Open letter from Yes for EU congratulating SNP and Scottish Greens leaders on their success in the Scottish Parliament elections, May 2021


Nicola Sturgeon, SNP Leader

Lorna Slater, Scottish Greens Co-Leader

Patrick Harvie, Scottish Greens Co-Leader

11th May, 2021

Dear Nicola, Lorna and Patrick,

I write to you as the leaders of the two parties that are pro-independence and pro-EU in the new Parliament at Holyrood following the election last Thursday 6th May. On behalf of the grassroots group Yes for EU, I am sending you and all your newly-elected MSPs our heartfelt congratulations on your success in the election!

Yes for EU’ is non-aligned but our twin aims are to achieve independence and full EU membership for Scotland, so we are delighted that your combined parties have delivered a clear pro-indy and pro-EU majority.  

We are the most active Yes group in Edinburgh / Lothians: in autumn 2020 before the tightening of restrictions around Christmas, and again more recently, we have held regular street campaign actions at weekends and mid-week, at Holyrood, at the UK Government Hub, and at other spots around the city (always fully covid-compliant and in liaison with police). As well as these in-person actions outdoors we share our campaign messages on social media, including Twitter and Facebook. Between November 2020 and April 2021 we ran a series of five well-attended webinars, some in hustings style, with excellent speakers/ candidates from your parties including most notably Angus Robertson and Lorna Slater – who obtained outstanding results. Our members include many EU citizens – in fact those taking part in the recent actions at Holyrood during the election period comprised French, Spanish, Danish, Portuguese and English activists, as well as Scots. Indeed, our activities have been widely publicised in UK and international media, via TV and radio programmes, press articles, videos and photos of the group in action. Although campaign activity up to now has necessarily been localised due to covid restrictions, mainly in Edinburgh, we have members across Scotland and beyond and we hope to expand activity to other parts of Scotland in future. We collaborate with other Yes groups, and we receive modest funding in the form of member donations and a grant from the Scottish Independence Foundation.

In the last few months we focused our street campaigning initially on voter registration, especially amongst the newly-enfranchised young people and EU citizens. Laterally we conveyed the very specific voting recommendation – “vote 1 SNP, vote 2 Green or SNP” – because your parties’ manifesto commitments to indy and the EU are totally in line with our own aims.

Now that the election is over and the new Parliament will be underway soon, in Yes for EU we are planning our future campaigning. An independence referendum will of course be the key issue of immediate interest for politicians and media, and our group will emphasise the message that there is a democratic mandate. We will also maintain a focus on the commitment to joining the EU – indeed our 10th May webinar for Europe Day was about an independent Scotland’s role in Europe and the world, with speaker Anthony Salamone.  

I’m proud of our group’s campaign work in the run-up to the election. It’s always hard to tell whether such actions have any effect, however, anecdotally, over the weeks of street actions we did enlighten many people who were unaware of their eligibility to vote and/or how the two votes work; and we advised many re the best voting strategy to get a pro-indy / pro-EU majority. Our webinars with prominent politicians and experts helped people make informed voting decisions. So we like to think we have played a modest part in the election outcome!

In the coming weeks and months we will continue our grassroots campaign activity, and we commit to supporting you in your efforts in Parliament to secure indyref2 and prepare for EU accession. We extend to you, and to all SNP and Greens MSPs, a standing invitation to ‘visit’ us at any of our regular street actions, for a chat and a photo (even just for a few minutes – we know you’re busy!). We normally share info about actions on social media; we may even be able to hold street stalls soon.  

Wishing you strength, resilience and perseverance for the tasks ahead,

Yours sincerely,

Morag Williamson

Convenor, Yes for EU