When Scotland voted to stay in the UK within the 2014 referendum, Valentina Servera Clavell was 14 and dwelling in Barcelona amid a burgeoning motion for Catalan independence. “We have been trying to Scotland for an instance that we might use to justify asking for our personal referendum,” she stated. “When the outcomes got here in, we have been deeply unhappy as a result of [the pro-independence side] weren’t solely combating for Scotland however for all the opposite independence actions the world over.”

Now 21 and a scholar at Glasgow Caledonian College, Servera Clavell is hoping to be chosen because the SNP candidate for town’s Shettleston constituency in subsequent yr’s Scottish parliament elections. Her candidacy comes as new polling shows huge support for independence amongst younger voters, with 79% of 16- to 24-year-olds and 68% of 25- to 34-year-olds saying they’d help leaving the union. General, the Ipsos Mori ballot recommended 58% of voters in Scotland now backed independence.

“These are going to be the elections of independence,” she stated of the 2021 contest. “There have been individuals who have been undecided in 2014, or who voted for a secure union within the UK. Brexit and Covid-19 and the catastrophe of Boris Johnson’s administration have made folks realise they will’t supply Scotland something.”

Servera Clavell is certainly one of a brand new era of candidates hoping to safe one other pro-independence majority within the Scottish parliament and make the case for a second referendum. Whereas the SNP doesn’t at the moment have a majority, the Scottish Greens’ pro-independence stance means a majority of MSPs already help the transfer. Had been the pro-independence events to win a contemporary majority, the SNP is prone to name for a brand new referendum.

Additionally vying to turn into an MSP subsequent yr is 31-year-old Roza Salih, potential SNP candidate in Clydebank and Milngavie within the west of Scotland. One of many “Glasgow Girls”, a bunch of activist schoolgirls who fought the Residence Workplace over the detention of an asylum-seeker good friend in 2005, Salih hopes to be the primary refugee elected to the Scottish parliament.

Greens supporter Leòdhas Massie and Labour hopeful Patricia Johnston.
Greens supporter Leòdhas Massie and Labour hopeful Patricia Johnston.

“I grew up in Kurdistan, the place members of my household have been executed for his or her help of independence,” she stated. “The concept that Scotland might turn into impartial by means of democratic and peaceable means was a extremely radical idea to me.”

Salih’s help for Scottish independence comes from a perception that “choices taken in Westminster simply don’t profit the Scottish folks. We didn’t need austerity; we didn’t need a Conservative authorities; we didn’t wish to depart the EU. I need a radical nation that takes a unique strategy to issues like jobs and social justice and the local weather disaster.”

The 2014 referendum has usually been credited with politicising a brand new era of younger Scots. Leòdhas Massie left faculty simply months earlier than the vote and joined the sure marketing campaign as his first foray into politics. Now 25, Massie is a candidate for the Scottish Greens within the north-east area.

“I bear in mind speaking about it at school and I started to kind these concepts of what I wished Scotland to be. I wished a republic, reformed land possession, extra consultant parliamentary democracy,” he recalled. “After which I began to understand none of that was doable within the UK.”

For the reason that 2014 referendum, Massie has moved from the SNP to the Greens and developed his pondering on independence. “I used to suppose we would have liked independence and we’d be capable of do all these things in a single day,” he stated. “Now I see it extra as the start of a course of and never the endpoint in itself. We have now to attain it after which harness all of the alternatives that presents.”

The Scottish Conservatives and Liberal Democrats stay firmly against independence, as does the Scottish Labour management. However on the Labour social gathering’s grassroots, quite a few younger activists are pushing for the social gathering to rethink its place.

Roza Salih, who hopes to stand in Clydebank and Milngavie for the SNP.
Roza Salih, who hopes to face in Clydebank and Milngavie for the SNP. {Photograph}: Katherine Anne Rose/The Observer

“So many younger folks help independence, and if you would like a left-leaning Labour social gathering then you definitely’re not going to get it by chasing an ageing cohort of extra socially conservative unionists,” stated Patricia Johnston, 24, who’s standing to be a candidate for Labour within the Lothian area. “If voters maintain returning pro-independence majorities, I feel it’s fairly clear what they’re saying to us.”

Having voted no in 2014, it was the 2019 common election end result which modified Johnston’s thoughts on independence. “Most younger members I do know are agnostic or pro-independence,” she stated, pointing significantly to the inflow of members underneath Jeremy Corbyn’s management. “However folks undoubtedly really feel there’s a disincentive to speaking about it inside the social gathering.”

Dr Iain MacLeod, lecturer in politics and technique at Robert Gordon College, urges warning over studying an excessive amount of into polling on account of small pattern sizes and customarily decrease turnout amongst younger folks. Nevertheless, he stated, “the general findings of the ballot throughout all age-groups actually appear in line with different current polls, all of which have proven that help for independence is shifting upwards.”

For Struan Mackie, 27, a Conservative councillor within the Highlands, the arguments of 2014 nonetheless stand. “We have now a shared historical past, tradition and id that should come to the fore,” he stated. “Younger folks is not going to forgive us for taking our eye off the ball on the problems that matter to them due to a fixation on the structure and dividing our nation additional.”

However, for 2021’s younger pro-independence candidates, the time has come for change.

“We’re daring, we’re not afraid of talking our minds, we’re extra radical,” stated Salih. “That’s the change we want in politics.”

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