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SCOTLAND’s fledgling Alliance for Independence (AFI) has taken action to change its name after Electoral Commission officials refused to change their ruling that it would mislead voters.

The Alliance remained convinced of their case, but with only the option of costly and time consuming judicial review open to it, has decided to go with what it regards as a very good second option.

It has now re-applied to the Electoral Commission with a proposal to change its name to Action for Independence, which will allow it to continue to use the AFI acronym when it fights regional list seats to maximise the pro-independence vote in next year’s Holyrood election. Action for Independence ‘AFI’ will continue to be an umbrella group appealing to smaller independence supporting parties, YES groups and individuals and will contest list seats only, promoting the strategy of Max the YES.

Solidarity recently joined AFI, as it seeks to help return a “supermajority” of pro-indy MSPs, and the group is committed to putting a proposal to the other small parties – ISP, SSP and the Greens for a united ‘umbrella’ slate on the list at next year’s Holyrood elections. The commission objected to the original name because it said voters would likely be misled into “thinking that the alliance represented all independence supporting parties, or parties that were not part of its alliance that supported independence”.

AFI officials objected, but were overruled when the two sides met remotely last week. Dave Thompson, the former SNP MSP who is AFI’s interim leader, said he was hopeful the group’s new name would satisfy the commission’s objections. “We actually thought Alliance was self-explanatory, but the Electoral Commission didn’t share that view,” he said. “We have no reason to think they’ll object to Action for Independence and, while we were disappointed with their first decision, we had to propose a new name in order to get us registered to stand in the Holyrood poll next year.

“I think Action for Independence is a good choice as ‘Action’ is a dynamic word and action for independence is something that many YES supporters desperately want to see.” “That is something we will give them with our Max The Yes strategy – by backing a vote for the SNP in every constituency, and then a vote for Action for Independence on the regional list - which could result in an unassailable supermajority of pro-independence MSPs at Holyrood”

Mr Thompson said AFI members were keen to embark on the campaign trail and, while they were buoyed by Solidarity coming on board, they had also had enquires from other parties and individuals about becoming part of their umbrella group.

“It’s early days to say too much, but there are things happening behind the scenes which will help secure our position in next year’s Holyrood campaign.”

“Let’s just say that this coming month could be one of the most important for AFI since it was founded.”

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