A new political party has been created to take up the cause of Scottish independence after its founding members decided the SNP wasn't pro-independence enough.
The Scottish Independence party, known as SIP, was created last week after it was revealed that the SNP has no current plans to discuss independence or a second referendum at its conference in October.
The SIP will attempt to capitalise on disillusionment within sections of the SNP membership, some of whom have recently quit the party over concerns it has lost sight of the ultimate aim of independence since last September's referendum.
SIP founder Coinneach Mac Eachain told BuzzFeed News he hoped to field candidates in every seat in Scotland for next May's Holyrood election and reclaim the cause of independence from the SNP.
"The SNP has decided at their conference that they aren't even going to discuss independence or even a referendum, so that was the catalyst," said Mac Eachin. "There are so many people out there who are annoyed by the situation, that there's no discussion, and they're very welcome to join us."
The party will favour a unilateral approach to independence – meaning, if in government, it would immediately declare independence rather than call for another referendum – but Mac Eachin, a musician from Ayr, said it would act mainly as a pressure group to prevent independence from slipping off the agenda.
In its social media posters, the party is using quotes from SNP politicians to prove their belief that it is no longer interested in independence.
"We only set up about 96 hours ago, but there's been a lot of interest on Facebook and we've had people coming forward and saying they want to be candidates," said Mac Eachin. "The first thing we have to do is register the party. We also will have our first meeting, we need a leader, a treasury, a nominations manager, all the legal requirements.
"Then obviously we're going to have to sit down and work out exactly what we stand for, apart from just independence. If [we] stood on a platform of just independence people would laugh us out the room very quickly."
The party intends to have someone standing in each of the Scottish parliament's 73 constituencies.
Deposits will have to be funded by the candidates themselves or through crowdfunding, and membership will be free as the founders say they are doing it "out of a love for our nation" rather than financial gain.
Mac Eachin is unsure whether the party will gain any MSPs – "That's entirely up to whether people take us seriously or not," he said – but is adamant the SIP, alongside Tommy Sheridan's pro-independence socialist Solidarity party, will put pressure on the SNP.
"I've got nothing against [Sheridan] – he's a socialist and we're all pretty socialist leaning in Scotland," said Mac Eachin. "But there are a lot of people out there who don't want to follow that party, or the SNP. The more people there are, the more parties they are, it's healthy for democracy rather than having this two-party thing."
The SIP will rely on social media to get its message out – even though Facebook and Twitter is "open to all sorts of crackpots" – and will hold its first public event within the month.
"The idea behind this is just to make sure independence is still on the agenda," said Mac Eachin. "The socialists are talking about it, but the SNP are being absolutely silent on the whole thing.
"It is up to us to fill this political vacuum."
Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.
Contact Jamie Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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