Scottish independence: Why huge All Under One Banner march is helping the cause – Kenny MacAskill

Organisers put the crowd at 200,000, others weren't so sure, much more than 100,000 is Kenny MacAskill's take (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Organisers put the crowd at 200,000, others weren't so sure, much more than 100,000 is Kenny MacAskill's take (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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Whether the turnout at the All Under One Banner march for Scottish independence on Saturday was 200,000 I don’t know. But it was certainly huge, writes Kenny MacAskill.

I was there, as I was years back in Glasgow against the Iraq War. That was 100,000 but this was much more.

The All Under One Banner march in Edinburgh had musical accompaniment (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The All Under One Banner march in Edinburgh had musical accompaniment (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

I also marched in Edinburgh in 2014 as the first referendum approached where not only was the turnout far lower but the mood far less buoyant.

This time it was much more of a sea change and it put me in mind of the devolution demonstration, again in Edinburgh, after the Tories were returned in 1992 but once more had been soundly rejected in Scotland.

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That’s one I wasn’t on as I was abroad on business but I was gobsmacked at the attendance of about 40,000, far exceeding what had been anticipated.

Not only was the SNP a far smaller entity then but the marchers were less party activists and much more “middle Scotland”.

Good people were simply fed up and took to the streets in a peaceful manner. Saturday was reminiscent of that with marchers going way beyond SNP activists or hardcore Indy supporters.

As the march in the 90s gave momentum to devolution, so has this to independence. Of course, there’s still a Section 30 order to be obtained from the UK Government and large numbers don’t always equate with victory.

But it boosts morale and signifies a change in tempo. No wonder the opposition are taking note, as decades ago the march towards devolution became unstoppable.