Martin Keatings Stands with
Action for Independence
Action for Independence; Media Release
ONE of Scotland’s best-known Indy campaigners has joined umbrella group Action for Independence (AFI) as he eyes a regional list seat in Mid Scotland and Fife at next year’s Holyrood election.
Disability rights and carers’ campaigner Martin Keatings, who is also convener of Forward as One, and is leading legal action to establish that the Scottish Parliament does not require a section 30 order for indyref 2, announced the move yesterday as he formally declared he had joined AFI.
He said previously that he did not want to stand under a political party and be “restrained” by its policies.
However, now he said he wanted to sweep up the 120,000 yes-supporting list votes in Mid Scotland and Fife. Such votes, he argues. are ‘going to waste’ because the SNP’s popularity saw them gaining so many constituency seats that they got no regional list seats.
He said “ AFI’s ‘Max the Yes’ strategy was the best way to win those regional list seats and, as an AFI member he will seek nomination for AFI's top of the list candidacy in Mid-Scotland and Fife when the process opens later this year.
Keatings said the choice facing Scotland in next year’s poll was clear: “We stand at a crossroads in terms of Scotland’s fate: a choice between a hard Tory Brexit and all of the destructive policies that will soon follow from Westminster, or the chance to define our own future.
“I have fiercely defended my status as an independent because it has given me the flexibility and the latitude to give praise and constructive criticism in equal measure.
“However, now is not the time to be complacent and I need to fully acknowledge that if I stand on the regional ballot as an independent and am elected, any votes which are cast for me over and above the threshold that would see me elected, would go to waste.
“At the same time, I have concluded that standing with a party would see me lose my independent status, thus restraining me through party politics.
“The SNP gain no seats in the regional list in Fife and their increasing popularity in the constituency ballot means that in Fife, over 120,000 yes-supporting votes will go to waste. Our mission therefore must be to ensure that the maximum number of ‘Yes’ candidates irrespective of party are elected to the Scottish Parliament in May 2021.
The campaigner, who has mounted a challenge in Scotland’s highest court on the possibility of Scotland going it alone with indyref2, added that the movement could not afford to be complacent.
“We must marshal all of our resources as a movement to ensure that Scotland becomes an independent nation,” he said.
“It is for this reason and more that over the past few weeks I have been in conversations locally in Fife and nationally, expressing my intention to formally seek nomination for the first place regional slot in Mid Scotland and Fife, retaining my independent status whilst standing with fellow Yes candidates in order to maximise the Yes Vote with AFI.”
Although Mr Keatings has joined AFI as an individual, it is thought likely that his pro-independence group Forward as One, which has tens of thousands of followers, will also sign up.
Former SNP MP and Interim AFI leader, Dave Thompson, said he was delighted with their new recruit.
He said: “Martin is a high-profile figure in the independence movement, along with Forward as One, and we are delighted to have him on board.
“This development, coupled with Solidarity joining last month, will help broaden AFI’s appeal across the Indy spectrum and to this end we will shortly be contacting other parties urging them to discuss uniting with AFI as we maximise the number of indy-supporting list MSPs in next year’s poll.”
FIRST PRO INDY PARTY JOINS ALLIANCE FOR INDEPENDENCE (AFI)
Solidarity now part of Alliance – Urges other YES parties to join
The Alliance for Independence (AFI) are welcoming the first of Scotland’s smaller pro-indy parties into their fold, as they prepare to battle for regional list seats in next year’s Holyrood election.
The Executive of Solidarity agreed (Saturday September 19) to join the fledgling umbrella group, whose campaign will bid to boost pro-independence seats and MSPs under the slogan 'Max the Yes'.
It was formed earlier this year, urging Yes voters to give the SNP their first constituency vote and AFI their second vote, in the belief that standing only on the regional list for Holyrood could return enough pro-indy MSPs to give the Yes movement an unassailable supermajority in next year's “independence” election.
Solidarity have committed to AFI despite the Electoral Commission (EC) rejecting the Alliance’s bid to register under its current name, saying it could mislead voters by suggesting it represented all pro-indy parties, including the SNP. AFI leaders will meet the EC this week to try to settle the issue.
The EC did, however, accept the principle of an alliance of smaller parties as outlined in AFI’s constitution, which has opened the way for Solidarity’s decision to link up with AFI. Solidarity is the first party to join AFI and interim leader Dave Thompson, a former SNP MSP, has welcomed their backing.
He said: “We are delighted that Solidarity has decided to fight next year’s Holyrood election under our banner. It is great that Solidarity realise the potential of all of the smaller pro-indy parties coming together to ‘Max the Yes’ in next year’s Holyrood election to build a supermajority for independence.
“We hope that this will encourage the other smaller pro-indy parties to seriously consider the option of now uniting with AFI and Solidarity to create an unstoppable force for independence at next year’s election.
“Solidarity will now have a seat on the Steering Group of AFI, working with us as we develop our campaign over the next few months, and this will also be offered to any other smaller parties who come on board.”
In a statement, Solidarity said if an indy-supporting majority was elected to Holyrood next year, it would make a second indyref inevitable and uniting the pro-indy movement was “imperative”.
They said: “Solidarity believes that the 2021 Holyrood election is the most significant in the new Parliament’s twenty-one-year history. This election will determine Scotland’s future and will historically be referred to as the Independence Election. Should the Scottish people elect an independence supporting majority next May it will make IndyRef2 inevitable in 2021 and given the consistent and significant lead for YES in an unprecedented eight successive opinion polls, independence will be the outcome of that new referendum.
“Uniting the pro-independence second vote in those elections is imperative. In 2016 almost one million second votes for the SNP were not just wasted votes but actually assisted unionists to get elected. Despite attracting over 953,000 second Regional List votes the SNP failed to secure a single list seat in six of the eight regional list areas.
“In these special circumstances Solidarity agrees to join the Alliance for Independence project to unite as many of the smaller independence parties as possible.
“In so doing we would encourage other independence supporting parties like the Greens, SSP, ISP and others to follow suit. Maximum unity behind the YES parties is absolutely essential in 2021.”
Dave Thompson added “We will be bringing Solidarity’s membership of AFI to the attention of the Electoral Commission as proof that other smaller pro-indy parties will, indeed, join AFI under our umbrella, in the hope that this may alter their view on the acceptability of our name, the Alliance for Independence (AFI).”
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