You are here: Home / Yes Skye and Lochalsh / Blog / Yes Skye launch event

Yes Skye launch event

Yes Skye, Raasay and Lochalsh sets off on the road to Independence

Over 100 people attended last night's launch of Yes Skye, Raasay and Lochalsh. Speakers and musicians came together, each with their own inspiring story of why they will be voting YES in 2014.

Skye launch event auditorium right
Skye launch event auditorium right

New local groups are forming already - everything from Students for Independence to Gaelic Musicians for Independence (prompting 'does that mean I need to be Harpies for Independence' from Ingrid!), with people already getting together to plan events in Dunvegan, Lochalsh and Portree.

The event was organised by Gaelic singer Arthur Cormack, who introduced the guests, which included harpist Ingrid Henderson, Gaelic singer Margaret Stewart, and piper Angus MacKenzie from the Gaelic super group Diamh. It heralded the start of the campaign to win over the hearts and minds of the people of Skye, Raasay and Lochalsh to support Scottish independence in the lead up to the referendum on the 18th of September 2014.

A show of hands from the audience revealed that over half those in attendance were not members of any political party, something which Mr Cormack thought was key to the campaign.

“I am not affiliated to any political party,” he said. “What I am supporting is the chance for Scotland to make her own decisions, to choose her own path. And as a Gael and a Scot I believe that our culture will flourish with independence. On the 19th of September 2014 I don’t want to wake up to a no vote and wonder if I could have done more. That is why we should all work as hard as we can to deliver a resounding Yes.”

Professor Alan Riach, Chair of Literature at Glasgow University, engaged the audience with his exploration of Scotland's unique cultural identity, and how it has been slowly subsumed over the last 300 years.

"We need to rediscover the wealth of Scottish culture, firstly by the teaching of Scottish literature in schools," he said, "something that other countries consider to be so utterly fundamental, that they cannot conceive it did not happen in Scotland."

"We need enterprise, compassion and democracy to work together in an independent Scotland, to create job opportunities and wealth," said local businessman Ian Blackford, director of First Seer and former SNP treasurer.

"Scotland has underachieved under the union, and emigration is a scourge that has caused many of our young to leave to seek opportunity. We are the only European country not to have seen an increase in our population over the last 100 years.

The powers of independence are essential to drive sustainable economic growth. It is time to take responsibility and change the game, delivering opportunities for people to prosper in Scotland."

Jamie Wallace of CONEA, an independent student group of Gaelic speakers and learners that supports the campaign for Scottish Independence.

Skye launch event auditorium left
Skye launch event auditorium left

"We need to use the word 'Independence' whenever we can, to everyone we can," said Jamie. "We need to say it often to help to open minds that are, so far, closed off from engaging in the debate. And then, as soon as they hear it, people will start to take notice that the referendum is important and, slowly but surely, they will begin to listen to the arguments for an Independent Scotland."

"As students, we are helping to bridge the communication gap between the generations, and Social Media is very good example of how we are working together."

Stan Blackley, depute director for the Communities of Yes Scotland, described to the audience how groups for independence were being set up all over Scotland – including innovative groups such as Gingers for Independence and Hairdressers for Independence. It was this grass root campaign that was the key to success, not what politicians say on the TV.

He said there could be Yes groups in every community in Skye, Lochalsh and Raasay – it was up to the people how they decided to organise themselves. He also described how the social media would be key to Yes Scotland getting its message across, and that it will be a consistently positive.

"It is the people who live here who will do the best job of making our nation a fairer, greener and more successful place," he said.

"We aim to build and support the largest grassroots campaign in recent Scottish history, and there are already more than 150 local groups in all corners of Scotland. Now each of us need to get out there and each convince just one more person, to secure Independence in 2014."

He concluded, "We will not run out of positive things to say about Scotland and her potential."