By a Newsnet reporter

Let me begin this piece by thanking the many well-wishers who took the time to come up to Newsnet Scotland’s wee stall erected at the independence rally in Princes Street Gardens on Saturday.

It was great meeting each and every one of you – including many who had never heard of us.  One of our ladies also had the pleasure of being interviewed by Basque TV who had a roaming film crew there that day.

Sadly, we weren’t as prominent as we had planned, due to a few unfortunate logistical mishaps that conspired against us.  We had constructed a simple wooden stand for the occasion that would have allowed our banner to be seen by the watching crowd, however by the time we were in a position to erect the thing the area we had earmarked was already taken by members of the public and some photographers.

Despite that, the day was a tremendous success and credit must go to the guys who came up with the idea and organised the whole event.  How DID they manage to arrange for the weather to be as good as it was?

Opponents of independence, and some of our more churlish journalists, are suggesting that the turnout was disappointing.  If Saturday was a damp squib then I’ll happily settle for more damp squibs like that as we head towards 2014.

The immediate crowd in front of the stage apparently holds 5000 or so people.  However the many people outside this perimeter together with the constant coming and going as people left and others joined means that a far larger crowd attended this rally than media reports suggest.  Marchers were still pouring into the Gardens after the arena had been filled.

Having viewed a video of the march (not all!) as it made its way down from the mound then we can be certain that 5000 is a gross underestimate of the actual turnout.  The description of the march from one person who stood watching the passing parade is worth noting: “I didn’t realise so many people supported independence”.

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It should also be noted that until the actual march arrived at the Gardens from the Meadows all but one gate was padlocked, meaning that a great many people who had planned to, could not get into the event.  We know this to be the case as scores of people, some disabled, seeing the NNS crew with our stand hardware asked how they could get in.

Newsnet had a small team of four people – two set up the stall at the Ross Bandstand and two joined the march from the Meadows and handed out leaflets.  Those of you who spoke to our wee team met Lynda, Karen, Christopher and George.

But for a few right wing Union Flag waving interlopers who were involved in a momentary scuffle that the police soon brought under control, the entire event was one of joy, excitement and laughter.

People from across the UK mixed with others from the continent and beyond as a carnival atmosphere took over.  The winged lion of Venice and the black lion of Flanders joined our own Lion Rampant in a show of unity and support.  The Basque people were there offering solidarity.

I’ll remember fondly the speech by the Gentleman from Flanders for quite some time.  The colour these groups brought just added to the beautiful mix of blue, orange, yellow, reds and every other colour you could imagine.

The award for the best banner goes to the ‘lion or a mouse’.  This image should adorn leaflets on the days leading up to the referendum.

Some people will be returning home with cups, T-shirts and car stickers bearing the name ‘Newsnet Scotland’.

One such is Scottish singer/songwriter Dougie MacLean, Dunblane’s most famous son (Now challenged by one Andy Murray).  Dougie and his wife Jenny came over for a chat where the composer of Scotland’s unofficial national anthem, Caledonia, kindly posed with a Newsnet Scotland mug as he and his wife spoke of their renowned music festival the Perthshire Amber, which starts on the 26th of October.

Others who mingled around close by included First Minister Alex Salmond, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and MP Angus Robertson as well as the BBC Scotland film crew who pitched their camera and equipment right beside our stall.

I’ll remember the relaxed way our First Minister met, spoke to and shook hands with bystanders – wee weans were given the customary kiss – well, he is a politician after all.

Some people stopped to have a look at our Gaelic map of Scotland, available for sale on this site now, and brought along especially for the day.  Others just wanted to say hello and offer their support to the site.

A couple of people who have contributed articles to the site stopped by for a chat – so a big hello to Fay and Ashley.  Another hello to Veronika, yes with a ‘k’, who was handing out leaflets for the Scottish CND group and stopped at our stall to find out who we were.

A special thanks to Tim for passing on some amazing photos of the day, a few which appear in this article.  All in all it was hard graft but very worthwhile and we learned very valuable lessons regarding our own approach to this, and future events.


2012-09-24 18:18

Unfortunately my own tardiness and a lot to get through on Saturday meant that I was unable to go, but I saw a fair few people who had obviously been at the march and rally heading home as I was heading up Leith Walk late in the afternoon. They all looked very happy, which was a good sign.

This afternoon I’ve watched the speeches which another NNS reader recorded and kindly provided links for on another page. All of them were moving and inspirational in their own way. I especially enjoyed the FM’s line about very little positive being heard in the media, and Margo McDonald’s speech was great.

Let’s do this.
2012-09-24 19:12

I enjoyed the day out with friends and enjoyed Margos’ message. Missed the Newsnet stall unfortunately. Next time hopefully its in Glasgow. Seemed a bit silly to walk from the station to The Meadows to walk back again. The breadth of people from all walks of life was impressive. Not as many SNP members that I thought would have been there, Wonder why that is!!!
2012-09-25 17:35

Does Jeff or anyone else have a complete list of all the speakers and musicians who took part in this great day? I knew many of the weel kent faces and Pat Kane’s announcements were fine but I lost some of it in the general hubbub. Was impressed particularly by the clear-speaking visitor from Flanders but couldn’t catch his name and Alan Bisset has become ever more impressive.

2012-09-24 19:17

Sorry I missed you folks.
We had seats reserved as my wife has a chronic spinal injury and were ushered straight to that area when we entered the area.
The walk down from the Meadows was just about as far as she can manage.
However,did manage to pick up one of your leaflets which we passed on to some friends.
A brilliant day out and so good to see all ages present from babes in push chairs to senior citizens like us.
Left us feeling very uplifted and ready for the fight.
2012-09-24 19:31

Good to know that NNS had a stall there. Did you announce this on the site beforehand? If I’d known I would have made a point of coming to have a chat.

For lilackelpie above – I was pleased by the absence of SNP banners – this was an Independence rally. I hope it means that SNP supporters mainly had the good sense to leave the SNP banners at home and bring their Saltires instead.
2012-09-24 19:43

There is obviously enough material to make up a DVD of the march and the best of the speeches.
Physically these only cost a few pennies to make and properly produced are better than leaflets
Every household in Scotland should get one – particularly for our young folk.
I think Ruth Wishart’s speech could be mould breaking.
The shortcut to the film of the whole march made available by Mark Mclachlan on a previous thread is made available here (The Enormity). It is fabulous and completely demolished the 5000 lie. I had a lot of fun finding myself and others in my party and I’m sure everybody who sees it will spend an enjoyable 45 minutes looking for their friends on it.
Dave McEwan Hill
2012-09-24 19:44

Good taste in banners:) That’s the missus and daughter.

I seem to be fiddling with my camera behind the banner.

BTW if folk do want the original designs for anything I will make them available on my photobucket.

One thing though, Dougie is from DunKELD not DunBLANE – oops! [Online Editor – Born Dunblane we believe.]

Oh and something else folk might be able to use is a wee animated GIF I made the other day for a YES avatar or for website use. You can get it here.…/…
Feel free to edit it with PS.
2012-09-24 22:32

Jings! Apologies guys, its me that’s the DUNderheid. A classic case of a little bit of knowledge being a dangerous thing.
I just assumed your reporter had misheard Dougie.
2012-09-24 22:55

Hi chicmac, I now know who you are. I came and took a couple of photos of your banner while we were waiting in the meadows to start marching. It is most definitely a classic and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one taking photos of it, so you probably don’t remember me 🙂
2012-09-24 23:30

Thanks Pinkrose, yes in all honesty I was astounded at the interest in the banner, a large number of people asked to take pictures of it, asked if they could ‘tweet’ it or ‘facebook’ it some folk even wanted to ‘buy one’. Lost count of how many. And for every one of those there must have been about three that just came up and took a picture.

2012-09-24 20:22


2012-09-24 22:43

“The people of Scotland will need a lot more than rally’s and polls to convince them.

When do the public meetings in villages and town halls across the country start?”
2012-09-24 22:54


It’s “rallies”, not “rally’s”.
2012-09-25 00:04

Quoting sneckedagain:


It’s “rallies”, not “rally’s”.

You know what I mean though”


2012-09-24 23:56

Sorry I couldn’t be there, but remembering back to the 1992 march which I did attend, I would say that Saturday’s march was comparable in scale and may have been even bigger than that. Patricia Ferguson boasted that the scale of the 1992 march was 30,000. I always found that hard to believe. I would have put it at 10,000. Ergo the March for Independence was certainly twice the 5,000 figure claimed.
2012-09-25 11:20

I see the political editor of the Courier claimed the the “low turnout” was a “blow to the SNP”, quoting the 5000 figure as fact. The Unionist press just can’t help themselves can they. It’s an odds on bet that the couriers resident unionist Jenny hyul will come out with her usual, predictable anti SNP, anti Scottish bile in her column this week.

The referendum campaign is still in its early stages. As 2014 draws nearer the yes campaign can only get stronger, the bitter together campaign will get weaker.

Vote YES in 2014

2012-09-25 09:06

The wider the Yes Campaign is the greater the chance for success in 2014. Great to see Labour stand up and be counted, why on earth not ?. Where were the small ‘c’ conservatives then, surely they exist and surely they have sufficient sphericals to stand up and be counted.
It’s the political spectrum that will win the day not one party or on the back of one individual.
By the next Rally and March it is to be hoped that many persuasions are represented here. That is inclusion and that’s where strength comes from. The Bitter Together lot will become increasingly margianlised, the sooner the better.
Saltire Groppenslosh
2012-09-25 09:28


To all who are interested in the actual facts about the numbers at the Rally, here’s the message that I got back from a very exhausted Jeff Duncan;-

Hi David

The facts are that our attendance was 9,500. We counted the marchers as the entered the gardens at two points along the path towards the Ross Band Stand (where rally was held) – we used clickers to record and we had two people independent of one another – there totals were only 70 apart from each other.

That is the reality of Saturday, not the extremely inaccurate and adhoc method employed by an ‘official’ at the Meadows.

The figure released to the police was derived by a cursory glance and calculation based on that glance – from the top of our bus by an Edinburgh Council official. Yes it was that arbitrary and unscientific!!! 

I know which one I would hold more store by.

So there you go. The official figure produced by the organisers for the Rally is 9,500. Their method of having two people using clickers takes the uncertainty out of the resultant figure when we consider that their total was within 70 of each other. This therefore becomes the figure that each of you should be using from now on. Repeat it into yourselves 9,500 – 9,500 – 9,500. This is great political ammunition especially when you explain the provenance of the information. That is as important as the number. Small details like this win hearts and minds.

Kindest regards to you all,

David Milligan – A very Sovereign Scot
2012-09-25 13:15

I have seen elsewhere that someon’es dad had a clicker at the gate as they are supposed to pause every 200 due to Park by-law. And he got a count of around 9000.

Elsewhere, another guy with a clicker on the actual march (near Greyfriar’s Bobby) got around 12,000.

I have also seen a video taken from just inside the gate which allows you to count nearly everyone who went through it (I didn’t because it is over 45 mins long) and it also allows a reasonable estimate of how many did not go to the rally. It looks like about 25% did not go through the gate which kind of agrees with the 12,000/9000 path to march difference.

The video is here…/
for anyone wanting to do an accurate ‘path’ count.

Of course that does not include those who went directly to the rally point (elderly, infirm etc.) but perhaps the organisers included those in their rally estimate (hence 9,500 instead of 9000?).

Would also point out that in the video it looks like families with push chairs were being redirected to a gate closer to the rally point which has a non-stepped descent down into the gardens. There was a not inconsiderable number of those as well and again I’m not sure if they were counted.

I must also add, from my Independence First march experience, over half the marchers did not stay for those rallies, so if only 25% did not stay on on this occasion then that has to be a good result comparatively speaking.

Edit to correct a bit. On looking at further areas of the video (I had looked at the start and near the end) the camera does move to looking at the march sideways through the railings making it harder to count and on other occasions some folk stand in front of the camera.
So overall perhaps not as good for estimating as I implied. Sorry about that.

2012-09-25 09:29

Sorry I missed you stall. My loss.

Pleased that the majority were non-pensioners.
2012-09-25 10:46

Glad people are liking the videos on my channel. Wee Eck’s clip has the most hits (and his speech wasn’t his best by a long shot in my humble opinion) but the one that really connected with viewers so far big time is Ruth Wishart’s speech. Margo’s and Allan Grogan’s are also very popular. And with good reason: these are the three clips that will help persuade undecideds to vote YES and to come along for next year. Murrayfield stadium may be a good location for next year. sneckedagain, you mentioned DVDs. I did pass on all raw HD footage from Saturday (I could easily have made and uploaded five more videos!) to Jeff and I imagine he’s got plans to put a DVD together. I’ll run it past him to make sure when we chat tonight. If anyone has an idea for a video to put together for next year or for the cause in general, give me a shout! Saor Alba! Tim
2012-09-25 11:36

why have I logged in and been welcomed and then been thrown out twice after having spent app. 11/2 hours typing with one finger a comment for this article???
Is it because I mention M15 & M16 in my comment??
2012-09-25 14:09

I always ctrl-A > ctrl-C before attempting to send posts on forums. A habit acquired years ago and which I still have even though things are less flaky these days.

If you lose stuff while actually typing then it is likely you accidentally hit a control key sequence and this may be undo-able by pressing ctrl-Z

Saltire Groppenslosh
2012-09-25 12:30

Hello McTim, can you give me a link to Ruth Wishart’s video we had our six year old with us at the rally and due to toilet duty, missed her speech. I heard it was brilliant.
2012-09-25 13:22

like Bruce I try, try again.
Am now getting a blank page which states Invalid Token.
Can an explanation be forthcoming from a mod.? Very strange that these comments are getting posted but not the one that mentions M15 and M16

Achweel it”s keepin me oot the road o the buses on this dreich day
2012-09-25 13:39

Could it be that a comment which took 1 1/2 hours to type is too long for the system to cope with?

2012-09-25 13:27

Watched the March video (THE ENORMITY and it truly reflects the scale of the March.

Can someone produce a sped up (x10) version and sees what it looks like.

It may capture the number of people in a dramatic and easier to watch package? Waverers are more likely to watch 3mins and then go … wow!
2012-09-25 14:26

That’s not a bad idea. The gate video might be better???
2012-09-25 23:49


Can someone produce a sped up (x10) version and sees what it looks like.

I’ve just uploaded a speeded up version of the gate video to youtube.…/

Thanks to Chris Arthur for the original.


2012-09-25 14:14

Na Na Jiggsbro if ye cast yer een owre ma first post ye”ll see that ane an a hauf hours wis fur typin twa lots wi stops fur fuel atween times.

An a hae typit it out an tried tae sen it anither twa times sine. It helps tae gether a bit speed wi the yae finger if naethin else.
Adrian B
2012-09-25 14:31

If you type your longer comments in a word processing document, then you can log in and copy and paste it over.

If you start writing a short comment then click ‘send’ and get the following message; “You have no rights to add a new comment. May be you need to register on the site.”, then highlight the complete comment, right click and ‘copy’, log out, then log in again and paste the comment into the comment box before clicking to ‘send” will work.

2012-09-25 14:51

Adrian B–As a self taught user of this machine who receives a free T.V. licence [this to give you a clue to my age]
I do not have a clue as to what you mean about word processing documents.
As can be seen above other posts are being accepted from me so if I write a short comment it will appear if I click send. The post I wish to send is not so very long.

chickmac—it is always the full post that disapears never when being typed out.
2012-09-25 15:36

As one of the thousands of people gathered between Princes Street and the arena I watched, and commented to my companions on, the undercover agent with the concealed microphone in the collar of his jacket next to his mouth, receive the signal that they were ready for action from the small group of people who, I understand from articles on this forum, were BNP agents??? He immediately reported this on his microphone, presumably to the police who turned up in less than 30 seconds, despite the crush of people, and they being in such numbers and in such a large crowd had no option but to take immediate action to nip any trouble in the bud.
2012-09-25 15:53

This of course was too quick for the media people who I am sure were primed by the same agent, they being hampered by their equipment and the large crowd thus missed filming the very minor scuffle that took place some thirty feet from where we were seated.
Lessons will no doubt be being learned in secret places about what went wrong with the obvious set up.

Note to M15 and/or M16–
I am the elderly man in the Glengarry Bonnet with the White Rose of Scotland pinned to my lapel.
Adrian B
2012-09-25 18:18

I am over 30 years your junior Drumsmudden. I to am largely self taught. To clarify the word processing documents that I was referring to. These are software programs which you can buy to run the simple task of letter writing on a computer (they will of course do much more than letters, but I am sure you get the idea). The best known one is ‘Microsoft Word’ and is available for PC and Mac machines.

Other options include;

PC – Open Office (free to download and use)
– WordPad (simpler version of MS Word, quite capable and probably came installed on your computer)

Mac – TextEdit (now quite an old program, but works on older machines, simple to use and basic)
– Pages (Apples version of Microsoft Word)

Other similar options:…/…

I hope this helps without flooding you with options!

With regard to the gentleman in the gardens on Saturday with the lapel microphone. He would be one of several plain clothes police officers attending the march and rally. The police use quite a lot of plain clothed officers these days as it makes them a lot less conspicuous. They work in many forms of modern policing from catching/observing shop lifters, drug dealers, vehicle theft, they will attend a rally and march like the one we did on Saturday. Their job is to keep a look out for potential trouble and deal with it appropriately. Modern policing goes well beyond the uniformed officers that wear the dayglow jackets. Policing is a much more sophisticated profession than it was even twenty years ago.

2012-09-25 17:39

Aye,Drumsmudden this minds me o a demo that took place for Devo/Independence in the 1970’s when a group of nationalists frustrated on being refused the right to march along Princes St. decided to march anyway. The photographers were desperate to find out who the leaders of this demo were – nae doot for “the files” and it was kinna comical to be asked “are you the leader?” At least nowadays naebody needs to ask for the names of Scotland’s leaders. Fourteen of my family were at the Independence rally and we’ll all be there again in a year’s time. Oh and a wee message tae Alex Salmond – thanks a muckle for the picture we now have of yourself and my 4 month old grandson Lyle. I’m now showing it to folk and saying “Whae’s that wi wee Lyle!” Braw!
2012-09-25 18:18

Indeed. It’s an aspect I had not thought of. It has been a constant feature all the years I have been in the SNP from finding the young firebrand in our branch in 1969 urging violent action was, in fact, an RAF Military Policeman, to being urged at the Paisley North/South by election count to throw the lemonade bottle I was drinking out of by a man who, my companion, a retired police officer, recognised as former colleague and special branch officer,to wondering why a prominent “nationalist” with a history of sending postal bombs has never been subject of an extradition request from the friendly Irish republic to recognising “plants” very close to home in the SNP I think we have to be aware that there is absolutely nothing they will not stoop too.
It would be interesting to know if the Union Jocks who were hustled away by the polis have been charged with anything.
Dave McEwan Hill

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