The energy of young people can bring new vitality to Yes

IN the ongoing journey towards Scottish independence, the voices and energy of young people are indispensable. Our energy, creativity and fervour for change inject vitality into the campaign.

However, as we approach the 10-year mark since the first Scottish independence referendum, it’s evident that the movement needs to evolve and embrace new perspectives.

Too often, activists find themselves ensnared in nostalgia, longing for a rehash of the 2014 campaign. As someone who became involved in the movement post-2014, I’ve encountered a sense of stagnation among fellow activists who joined after the referendum, yearning for the glory days of 2014 and surrounded by like-minded individuals caught in a cycle reminiscent of moths drawn to a flame.

Moreover, it is crucial for members of independence groups, which predominantly consist of older people to transcend age biases and recognise the valuable talents and perspectives young people bring to the movement.

These groups need to create an inclusive environment where the voices of young activists are not only heard but also respected and that they are encouraged to take part in the decision-making processes.

By valuing the perspectives of older and younger generations equally, independence groups can foster a sense of unity that strengthens the whole independence movement.

Independence groups need to proactively engage young people. Believe in Scotland Youth is a great example how an independence organisation can take initiative to engage young people.

This new group is aimed at connecting young people through the likes of social media campaigns, workshops and community events that are tailored to the interests and concerns of young people.

I have found that in addition to those efforts, the mentorship I have received from seasoned activists has played a very crucial role in empowering me as a young activist.

I have been fortunate enough to gain guidance and support from individuals who have strong skills in politics and activism and I will always be grateful for that.

Activists prioritising sharing their knowledge and skills over gatekeeping among more experienced members is essential for fostering a supportive and inclusive environment within the movement.

Experienced activists can empower young campaigners and creating a sense of mutual respect within the movement results in an invaluable opportunity to share knowledge and growth, which in turn gets more activists involved in the independence cause.

DO young activists know everything and are my views always right? Definitely not, but do older activists know everything and are their ideas always good?

The beauty of older and younger activists working together within our movement is recognising the value and diverse experiences of everyone.

A new or renewed independence movement should feel inclusive, dynamic and forward-thinking. It should embrace diversity, welcoming voices from all walks of life and generations, recognising that the strength of the movement lies in its ability to unite people behind a common vision for Scotland’s future.

Rather than clinging to outdated strategies or reliving past glories, the movement should be adaptive and responsive, evolving with the times and harnessing fresh ways of campaigning to engage a broader audience. It should feel empowering, offering opportunities for individuals to contribute their skills, talents, and ideas towards a shared goal.

Most importantly, it should feel hopeful, inspiring optimism and belief in the possibility of a better tomorrow for Scotland and the people who live here.

Scotland’s political landscape has changed so much in the past few years. The independence movement must reflect on the politics of today and tomorrow by embracing inclusivity and adaptability.

The movement needs to recognise the changing needs of the people in Scotland, we must engage with all our diverse communities and address the pressing issues such as the cost of living crisis and democratic reform.

By staying attuned to the shifting political landscape and embracing progressive ideals, the movement can position itself as a driving force for positive change in Scotland’s future.

The windscreen is so much bigger than the rear-view mirror for a reason, because what is in front of us is so much more important than what is behind us.

As we drive towards our goal of independence, let us keep this perspective in mind.

Our focus must remain on the future and the opportunities it holds, rather than being consumed by the past. It is by looking ahead that we can chart a course towards a better, more prosperous Scotland for all.

Luke Buchan is Aberdeen Independence Movement’s head of media