Spirit of Independence
 
  
SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENCE
The Spirit of Independence is a political organisation. Currently it is an association of volunteers committed to achieving the goal of Scottish Independence by working collaboratively with individuals, organisations and political parties to engage, inform and inspire the citizens of Scotland.
 
Formation – January 2014
Founder – Chris Law
 
Original Mission
The achievement of Scottish Independence through collaboration with individuals, organisations and political parties in the lead up to the SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM, 2014.
Present Mission
The achievement of Scottish Independence through collaboration with individuals, organisations and political parties to secure balanced representation at Westminster for the people of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
 
The Beginning
The original concept of the Spirit of Independence was developed by Chris Law in early 2014.
The core structure and mission statement were written on the 24th April 2014 by both Chris Law and Simon Murray. The key objective of the Spirit of Independence was to contribute to the 'Tipping Point' of Scottish Independence. According to Malcolm Gladwell, “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend or social behaviour crosses a threshold”.
The Spirit of Independence was also symbolic of Chris Law’s personal commitment to Scottish independence and the culmination of political campaigning on social media for the previous two years. In order to achieve the goal of independence he, like many others, temporarily shut down his own business [and income] to dedicate himself full time to this goal. In the period leading up to August 2014, the Spirit of Independence raised money for their journey through grassroots fundraising, including personal appeals to friends and family as well as a crowd sourced Indiegogo campaigns. It was important to the group that this journey, the group itself and the Yes campaign belonged to the people of Scotland.
 
‘Sofi’ & ‘The Journey’
The main vehicle used in the Spirit of Independence campaign was a Green Goddess fire engine purchased by Chris Law in 2013. The Green Goddess engines were originally purchased by the UK government during the Cold War with a view to using them in the event of a nuclear attack to put out fires. Since one of the group’s goals was to rid Scotland of the Trident nuclear submarines it seemed appropriate to use one of Westminster’s former purchases to bring home the point that nuclear weapons had failed as a deterrent, but also posed an immediate threat to more than a million people living within the immediate blast radius of Faslane. In addition Sofi’s use by the group was an act of recycling, she also stands for lost British values such as the social contract and protection of the week and vulnerable. It was also felt that with the right artwork adorning the exterior of the vehicle that “Sofi” would be a very conspicuous talking point and a symbol of independence that the people of Scotland could rally around.
During August and September 2014 Spirit of Independence was a highly visible presence travelling between numerous villages, towns and cities while attempting to visit 54 of the most densely populated areas in Scotland equalling 2.9 million people. This was a tremendous achievement considering the top speed of ‘Sofi’ was 40 mph at 8 mpg although she did beat this on the A9 as she passed Kingussie one afternoon! Since 1959 Sofi had travelled 3700 miles in her entire life – during the months of August and September 2014 she doubled that.
 
Drawing attention to Yes groups and courting the ‘Media’
The Spirit of Independence set out to act as the social glue between the organisations campaigning to achieve a yes vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Chris Law attended numerous events supporting the Yes movement around the country and Sofi carried printed material from dozens of independence supporting organisations using a working together model to collaborate across the yes movement. The Spirit of Independence also generated its own media and exploited social, Scottish local, UK national and international media outlets as much as possible generating over 40 videos which can be viewed on the YouTube site. Chris Law appeared on a variety of TV and Radio programs globally with interviews on ABC Australia, France News 24, BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning program, French tv’s Canal+, Dutch national broadcaster Nieuwsuur, BBC TV and Canada’s CBC. SOI was determined to tell the world why they believe that Scotland can, should and must be independent.
 
The ‘Hot Seat’
There were several videos shot in both the drivers cab of ‘Sofi’ and just outside the vehicle which consisted of interviews with some of the key supporters of Scottish independence including Humza Yousaf, Tommy Sheridan, Christina McKelvie, Stewart Bremner, Richard Lochhead, Craig Murray, Blair Jenkins, Annabelle Ewing, John Ainslie, Dennis Canavan and world famous Scottish actor Brian Cox. Each person interviewed had their own reasons for wanting Scotland to be independent but the common theme was that they felt it was in Scotland’s best interests to run their own affairs.
 
Artwork
The team also commissioned Stewart Bremner to design the branding needed to create iconic feminine imagery that would become symbolic of Scotland’s rebirth as a Nation State once again.
 
The creation of Spirit of Independence and the journey itself was a tribute and recognition of all those volunteers who had tirelessly campaigned for a Yes vote through setting up Yes shops, stalls, convoys and staging an array of fundraising events around the country. Although it was impossible to visit the 1000’s of individual and group efforts the Spirit of Independence attempted to draw attention to the events that it did attend and to entice those who would not have ordinarily engaged in the debate.
The ‘truck’ affectionately named ‘Sofi’ contained printed material from almost every major pro-independence group in Scotland. The public were able to finally obtain information about the benefits of Scottish Independence from both Left and Right wing perspectives. It was also an opportunity for campaigner, Chris Law, to correct some misconceptions about Scotland’s ability to run its own affairs and help people who were misinformed on subjects such as the NHS and pensions.

  1. Chris Law
    Chris, a prominent ‘Yes’ campaigner during the Scottish Independence referendum, was chosen to contest the Dundee West constituency in the 2015 general election and received 27,684 votes taking the seat from Labour with a majority of 17,092. He is the SNP Member of Parliament for Dundee West.