WITH all the many things said about the anniversary of the referendum it’s hard to believe that the case for independence was crafted some five years ago. Scotland’s Future, or just simply the white paper, now seems to belong to an altogether different political era. Since the white paper there have been two General Elections and a UK vote to leave the European Union. What we now need is a new programme for independence, an independence 2.0, a new blueprint for an independent Scotland.

Scotland in 2017 is an altogether different country from the time of the white paper. This year’s General Election found Scotland apparently weary of constitutional change but at the same time restless for solutions. We saw the Tories’ Unionist campaign opposing a second independence referendum resonate with many of our fellow Scots. We also saw the SNP lose almost half a million votes as our vote came under assault on a number of fronts as Scotland’s political mood became almost impossible to predict

Yet support for independence remains at around 45 per cent, defiantly the same as the 2014 referendum. There are still almost half of our fellow Scots who believe independence is the ultimate destination for our nation and there is no sense that desire for self-government is diminishing.

This is a constituency that urgently requires reassurance and who we need to address and refresh. We need to offer a new prospectus that will re-motivate and inspire. These are people looking for a new way forward for their constitutional ambitions and who are looking to the Scottish National Party to signpost the way to that destination.

We also now know that this is a fragile constituency that can not be taken for granted. We lost a third of our Westminster MPs just as much because independence supporters decided to stay at home, uninspired by what they saw as an agenda that did not meet their constitutional ambitions.

Where we must start is with the realities of Brexit. Brexit will be an absolute disaster for Scotland, cutting average pay by £2000 and resulting in the loss of 80 000 jobs. When the reality of this folly finally becomes apparent, the Scottish people will almost certainly want to fully review and consider all their available constitutional options. The Tories are doing everything possible to uncouple Brexit from a further referendum on independence and that is why we in turn must do everything possible to ensure that connection is seen and felt. As the good ship UK fully collides with that Brexit iceberg, we must make that lifeboat available for Scotland and have it fully equipped and seaworthy.

The first thing we therefore need for Independence 2.0 is a credible post-Brexit vision for an independent Scotland. We will always be a European-inclined nation and the desire to be a full member of the EU must always be our ambition. But we have to carefully craft a road map to match that ambition which realistically reflects the position we will find ourselves in. We also need to be sensitive to the many people in Scotland (including the many SNP supporters) who remain suspicious of the whole EU project.

We need a graduated approach, starting with institutions we can apply to join on day one of our independence. We should say that we would seek immediate entry to the EEA and EFTA while starting discussions about a return to the European Union. We should also say that our membership of any European multi-lateral institution will be kept under review in any ascent up that stairway to full European Union membership.

There are other things we must address as urgent major chapters in Independence 2.0. The fiscal commission is due to report soon and that will hopefully address some of the issues concerning our onshore economy and the still potent issue of the currency in an independent Scotland. So much time and energy was spent addressing currency in the last referendum that we must never again allow the Unionists to hold the whip hand on what we may or may not be “allowed” as an independent nation.

In a post-Brexit UK our land border is likely to replace currency as the top of the ‘we’re not going to let you do that’ list. A Brexitised UK will have the full ability to determine any future border relationship, and is likely to be as unhelpful as possible in how it engages in these conversations. We have to prepare ourselves with solutions for when the UK assumes its isolation and uses borders as political muscle to oppose our independence.


Then there is how we get there, and I notice the impatience of some to have this tested as quickly as possible. Timing is everything and we must seek the optimal time for success, carefully assessing opportunity against risk.

We must also have an unquestionable mandate. This time round the Tory Government is less likely to be so accommodating in granting the same democratic arrangements we secured last time.

This means contesting the next Scottish election with a clear commitment to revisit our constitutional future with a reference to allow Scotland to consider its position when Brexit finally concludes. With transitional arrangements in place, it is likely that the full impact of Brexit will start to become apparent just as we start to contest the 2021 election. We therefore have to seek a renewed mandate in 2021 and have the courage of our convictions to fight the next Scottish election on securing a renewed referendum mandate.

More than anything we need a new case. An Independence 2.0. A properly thought out, considered programme for independence in the 2020s. Independence 2.0 must be positive and realistic, with a strong powerful vision of what we want to contribute internationally predicated on the best inclusive, social democratic traditions of our nation.

We need to demonstrate what we can achieve with the full powers of self Government.

Let’s put the case together and then go out and claim the main prize, a nation of our own.

11 thoughts on “TOWARDS AN INDEPENDENCE 2.0

  1. Peter A Bell

    There is no “Independence 2.0”. There is only independence. And the case for independence is the same now as it was in 2014. Indeed, it is the same as it was when the Union was foisted upon us by the same elites who now intend using the Brexit process to ensure that Scotland is locked into a British state that is increasingly an alien and frightening place.

    There is nothing wrong with the constitutional case for independence. And there never was, nor could there be, an economic case against independence. It is not our arguments that need to be improved – although they should and must be communicated better. What is required is a forensic dismantling of Unionist propaganda. We need to be tearing their ‘arguments’ apart. We should be demanding that they make the constitutional and economic case for Scotland remaining in the Union. And we should attack those arguments.

    We need to go on the attack.

  2. Ealasaid

    If you leave it until Brexit hits and people are losing their jobs in their thousands then people will be too busy scrabbling to save themselves and their families. There is likely to be yet another mass exodus of our youth as there was in the ’80s, as they struggle to find jobs in any country that will take them in.
    Unless it is brought forward, the next Scottish election timing will be too late for a lot of people and consequently as a ‘life boat ‘ for the country. We will have missed the boat.

  3. anyvoices

    Interesting read as always pete will gladly stick it on the anyvoice website with your permission as always

  4. Lizzie56

    We have the mandate, we don’t need another. We need to be out of this union long before the 2021 election when you think we need another mandate. I am both angry and worried that the snp consider they need a new mandate. With that I can only believe you do not speak for the will of the party. Giving the snp has a 3rd term in goverment, overwhelming majority back in Westminster, more snp counsellors and most importantly the mandate sought and given from our parliament, how and where do you think a chance like this is coming along any time soon. Your supporters have done their job and placed the snp in a great position, stop with the back sliding and wavering. So we lost a few MPs, it we had actually counteracted the Davidson mantra on no Indy and got the yes vote out we would not have lost our good MPs. Davidson won, she terrified the snp into not talking about Indy and they didn’t. Shame on my party for letting it happen. The people of Scotland have given the snp this amazing situation, you will see it diminish if you do not take forward this democratic mandate and use it as we leave the EU. Not to do this will see many many peoples lives become impoverished and our economy take a hefty hit. No one wants that to happen.

    Wait until the elections in 2021and you will have alienated many supporters and to try and get a snp or even an indipendance majority, especially using the voting system we have, will be difficult near impossible. So why are you delaying independence given the dire situation scotland is in, given we have the mandate this is a great place to start building the case for independence as we leave the EU. The snp need to start now making the case for Indy now and no one needs to hear of a 2.0 mandate, it’s insulting.

  5. Derick fae Yell

    EFTA/EEA definitely.

    Because if we go into a referendum on a an EU policy we will lose. 62% Remain has not translated into 62% for independence, and will not. We won’t be in the single market if we don’t win.

    We can’t be out of the single market, but the EU is no longer the best way to rejoin that.

    We could be back in the a single market in six months after Independence by EFTA/EEA while a return to the EU would take about 3 years. Returning via the EU route is just too slow.

    I voted Remain but a return to the EU should be parked. Concentrate on getting a Yes vote by focusing on the single market

    Telling the EFTA four that we wish to join, just to immediately leave is not attractive to them. We need to sell the benefits of our membership to them. We have no automatic right to join.

    The EU Commission has shown itself utterly hostile to the independence of Catalonia. Why would they be any more positive towards Scotland?

  6. Rod Robertson

    EFTA is the ideal solution permanently, after the experience of Catalonia many have turned against EU.
    Secondly we have the mandate already ,if there is a delay till 2021 we will lose not only the Holyrood Election but any chance to hold another Referendum.
    We need to be thinking of this time next year at the very latest.
    Personally I would go for Sept bext year.

    1. Peter A Bell

      EFTA is not an alternative to the EU. It is an adjunct to the EU. It merely provides a means of becoming party to the EEA Agreement. Nations do not simply join EFTA. They apply for membership, and this application is subject to the consent of the four existing member states.

      Nor does membership of EFTA guarantee access to the EEA Agreement. This requires the consent of the EU.

      If EFTA allows a nation to join, and if the EU agrees to that nation being party to the EEA Agreement, then said nation may enjoy some of the trade benefits of EU membership but only subject to accepting rafts of regulation without any influence over its formulation.

      Those who imagine EFTA is a way of avoiding association with the EU are deceiving themselves. Without the EU, there is no EFTA. Unless EFTA becomes the EU.

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