Independence movement must win over wavering Scots with ‘open arms and understanding’

Keith Brown said Yes movement must welcome former No voters 'with open arms'. Picture: John Devlin
Keith Brown said Yes movement must welcome former No voters 'with open arms'. Picture: John Devlin
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The independence movement must win over wavering Scots with “open arms and understanding” as one fifth of voters are still undecided on the constitutional question, SNP delegates have heard.

Deputy leader Keith Brown, who is heading up the revised campaign for independence, says this will be “the key” to delivering a Yes vote in a future referendum.

Former Westminster leader Angus Robertson had earlier said that 20 per cent of voters in Scotland are wavering on the issue of independence and echoed the appeal for a “sensitive and respectful” approach on the doorsteps.

There have been concerns about an abusive element among the pro-independence movement, particularly online, where so-called “cybernats” have unleashed a vitriolic broadside against pro-Union opponents.

Mr Brown insisted that a growing number of Scots are “on a journey” towards independence as an alternative to the Brexit chaos engulfing the UK as he issued a rallying call yesterday, with recent polling showing 50 per cent support for leaving the UK.

“We need to get out there, we need to be chapping doors, we need make the case and gather support for the cause,” he told delegates at the party’s autumn conference in Aberdeen.

A rising tranche of Scots who voted No in 2014 have shifted to Yes, Mr Brown added.

“It’s people like that that we have to reach – people out there who are currently making a journey in their political opinions and currently re-assessing the nation’s future prospects. It’s really important to listen and listen respectfully.”

The key to success in the next referendum campaign will not be appealing to those who voted Yes in 2014, he added.

“We have to convince others who will be more reluctant to come across. The reason we have to do that is because we don’t win independence without them. If we think very carefully about the approach we take, I’m sure we can get further support for independence.

“We have to provide the reason and the context for people to make that choice; we have to persuade them with patience and understanding and with open arms.

“There’s no point in saying you got it wrong in 2014… We have to make sure that we make it as easy possible to come on board with our arguments. This is the key to building further support for independence.”

Mr Robertson now heads up polling organisation Progress Scotland which is seeking to produce research which will help make the case for independence.

A fringe event staged by the organisation yesterday heard one fifth Scots are “up for grabs” on the issue of independence.

Older voters, people born elsewhere in the UK and EU citizens in Scotland are the key groups which are most sceptical about independence.