bring YES and all the smaller YES parties together as one to return an SNP Government with as many list seats as possible from other YES parties and the wider YES movement. We have done everything asked of us yet we are no further forward. Why is this?

Many, many voters want the smaller YES parties as one. It would be a bigger force“.

Interim Media Officer for AFI, Derek MacPherson said: “Whether people intend to vote for us or not, I hope the Indy majority will defend our right to try and put our Max the YES alternative on the ballot paper. Our alliance structure was approved by the EC previously, so for it to be revisited months later at this late stage seems strange to say the least.”

Action for Independence vowed that it would continue to fight for the Max the YES concept to be on the ballot paper in the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections and for voters to back the SNP in the constituencies and the AFI alliance on the list.

Dave Thompson concluded “We are confident that if the rules are looked at and applied equally and fairly, AFI can be that option for YES on the list ballot come May.”

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