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The Early Years

The YSI is a youth organisation set up in the 1970s to campaign for Scottish Independence alongside the Scottish National Party (SNP) under the name of the Young Scottish Nationalists (YSN) before changing its name in 1996 under the convenership of Phil Henderson to the Young Scots for Independence when the organisation underwent a complete reorganisation.

Many current prominent members within the SNP have been involved with the YSI.

Notable names include the current party leader and First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning John Swinney and many others.


When the SNP debated NATO membership in 2012, the YSI publicly came out in favour of maintaining the SNP's opposition to membership of NATO on the basis that it is a nuclear alliance.


Our convener at the time, David Linden, was widely quoted in the press as saying:

"We have come to a clear and united decision not to support the resolution in the name of Angus Robertson but, instead, to back an amendment which has gathered support from every strand of our party, including MSPs, councillors, affiliated organisations, elected members of the party and branches stretching from Govan to Shetland."

"The party`s youth wing has a strong and proud history of consistently campaigning against nuclear weapons. The leadership has taken a clear decision to finally bring this policy before the conference in October. Sadly we cannot - and will not - support them on this particular issue."

Despite carrying 48% of the vote, the anti-NATO group lost and the SNP is now pro-NATO membership.

Supporting the Time for Inclusive Education (Tie) Campaign

In 2017, the YSI took forward a resolution to the SNP's Spring Conference supporting the 'Time for Inclusive Education' (Tie) campaign, which supports increasing young people's awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans identities.

The motion was passed by SNP members overwhelmingly and was described as a "historic day" by Tie campaign co-founder Jordan Daly, who has pushed for the government and schools to take action against horrific cases of LGBT suicides and self-harm related to bullying and exclusion in Scotland's schools.

Following on from the successful passing of the motion in 2018 John Swinney the Cabinet Secretary for Education and lifelong learning announced that Scotland will become the first country in the world to embed the teaching of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights in the school curriculum after ministers accepted in full the recommendations of a working group led by the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign.

Raising the age of military recruitment to 18 Campaign

The organisation was also successful in creating the policy would see the party lobby the UK Government “to work towards raising the minimum armed forces recruitment age from 16 to 18 for all roles that require combat training in line with international standards”.

The successful motion back overwhelmingly by SNP members at the Party's annual conference in 2017 also “affirms that this will form a part of the SNP’s defence policy for an independent Scotland.”

Sexual Consent Education Overhaul Campaign

The organisation also took forward a motion which was overwhelmingly passed at the SNP autumn conference in 2018 where members called on the Scottish Government to change the school curriculum by bringing in a new Relationships, Sexual Health, and Parenthood Education subject that will focus on consent between two adults.

The motion on the Scottish Government to set up a working group that will provide a list of recommendations for the new Relationships, Sexual Health, and Parenthood Education subject “that will accurately reflect modern Scotland” and an improving understanding surrounding consent.

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