THE leader of the Yes Scotland group, Blair Jenkins, should hand over responsibility for key decisions about the pro-independence campaign to more experienced figures because he is “overloaded”, a senior nationalist has claimed.
Margo MacDonald said that Jenkins had been handed an “almost impossible” task and that a new “tight planning group” was needed to take over some of the critical decisions about the campaign tactics and strategy.
The move comes with most polls showing only about a third of Scots back independence with less than a year to go before the referendum on leaving the UK. Independent MSP MacDonald said a new group with “autonomy” from Yes Scotland and the SNP was needed to take charge of the pro-independence campaign.
She insisted Jenkins should remain as Yes Scotland’s chief executive, but said the former BBC chief was not from a campaigning background and that other more experienced nationalists needed to “take the heat off Blair”.
The call for a shake-up of the pro-independence movement comes after Kevin Pringle, the SNP’s strategic communications chief, was moved from the party’s headquarters in the Holyrood area of Edinburgh to the Yes campaign offices in Hope Street, Glasgow.
There is also thought to be concern among some SNP MSPs about the effectiveness and direction of Yes Scotland, which has been led by Jenkins for more than a year.
MacDonald said she would be prepared to be part of a new group of experienced nationalists running the pro-independence campaign that would have a “life of its own” aside from Yes Scotland.
Last night a spokesman for Yes Scotland insisted that the leadership of the group was satisfied with the direction of the campaign.
The spokesman said: “We are building the biggest grassroots community campaign in Scotland’s history. With a year to go before the referendum, we know we still have a lot of hard work ahead of us but we have clearly defined plans and goals and at this stage of the campaign we are precisely where we want to be.”