A Way Forward

banksy_blind_follow_your_dreamsBy Robin McAlpine

OK, even by my standards this is a rather rapid run-through of how we can pursue the twin-track approach of making Scotland a better place for its citizens and showing them in the process why independence will enable us to do even more. So let me write it down.

I do so with a couple of caveats. I cannot stress enough that things are still falling (it’s not even two weeks since the result) and we need to see where they land. Strategy should always change according to circumstances and we do not yet know all of the circumstances. The second is that anyone who thinks they alone have all the answers is a fool. I’ve spoken to a lot of people in the last two weeks but there will be wonderful thinking out there I’ve not yet heard so I know I have much personally to learn. So these are my thoughts at this moment.

Caveats done, something like a plan might look like:

Now until close 2014

Our first priority must be to remove as much of the unionist powerbase in Scotland as we can, as quickly as we can. It is very sad to say but unionism means full support for the British establishment. Not one of the unionist parties is proposing any fundamental change to the economic or social order in Britain. I admire some Labour politicians and many party members, but they are now in the institution which is the biggest barrier to social change in Scotland. As we saw over the last two years, Labour’s primary function is not to fight on behalf of working people but to channel the votes of working people to support the neoliberal economy of the City of London. So long as Labour can continue to channel the votes of working people in the interests of financiers and right-wing media it will be difficult to achieve any real social change in Scotland.

So let us quickly try and produce a means of clearing out as much of the unionist powerbase in Scotland as possible – which means elected politicians. We should begin by seeking to create an electoral alliance for the 2015 General Election. It will be hard for all concerned but if we can be really honest about who is best placed to beat the unionist candidates on a constituency by constituency basis then a block of at least 30 pro-indy candidates is easily achievable. In most cases that will probably be SNP – but there are quite a few places where that isn’t the case. It might be possible to get a Green candidate or possibly an SSP candidate but often where the SNP are not strong the best bet would be to find an popular local independent candidate. They should stand on a ticket that demotes the party tag to second. So let’s say the alliance was called ‘People’s Scotland’, the ballot paper might say “People’s Scotland: John Smith (SNP)” or “People’s Scotland: Margaret Jones (Independent)”.

The key is the pitch. To win it would need to stand on a platform of ‘we can hold the balance of power – and use it to protect the vulnerable from Westminster’. It would require a shared manifesto platform. There are some things that might be considered for this (Royal Mail back in public ownership, nationalise the National Grid). But at it’s heart should be a call for a one-off wealth tax substantial enough to largely eradicate the national debt and therefore remove the need for austerity (and that tax would mainly hit the super-rich of London). It would stand on a ‘confidence and supply’ basis with Labour – if Labour is the minority government it will back it in votes of confidence and supply votes on a case-by-case basis, dragging Labour to the left.

Scotland would vote for a powerful block of people ready to fight Westminster on this platform. Labour would be in real trouble.

Now until Spring 2016

‘Don’t rock the boat’ was tried as a strategy. It didn’t work. We now need to create a devolved agenda in Scotland which is not small-c conservative but big I inspiring. If we want to make a cast-iron case for more powers then we need to push much harder at the boundaries of the powers we have now. And if we are pitching Scotland as different politically than Westminster, holding back from implementing the worst of Westminster policies is not enough.

So we need a much more ambitious and ‘Nordic’ manifesto for the 2016-2020 parliamentary term. This means bringing together the interests of the maximum number of groups – high-wage policies for low-pay workers, industrial policy for indigenous businesses, housing policies for low-wage workers and young professionals, massive decentralisation and local democracy for everyone, better community planning and service provision for the elderly and so on. It must show what we could be – and make clear what we can’t be with existing powers.

I make no apologies for saying this is what the Common Weal policy project was all about and for stating my belief that it is an essential approach to moving us the next step forward. We have a Common Weal Policy Unit almost up and running and it has already begun work on producing a manifesto for 2016. We aim to have it ready for conference season in the Spring 2015 with a year to go for the election. An agenda which differentiates Scotland from Westminster is essential.

Election 2016

By this point (hopefully) we will have learned the benefits of an electoral alliance – and also have learned the practices that make it possible and effective. We need to use it again. Yet again we need to go constituency by constituency and make sure there is only one pro-indy candidate standing against the unionists. We have independent (or loosely aligned) candidates that can make serious inroads to even the most hard-core Labour areas and we need to use them. So we need to be thinking about a ballot paper that says “People’s Scotland: Allan Grogan or Deborah Waters (Independent Labour)” or whatever we have to break those areas. We need to stand on a shared manifesto – which will certainly take some negotiating but it is not impossible.

Then we stand as ‘with one vote elect your own minority coalition government’ (it would be helpful if no one party had a majority…). We unite on the constituency vote but stand against each other on the list (this will maximise representation). We can win big on this approach.

But at the moment I think we need to stand on a ‘no call for another referendum in this Parliament’ ticket. I just think there is ten per cent plus of the No vote we can take but would be put off at the thought of another rapid referendum.

Now until 2017

With the best will in the world to the White Paper (which I maintain had a lot of good stuff in it), it wasn’t nearly a full implementation plan for independence – and we suffered because of it. We must take a leaf out of the Constitutional Convention book. After losing in 1992 the pro-devolution forces made sure that the next time people voted they had an absolutely cast-iron proposal sitting on the shelf waiting for use. We must do the same. We need to get every element worked out properly with everything from the public sector accounting to the treaty negotiation stance in place.

At its heart (in my opinion) we must accept that we can’t ever go into a campaign again wholly relying on a narrative that involves a currency union we can’t guarantee. Scotland lacks a really strong monetary economist. I’d like to see us (probably the Scottish Government) recruit a world-class monetary economist now with a three-year project to develop a really bullet-proof plan for an independent Scottish currency. And everything else too, from a plan for pensions to a tax model.

That model for independence should be there by 2017 or so, ready for people to understand and be inspired by. Common Weal will certainly be undertaking some work of this sort but this needs to be a shared national project.

Now, ongoing

We then need to make sure that the movement does not dissipate. We are going to need it to be ready to take the next campaign forward in a couple of years. Many people have ideas about how to do that. We’ve outlined some of our thinking at Common Weal – creating places (‘The Common’) to meet and organise and socialise (socialising is important to keeping movements together), creating a powerful social media site (CommonSpace) to enable people to connect, communicate, organise, share information and materials, train and so on.

Beyond that, we all need to find roles, person by person, organisation by organisation. We need to be very careful not to slip back into protest mode – only marching and shouting against austerity which we cannot stop in Scotland is simply asking people to get involved in a campaign that hasn’t in the past reached a wider public and which is doomed to failure. Of course we must do it, but we need positives to win – nationally, locally, community by community.

I would say something here about institutions and media but right now the picture is somewhat crowded. We (at Common Weal) had been thinking about trying to employ a proper news editor and team of experienced journalists to create a news service. However since a lot of others are now talking about similar things we’re going to wait and see what happens – we certainly don’t want to duplicate good work if its already happening.

The same is true of broadcast (or podcast). We need documentary, discussion, news and much more. This movement definitely has the ability to produce it. But it must be good and we must make sure that it amounts to something coherent and consistent. Yet again, I don’t think anyone has a single answer. We’re again waiting to see what plays out and will concentrate (through CommonSpace) on linking to the best of what is there and producing some policy-focussed documentary if we can.

This only scratches the surface of what we need to do collectively to keep motivated, keep active and keep focussed.

2016 – 2020

We have won a big majority as a progressive political alliance which supports independence. We have a strong and inspiring policy agenda which flexes the powers of the Parliament and sets a much clearer political direction for Scotland, moving it further away from the Westminster approach. We make Scotland better, and in the process make it different – and popular with voters.

We also use government to do much more to highlight the failures of Britain. So regularly promoting international comparative statistics, setting targets to bring Scotland up to the level of performance of countries other than Britain and so on. Accepting the UK failure for fear of having to come up with an alternative must end. Lowest state pension in Europe? We NEED to say it very loud and very often.

We also need to use government to highlight the false data used in the campaign. Make sure every new oil price information is publicly compared against what Better Together said it would be. Hound the IFS every time its data projections turn out to be completely false and so on. We need a proper process of undermining institutions which were flexible with the truth.

In 2017 we get the new prospectus for independence. That marks the starting-point for a three-year campaign to get people to support it. That is when we really start to hit the streets again and really push these ideas. The target is to make sure that by May 2020 we have close to 70 per cent support for that prospectus right across Scotland.

2017 – 2020

The work done on the prospectus is just the start. Once it is in place the remaining three years should be used to create a solid, ready-to-go implementation strategy. The UK won’t pre-negotiate, but we don’t need them to. We just put our case together and make sure everyone understands it in detail. List all the treaties and state the position of Scotland. Put in place plans for every transitional arrangement and publish them. Explain our reasonable position on accepting some liability for UK debt and all the rest. If everyone sees it and accepts it is reasonable, the process of negotiating independence should be rapid.

2020

We have our last electoral alliance. We need to continue with a shared manifesto but what that means is impossible to tell from here. But we have one central policy – a fast referendum. We will have been running our own campaign for three years by this point. We will be ready – very ready – to fight a quick referendum campaign.

Scottish Election in May
Independence referendum in September
To all intents and purposes, out by Christmas.

After 2020

And then I really am going to take a holiday.



Categories: Commentary

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120 replies

  1. Scots Soverainers of every persuasion with a common goal.

  2. Robin,
    I am impressed with the strategy and thought within this piece. My background means I may be in a position to help.
    If this is of interest, could you drop me a direct email/msg
    @skinheadcroozer

    Thanks
    SC

  3. Agree almost entirely with this, but two wee points.
    1. I think the 2016 strategy is the wrong way round. I’d leave the SNP to fight every constituency themselves. They’re now a massive party and imo deserve an entirely clear run at that with no competition from anyone else. And I’d want the rest of the pro Yes movement to be grouped under the single banner concept. That is electoral trickery to an extent with there being a clear message to people to vote SNP in their consituency and “Peoples Scotland” on the list. That is how you maximise the pro independence movement in the parliament imo.
    2. I think there has to be a way to democratise politics. I’d run a primary for any Peoples Scotland candidate anywhere they stand. I would have that open to anyone in the area where they’d be standing, not just party members or those associated with the independence movement. Ideas need to be got out to as many people as possible. A non confrontational primary period where those best able to articulate ideas win through would surely increase the electoral viability of the candidates selected and also means that a lot of people would end up being invested in that. And you are letting people know that they have a say in who ends up in power beyond the decisions of political parties… The one restriction I’d have is that the only people who could be put up as candidates would have to come from a group affiliated to the overall aims of the Peoples Scotland movement. You don’t want some fascist right wing sneaking through because they’re pretty and no-one paid attention…

    These things almost feel like nitpicking, because the concept seems completely sound and rational to me. All power to the people…

    • You can’t ask the other parties to completely surrender an election.

      They wouldn’t do it, and I really wish people would stop asking them to.

      You have to work with them, and you have to run the best candidate in each constituency. Otherwise the alliance falls apart.

      I don’t think a primary for each constituency is the best way to determine who is most likely to win that constituency. People will have to swallow their egos and do the hard analysis and math, otherwise this won’t work.

      • To be fair, the Greens and SSP have already essentially given up fighting constituency seats to focus their resources on maximising their regional list vote, so it’s not *that* outrageous to suggest the SNP just be left to get on with winning constituency seats. Many people already vote SNP in the constituency and Greens (or SSP) in the list.

      • Luckily, Holyrood is elected by a PR system that means (more or less) MSPs reflect who people vote for. I’d recommend that if the SSP and the Greens want representation in the parliament they stick with the existing strategy of campaigning for people to vote for them. Same goes for the SNP and other parties.
        I believe one way to ensure that pro-independence MSPs form a minority in 2016 is to try and bypass the proportional electoral system and make the election about Yes/No.

      • There are currently 2 Green MSPs and 0 SSP MSPs. If there’s an informal electoral pact amongst all who voted Yes to vote SNP in their constituency, and Peoples Scotland in the regional ballot the Greens and SSP would both end up with far more MSPs than they’ve got now. As long as the people had decided they were the best candidates to represent them… What I think would be a good thing about the Holyrood elections with a primary would be that the result would be what rank you give people on the list.

        They’d both have a pretty substantial advantage over anyone else in a primary because they’ve got a party organisation behind them.

        I do however agree that there would have to be a giving up of a certain amount of autonomy from these parties. But the return for that would be every chance of actually being able to implement the things they stand for. It also wouldn’t be a “till death do they part” scenario. Plus, they’d be seen as working around their differences and being adults about politics. That looks good to everyone imo.

    • I totally agree with your first point. A quick look at ScotlandVotes.com shows the effect of switching from backing the SNP in the Constituency vote to the Greens in the Regional vote; 50+ SNP and 40+ Green MSPs. Now that’s a power bloc.

  4. “We also need to use government to highlight the false data used in the campaign. Make sure every new oil price information is publicly compared against what Better Together said it would be. Hound the IFS every time its data projections turn out to be completely false and so on. We need a proper process of undermining institutions which were flexible with the truth.”

    I so agree. This undermines counter-arguments before they start; demonstrating that those making them are untrustworthy. Demonstrating this to the electorate is a must for the future, especially if the EU situation gives rise to another possible referendum sooner, rather than later.

    I might add that the accusations of media bias need to be cooled. Whilst I sympathise, it is unhelpful and needs to be turned into something positive. Apart from anything else, it is evident that many people do not understand the BBC Guidelines on covering elections and referendums (which I believe were broken on a couple of occasions, at least), and that people should not tar all at the BBC with the same brush.

    Continuing in this manner will be used as a weapon by those who continue to paint a picture of ‘yessers’ as nazi-style nationalists who want to ban newspapers and other msm that disagree with them, which will inevitably put-off voters, especially when they only see the media from those who happily print such views – as well as any stories or even tweets that suggest ‘yessers’ doing such.

    Quite frankly, future campaigns need to be a bit more professional.

    Similarly, this complaining about vote-rigging has also to stop. Look at the numbers: the Government and its henchman are not capable of orchestrating hundreds of thousands of fake votes. Even if they wanted to, they are too incompetent for that. They would get rumbled. They had to stitch-up the vote with the under-handed tactics pulled during the campaign, not after it.

    The sooner people get past these things, and their own disappointment, the better, as only then will it be possible for sufficient numbers of people to change their minds on independence for Scotland at the ballot box.

    • I think there’s a real need to use common space, media and outlets to encourage better, more effective mediation and communication, as we will really need to engage the community in a way that Yes did not. I was thinking of how there are usually ‘simple rules’ for progressive communication (the following are just a cut and past, with little aforethought. You get the gist)

      -We agree to take turns speaking and not interrupt each other.
      -We agree to call each other by our first names, not “he” or “she.”
      -We agree to not blame, attack, or engage in put-downs and will ask questions of each other for the purposes of gaining clarity and understanding.
      -We agree to stay away from establishing hard positions and express ourselves in terms of our personal needs and interests and the outcomes that we wish to realize.
      -We agree to listen respectfully and sincerely try to understand the other person’s needs and interests.
      -We recognize that, even if we do not agree with it, each of us is entitled to our own perspective.
      -We will not dwell on things that did not work in the past, but instead will focus on the future we would like to create.
      -We agree to make a conscious, sincere effort to refrain from unproductive arguing, venting, or narration, and agree to use our time in mediation to work toward what we perceive to be our fairest and most constructive agreement possible.
      -While in mediation, we will refrain from adversarial approaches

      If not possible at least an atmosphere nurtured where we listen with curiosity and compassion, rather than be on the defensive with judgment already the default stance. The disposition of the campaign is an ambassador in itself, and we have such a wonderful foundation to build on. The theme of alliance and cooperation, through innovative and engaging forums could just see the same cohesion along a tactical vote in a very few months time.

  5. This is a routemap with intrinsic worth, we build as we ‘make it so’, and these things we make are a foundation for our future, the means are inherent in the end.

    There is hard work here for us all (but that would have been the case anyway). I think this is powerful and inspiring enough to sustain us through the coming years.

  6. Excellent prospectus in many ways.
    There is one small point with which I disagree: Scotland doesn’t need to hire a world class (monetary) economist to advise the government about currency. Simple fact is that the SG has had plenty of those. Two Nobel Laureates (one Scottish) on the Fiscal Commission Working Group, for instance.
    Prof. Brian Quinn (ex-Deputy Governor of the Bank of England) did a very good job of shredding the working group’s proposals. It’s not necessary to be a world class economist to run a central bank – but it takes someone who is very competent, trustworthy, and able to triangulate between managing a complex bureaucracy, fending off advice from politicians (even those who are trying to be helpful) and dealing with market regulation.
    The SG could do worse than tap someone like Lord Smith of Kelvin to do this thinking. Or Sir George Mathewson.

  7. ‘People’s Scotland’? Why rebrand the Yes Scotland movement when it exists already? we all know what it stands for. No confusion. Pro-Indy grouping working with the SNP. And under its ubrella banner are all the groups that made it up. It has a name and brand now. We all still have the stickers, the badges, the banners, the flags and so on. so money is saved too. Is this too obvious? Yes Scotland candidates and/or People’s Scotland means the same thing. Same end. Id be happy to support and work with Robin McApline Yes Scotland Candidate for a specific constituency if Robin was to stand. Or Iain McWhiter Yes Scotland candidate. Or Jeane Freeman, Colin Fox and others as candidates. A superb team working in conjunction with SNP colleagues in Scottish constituencies.

    I also think the strategy should be to take one election at a time. Focus immediately on tackling the election in May 2015. Then take stock after we see how well we do. A loose plan framework is a good idea but it will be changed by circumstances. We are in a new era of Scottish politics. New dynamics. We need to start creating the Scotland we visualised: the new Bank of Alba/ Alba Bank or Bank of Caledonia. Set up the company that will explore oil in the West Coast. We need to show our elderly that we will not tolerate or allow our old age pensioners to starve or go cold in Scotland. that there is a world beyond austerity. If another referendum is to occur in several years I for one will not be confident that we can plan again for the whirlwind of Westminster-led abuse that touched down and ripped through the communities of Scotland with such destructive negative poison and force that it stole away the faith and self belief from so many Scots that we were taking such a risk running our own affairs. One step at a time. eradicate as many Westminster austerity politicians from our country as possible in May and take it from there. If we are well ahead with a strong majority, should we be cowards and shy away from UDI?

    • The problem with Yes Scotland is that it is meaningless in a non-referendum context and also in my opinion as a strong yes supporter in danger of becoming a turn off to the middle ground that need convinced that self-governance will firstly be any better and secondly be financially viable. I know many No voters who were seriously affronted by the in your face nature of the Yes campaign and know many Yes and No voters who have no time for the inanity of the ’45’ movement. We were defeated and we need to wash ourselves from the referendum hangover and start afresh. Robin is right to say there is a Chunk of the no vote ready to back such a movement but they won’t be won across by tired slogans.

      • Who says Yes Scotland is meaningless in a non-referendum context? Show me the evidence that this is fact and not opinion? Anyone knows Yes Scotland is not for the Unionist parties. Placing candidates under the banner as outlined by Robin and/or under Yes Scotland is the exact same for anyone who knows about brand marketing, just that one is already up and running so has no start up cost. With all the Facebook pages still in operation – so it has a communication network alive and kicking. This is to be trashed overnight………..the structure of the Yes umbrella groups was not responsible for the defeat, so binning what we have created to start with the begging bowl again makes no sense in my opinion. I am a bit shocked at the description of the Yes Scotland campaign being damned for being ‘in your face’ with ‘tired slogans’. Convince me what these tired slogans are? Obviously some phrases are not usable in the context of a general election, but keeping the over riding issue of Independence on the burner is essential.

        I was part of it and seen none of that. Passion, enthusiasm and politeness everywhere in the carnival atmosphere. Some issues did not penetrate through the media or were not highlighted forcibly in the campaign, such as the McCrone report findings. There is obviously a percentage of people who voted No due to the gravity of the hysterical fear-mongering; not tired slogans. We did not manage to get our information across to them effectively. If we get this analysis wrong now and prescribe solutions that are not required, the entire Yes Scotland movement will die. We can still eject as many Unionists as possible at the election next May if IDEAS from ordinary people are listened to seriously.Kill off the Yes SCotland movement’s structure, information networks and all we created and in my opinion you play into our enemies hands and are in danger of destroying everything we created; a vocal civic democratic voice that is genuinely organic. RIP Yes Scotland……..?

      • How about: Yes Alliance?

    • Perhaps I was a little harsh on the Yes Scotland movement. Of course it is a positive, passionate, organic movement. The point is 55% didn’t vote for it and in my experience (I work with, socialise with many No voters) many of those people found the sheer presence of ‘Yes’ off putting by the end of the election. Perhaps this changes when you move to normal, less confrontational, election campaigns.

      It is possibly only my opinion but the SNP got to where they got in 2011 on the basis of having the most attractive policies and not necessarily because of a referendum pledge. I think the same formula is the best way to approach the next election or two. To win over Labour/Lib Dem no voters you need to run on a ticket that puts policy and not independence 1st which is why I would back Robin’s idea of a fresh slogan. To get over the line if and when the next referendum comes along, we have to as Robin suggests have proven both the potential and also limitations of the Scottish parliament which has not been done to date.

      I take your point that dismantling an existing infrastructure seems counter productive and it is essential to keep people involved but I just can’t get past the thought that running on an independence ticket when there isn’t the prospect or electoral desire for another referendum for at least another 6 years (most optimistic bar an EU exit) but probably more is not a winning formula as it leaves you open to attack for being a single issue movement that doesn’t actually have a plan beyond obtaining independence.

    • I’d like to see Lesley Riddoch as a spokesperson for the nonaligned grassroots movement, able to link up with figureheads from the other non-aligned groups such as Commonweal (Robin), Women for Indy, RIC (JS?) etc. There has to be some coordination, but without the loss of ideas, creativity and spontaneaity that tends to spring from less structured bodies.

    • “Yes Alliance” http://auldacquaintance.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/yes-alliance-in-unity-lies-strength/
      Yes Alliance facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/Yes.Alliance/
      http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/referendum-news/three-snp-msps-say-lets-fight-election-as-yes-alliance.25379994
      Naturally the bulk of the candidates would be SNP. However fighting GE2015 as an alliance would be a nice gesture and maintain the bonds of the Yes campaign.
      It would also be a way of countering the fragmented SLAB/ Tory/ Liberal parties. Unless, they too, form a No alliance. Which gets the SLAB and tories working together again.
      Damned if they do Damned if they don’t.

  8. Only six years until the next holiday, and not a bad plan either. Finally.

  9. This is exactly what we now need – a longer term strategy for another referendum, or Independence by default giving time to set up concrete visible successful scottish institutions, and time for groups to come together. It will also give time for the new alternative media outlets, tv, newsprint or online to bed in and be widely known and used by the electorate. But best of all it will give all us defeated 45% a vision and goal to aim for giving renewed hope….aye it’s that word again…hope but next time hope won’t come into it, it will be ‘belief’.

  10. The Scottish government should increasingly act like an independent government in order to further evolve institutions and people to that reality while simultaneously removing the uncertainty of the unknown.
    Notwithstanding the new powers that Holyrood may or may not gain from Westminster there are mechanisms such as varying the income tax that have not been used.
    A good example is that Scotland can now issue it’s own government bonds. I believe up to £3 bn in value.
    While it is likely that Scottish bonds would incur a slightly higher interest rate than UK Gilts in the absence of a Scottish central bank to back stop them (although after independence they could very likely be lower due to Scotland’s current account surplus versus rUK’s deficit) I suspect that any “UK premium” would be small and would at one stroke remove the actual uncertainty of what interest rate would apply to people’s mortgages post indo.

    The Scottish government needs to be bold with financial initiatives like these which will demonstrate a fully working financial operation different from the UK and thus removes the uncertainty that surrounds it which ultimately lost us the referendum

    • I totally agree with the idea of the Scottish Government acting like an independent government as much as possible. I’ve always suspected there’s been a fear of making too much of a success of devolution, in case people start thinking we don’t need independence after all; but the reality is the more independent we feel, the more likely we are to want to complete the process.

      • @Doug

        Aye, if you bring about positive change, then that helps to create a climate where major constitutional change is seen as less threatening. There is scope for significant land reform under the present arrangements, Andy Wightman has said that a lot of measures could take enacted at Holyrood under the current powers in this area.

      • Aye, with the referendum past, there’s no real need to keep trying to avoid scaring the horses, so we should be making sure the land reforms are as radical as possible.

        After all, the landed classes voted No in large numbers. So fuck ’em.

      • We just need the resources though for this to be meaningful. We could try to create an Alba Bank, or Bank of Caledonia. Lots of people would put their monies into that and wages. We could also think very seriously of creating a new trade Union for all of Scotland which is pro-Independence and will do something for the unemployed and those suffering under the hell of foodbanks. Id be happy to design the database for such a union, but some pro-Indy experience from STUC would be essential to kick it off. No union has ever help protect the unemployed in the past – they have reflected class elitism even within the Labour movement: ie ASLEF and the NUR. A General Scottish Workers Union could be set up. There are lots of things we could do. Ideas change the world. The most powerful thing we did with Yes Scotland was start to create the VISION of a New SCotland. Please let us NOT LOSE THAT VISION but keep creating it where we can.

      • That’s what happened with New Zealand. There came a point that they were effectively independent because of all the powers that were taken up by them, so they gradually became independent. They have no “independence day” as such

    • This. And Patrick Hogg below. One of the sticking points was the idea of currency. To back this a figure of £30 billion was suggested. I would make the creation of a local currency – even a digital currency like bitcoin a priority. “e-Groats” perhaps. In combination with that I would suggest the creation of a National Investment Bank be another priority. Grow the economy – especially the green economy.
      In short don’t wait for powers to be devolved to Scotland. Take them!

      • A groat was worth four old pence.

        now an e sovereign, that would make more sense, particularly if it was a Scottish One.

      • A Unicorn (Unchained!), maybe? How much would that be worth against a Groat or a Sovereign.

      • This is the main point that I keep banging on about.
        Scotland must create an independent savings and investment bank. without this basic institution in place we will continue to have NO CHOICE. That strange Liar of a man who pretends to be SO switched on MR VINCE CABLE promised the BRITISH PEOPLE a new type bank as an alternative to the bust corrupt BIG 6. after 5 years what have we got a big fat ZERO. Oh! the postoffice was sold to there mates in private equity! SOME BUSINESS SECRETARY!!!! lets stop talking about this and make it happen.
        I am desperate to move all of my money out of the Bank of Scotland as is my rather large family.

  11. The human dynamo that is Robin McAlpine, what an inspiring chap.

    I’ve been very impressed with many of the reports Common Weal has produced, and I’m happy to support them all.

    My question is, why should we expect the SNP to stand on a cross-party ticket ?

    Despite losing the referendum, they gained a significant 45% of the vote, their membership numbers have gone through the roof and polls are predicting them to be extremely successful in the General Election next year. Approval ratings are ok, Nicola Sturgeon is well respected and will undoubtedly bring a new lease of life and in the meantime, the ‘vow’ is dragging unionist parties into places they’d rather not be. Labour in particular look as though they’re losing much of their core support.

    Maybe it’s time to reflect on who and what the SNP are and what they stand for ? ( independence is the common denominator, but how many are left,right, in the middle, pro-business etc)

    Could they find the thought of a ‘general alliance’ with candidates who are opposites in the political spectrum a step to far ? Labour have been damaged by standing shoulder to shoulder with the Tories, could the same now happen with the SNP in standing with far left or independent candidates ?

    I’d really appreciate some analysis on the SNP or indeed, from the SNP as many of these plans seems to hinge on their co-operation.

    • I’m with you, tartanfever, both in your praise of Robin/The Common Weal but also on the issue you raise regarding the SNP. My own policy is, ‘Keep Calm and Vote SNP’. They’ve performed better than any other party in the UK, they’re pulling in the same direction, have excellent people, and – by political party standards – they avoid scandals. There are SNP members who are not progressives, just like there are people who voted Yes who are not progressive. In that sense, it’s a party that is the embodiment of the Yes movement. We make a mistake if we try to label the Yes movement a left-wing or progressive movement. It’s much more than that. We need to reach out to everyone, whatever their political persuasion. If we don’t, we risk the entire movement.

    • I come at this with absolutely no knowledge of what the answer is, but I will have a guess.

      The SNP are in favour of independence. They’ve gathered a pretty huge chunk of support post referendum.

      But I think they can’t deliver it by themselves. We just watched the campaign being dominated by the continual conflation of the SNP with the Yes campaign. The areas which ended up as a quagmire for the Yes campaign were to a large extent SNP policy positions (currency, Corporation Tax cut, EU membership). Now they weren’t necessarily bad ideas, but a plurality of ideas which have representation in Westminster and Holyrood that do not rely entirely on a single party has to be a better alternative than being almost entirely reliant on any political party not making a misstep.

      The more a party is in power the more people it will alienate through decisions it has to take. There was a reason the No side kept on saying “Yes = SNP”. There was a reason the papers continually portrayed every bad headline generated by project fear as “a blow for Salmond”. It’s a lot easier to demonise if you have one party to focus on because a significant number of people aren’t going to like that party to start with. That becomes a lot trickier if there’s something representing what became the non-SNP grassroots campaigns. That is impossible to attack from the left, and a lot of Labour voters who self-identify as left wing might have voted Yes, but a majority didn’t…

      The SNP by themselves can’t destroy Labour in Scotland. It’s too tribal for too many for that to happen. But between them a broad left coalition & the SNP could. IMO.

      In my opinion it’s entirely in the SNPs interests of creating the conditions for an independent Scotland to exist for there to be fellow travellers who can espouse a far more radical intepretation of independence than they will. I’m not convinced about there being a long term coalition, but I don’t think it will be wildly oppositional between the SNP and any broad movement. For starters it might be pretty tough for the SNP to get a majority by themselves in Holyrood, a solid pro-independence block on the left would mean they could comfortably exist as a minority government… And run a referendum whenever conditions arise to mean it would be won.

      A centrist (but still way to the left of the ConDemLab coalition) SNP and broad left pro independence movement can argue over what form independence should take. And removes “SNP in government forever” arguments to boot.

      As I say, it’s a guess, but I do think there’s plenty of valid reasons for the SNP to embrace a different form of pro-independence movement who can reach other people that they don’t.

      • You make a strong argument, wee162, I have to admit, thanks. If it would work and make independence more likely, then great. But if I can spin the thing around a bit – one could argue that the message the SNP was trying to drive forward was, at times, being damaged by other, well-meaning, voices on the Yes platform. The mass media and the No side (if they’re separable) lapped up e.g. the ‘nonsense on stilts’ quote which Galloway picked up on and used to beat up the SNP’s currency argument. Amongst talk of creating a socialist Scotland, allies dissed the White Paper, which again created confusion and renewed doubt (magnified by the media) in the minds of voters. To that end, a single party like the SNP is more easily able to maintain discipline. But if wider Yes political representation can be built-up around rock-solid discipline on any future independence policy, then great. What we need more than anything is unity on that policy/any future White Paper.

    • “Despite losing the referendum, they gained a significant 45% of the vote”

      Let’s not start speaking like the MSM. The SNP didn’t get 45% of the vote – Yes did.

      • Apologies Doug, quite right.

        Reading between the lines of your reply, are you saying we don’t need the SNP ? (which after all, is my question)

    • @tartanfever

      I would not link the SNP directly with the 45 per cent in the referendum who voted Yes. Up to 37 per cent of SLAB voters voted Yes. They helped make the vote possible though.

      • Holyrood need to get better at publicising existing devolved powers and the details of the budget constraints they are under so that more people in Scotland can understand and debate hard choices we need to make on spending and to underscore the constrictions of present situation so that federalism or independence are understood as a sensible way forward

      • Another one, yeah ok 45% voted Yes, not SNP – sorry everyone. Any chance of someone putting forward a thought to my question ?

  12. Hmmm seems Robin has been reading my mind or me his… I agree with most but do not think the parties can form an Alliance party – Political Parties are different for a reason and and any alliance may lose as much support as it gains. I have been putting strategy thoughts down on a blog: http://59byeelections.wordpress.com/

    I am particularly interested in the ‘Independent Candidate’ approach for hard to crack constituencies and would suggest the good Mr McAlpine may be one along with other YES stars : Jeane Freeman, Cat Boyd, Brian Cox, any others???

    Would appreciate any feedback on the blog.

    • Others including – if they support this plan and are willing to stand – Carol Fox, David Hayman, Iain McWhirter, Pat Kane, Lesley Riddoch, Blair jenkins and Colin Fox. The idea as expressed that we need to bin Yes Scotland is not very well thought through and certainly not evidence based. Anyone ever done some basic marketing work? Structures exist for information on FB – email database etc. Yes can be re-launched specific for the election in May.Or it is binned and we get the begging bowl out to redesign another grouping People’s Scotland? Commonsense might be a good idea………….

  13. Great article…cept the wee picture should read ‘postponed’ not cancelled…

  14. I’m ssp and Ric, tartan fever, and if you think everyone who voted yes were snp you are mistaken. I don’t even think all snp voters voted yes.
    I’m all for a yes alliance, I just hope we keep working together, rather than the the idea that only the snp have answers. While I may be ‘far left’ to you, to my local community, I’m a socialist.
    The ‘fuck you, youre not snp’ attitude is playing into the hands of Westminster.
    If you want to divide the yes vote, we’re not going to win anything, ever.
    I would like us to work together, not against each other. X k

    • Hi Kevin,

      I don’t see anyone saying ‘fuck you, you’re not SNP’, especially me as I’m not an SNP voter. I suggest you calm down. If anything, that’s exactly the kind of language that will ‘divide a Yes’ as you put it. It’s a perfectly rational question I’ve posed don’t you think ? You do the SSP and RIC no favours jumping down people’s throats.

      You are completely correct, all Yes voters don’t vote SNP. but the flip side is that many No voters do vote SNP – for the Holyrood elections.

      We seem to forget that while the Yes campaign is a broad movement, the SNP are not. They are a political party with a fairly tight agenda. What if that agenda doesn’t stretch to this kind of cross party alliance ? What if the SNP has decided that the best plan for them is to concentrate winning over the Tory vote in Scotland that lies in the over 65 age group ? Or the middle classes ? – These are hardly the demographic that will vote for a hard line socialist.

      No-one has asked the SNP what they think, and it kind of seems obvious without that answer we can’t move forward. You certainly can’t just jump to an assumption that we have the answers and they must follow us.

    • Personally I don’t see the point of a ‘yes alliance’ between the SNP and the SSP/Greens – I think it’d alienate voters in the same way that the left-wing skewed indyref campaign strategy alienated the majority of Scottish voters in the referendum. Better for the SNP to present themselves as a centrist party of government than a pressure group still fighting the referendum. Holyrood’s PR election system provides small parties such as the SSP with the ideal platform on which to win support for their vision – good luck.

      • I agree.

        One of the anecdotes Tommy used in his speeches concerned a No voter who said “I’m voting No because I don’t like the SNP.” – which Tommy, rightly, poked fun at. But it’s just as relevant to highlight the ridiculousness – in the context of the Referendum – of people who said “I’m voting Yes, but I don’t support the SNP.”
        The Referendum was about independence, period. Straying into arguments about SNP policy does damage to the Yes movement. The SNP supports independence and is the largest ‘independence’ political party. Why can’t people just support them and be done with it? Post-independence, by all means let’s have a national debate about how left-wing we want our new democracy to be.

      • Because the SNP don’t represent me well politically. I’m fine with them on social justice for the most part, I’m completely with them on independence, but I don’t agree with them on economic policy. Why should I vote for a party which isn’t the closest one to my political perspective?

        However, if there’s an electoral pact which says that SNP voters will support people who are closer to me politically on say the regional ballot for Holyrood I’ll happily vote SNP. Otherwise, why would, or indeed should, I?

        I didn’t vote Yes to get an SNP government embedded into Scotland as much as the Labour Party were after not enough people agreed with me. I voted Yes because I want a fairer society. The SNP can and should be part of trying to get that, but they won’t be the only part.

    • Yeah, we have to avoid People’s Front of Judea syndrome …

  15. I think as a model of moving forward there are alot of if’s a but’s and a lot of unknown’s Robin. I also wouldn’t recommend posting in the public domain what your strategy is going to be. Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems can read this just as much as the 45%. The SNP have 80 years experience on this and one of the reasons they’ve been so succesful is that they keep their strategies close to their chest.

    Also, election results can sometimes muddy the waters. I think because of the land slide victory the SNP had in the election. They were mis read that result and that a YES vote was going to happen.

    You’ve skipped the main part which is reflection. It is okay to dive in straight away and go full speed ahead full of passion and hope and a thinking strategy. However, have you really stood still and refelcted on the result ? 2 million people voted NO.

    This is important ! There should be a very concerted effort to listen. No strategy should even be thought about until a professional period of listening has been carried out. In my view listening excercises, meetings,conferences, marketing, door to door, mail shots and many more broad structures should be implemented. You have to find out why 2 million people voted NO.

    It would aslo be very helpful and useful to offer a olive branch to the NO voters to play an active and leading role in these listening excerices. There must be groups run by ordinary people like Women against independence and business against independence that we can invite. We need to find out during these listening forums why people voted NO. I can tell you this right now Labour will be finding out from every corner of the country why people voted YES. Then they’ll put these reasons in their manifesto. The Labour machine will go to work. We need to do the same. The SNP need to do the same.

    Otherwise, we will just entrench NO voters views and it will be harder in the long run for them to support independence. If a long term strategy is to put in place like the one above where we only concentrate on getting the things we want then it won’t work. Just by creating what we want, we would be in danger of riding rough shod over 2 million people as if they were duped or daft or scared and we know better.

    During the listening forums we need to respect their views and their beliefs. More importantly we need to find some common ground that we call all work from. It is imperative we listen to their concerns and why they voted NO and then build a strategy around that. Any political party that has been kicked out of office for the last 50 years has done exactly that. Listening excercises are far more important than election results even more so if you win an election. Focus groups played a large role in the referendum.

    The polling 2 years ago suggested that over 70% of the population wanted more powers to be given to the Scottish government. There’s your common ground. You need to listen to find out why they didn’t want all of the powers and their own country. This has to be the starting point for any long term strategy.

    Once you find out why 2 million people voted NO. Wether it was because of the currency issue, pensions, oil, savings, education and the NHS. You then build a strategy to answer those concerns and you start talking to those 2 million people through the channels you suggest. It’s all well and good trying to destroy the unionist parties in elections and setting up new media content and pursuing political policy but what is the point of all that if you haven’t listened to the 2 million voters to find out what they want and why they voted NO.

    If you don’t listen in a professional and high profile way. Then you are in danger of having all the answers that you think they need to hear which are YES voters views and YES voters alone. Which leads onto the danger of creating another echo chamber that is used to trample over any different view.

    We know exactly why so many people voted YES. We know every reason and nearly every thought process to get there. We lived it and breathed it for years. Yet we haven’t a clue why 2 million people voted NO. Yes, we can guess and pigeon hole them and try and begin to think why they voted NO but we don’t really know.

    If you don’t believe me then ask yourself this. How many NO voters know why we voted YES. Just read the internet forums and the comment sections in newspapers and read why they think why we voted YES as they pigeon hole us. Most of what they say couldn’t be further from the truth and we are probably guilty of doing exactly the same thing.

    Sometime soon these two versions have to clash and clash they will. The best way to do that is by listening and engaging and then acting. It would be such a waste just to let them clash in the voting booths. It’s not going to be easy as passions ran high and economic minds were at war and life time dreams were crushed. Regardless, It needs to be done and bridges need to be built over the troubled waters below. In any relationship in any circumstance listening is the skill that goes unoticed and often ignored and not even tried. All people want to do is speak to get their point across, but it is the ones who listen that keep their relationships together.

    • Wise words, Derek. But instead of listening forums, can’t we ask GCHQ to provide us with the phone calls and email messages of the No voters? It could be a lot less messy that way.

    • I think this is an important step. I think the answers are staring us in the face however but too many on the yes side are unwilling to open there eyes and see it. Put very bluntly it is because a yes vote involved a lot of personal risk to a lot of people and no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves everything would have been OK from financial sector jobs to university funding to renewable subsidies to pensions to oil prices (and I maintain most of them would have been fine) the simple truth is a fair amount of people probably would have been negatively impacted in the short term with a yes vote and legitimately a lot of people were unconvinced that any gains were enough to outweigh the risk of them or their family being among the unlucky ones.

      So to put it another way to win next time you need to more clearly get across how things would be better and also have robust answers to legitimate concerns.

    • Derek, Your comments and thoughts are, IMO. the best thought out and informed of this whole page, I apologise for not making comment on it before now. Very busy with work this week.
      I agree with all of your comments we must listen to the NO side or we will never move forward or convert any more people to the YES side. The Idea that the Yes campaign has all the answers has just been proved wrong WE LOST. So, if we want more people to convert to our way of thinking then we have to listen to them and stop the condescending preaching that I am hearing so much. WE voted YES we are cool! You No voters are dullards with no ideas, no better than sheep. PLEASE COME ON!
      Lets get this together! Wipe our tears, If we want a more fair more inclusive society then we must be Fair and include ALL of the people, Right wing, Left wing, Old, Young, Black, Brown,Green, Red!
      We do this by FIRST listening, Then discussing, then debating, Then and only then forming policies that will take us forward with an inclusive agenda for an Independent Scotland that will include the hopes and aspirations of us All.
      As for the debate on tactical voting I have seen this back fire before splintering and alienating campaigns. I have been a life time 3rd generation Labour voter and Trade unionist. I have been to all the recent rallies in both Edinburgh and only yesterday in Glasgow. I have talked to as many people from all parties as I can to try and get as big a cross section of the views and opinions as I can.
      I have struggled and wrestled with my conscience on who to support and who to vote for and I am Now strongly leaning to the SSP. They seem to have the right ideas and are the closest to my politics.
      I am however going to attend the meetings and I hope there party conference To LISTEN some more before I make up my mind. I am not interested in rhetoric and old style soviet socialism. I had enough of that in the 1970’s
      That said just look at what is happening in South America, in Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela etc, Socialism is finding its voice again and its place.

      Lets keep this up Guys this is so exciting Great Comments, Great Debate, This is democracy in action.

  16. Not a lot of committment to participatory democracy or social justice in these comments, mainly from men, possibly often men used to making decisions for others without consulting them very much.

    The Common Weal boardroom and academic model of change has anti democratic potential, middle class dominance and inertia almost built in. Radical Independence, Women for Indy and others are suddenly unmentioned fringe groups. Individuals disappear. Independent labour? labour in by back door. No sense women leaders are anticipated, excepting Sturgeon.

    If power is left to the SNP and various backroom deals between leaderships , people get what? certainly not a new order. Could be the Glasgow turn out reflected the attitude that the middle or upper class always wins an election and the working class always loses it. Seems to me a lot of these posts would confirm that.

    i can’t see why the big reasons people voted no are remotely a secret – currency policy chaos, pension fears & other generational issues, oil scares, oppositional media, labour & establishment political intervention & ‘the vow’ are all big elements. A recent study said the vow was a big factor for the changing of Yes to No. So overall maybe uncertainty re possibility that things might get harder, not easier – together with the the idea that there would be something close to indy without the risk – why No chosen by majority.

    R McA addresses well the need to make a more unified case for what independence will broadly deliver, but could possibly hand near total power to SNP as a managerial class.

    • @kate

      This is the board of Common Weal:

      Cat Boyd, trade union activist and co-founder of Radical Independence Campaign

      Ross Colquhoun, Director of National Collective

      Malcolm Fraser, architect and Founder of Architects for Change

      Pat Kane, musician, writer and member of Yes Scotland Board

      Isobel Lindsay, vice-convener of Scottish CND

      Ivan McKee, Director, Business for Scotland

      Peter McColl, Scottish Green Party

      Lesley Orr, Engender and researcher in gender based violence and wider gender justice

      Tommy Sheppard, Stand Comedy Club

      Mike Small, Editor of Bella Caledonia

      Elaine C Smith, actor and Board Member of Yes Scotland

      Willie Sullivan, Compass Scotland and Electoral Reform Society

      Phillippa Whitford, cancer surgeon and NHS Yes

      Jean Urquhart, independent MSP

    • A broad approach can work with a Yes/SNP alliance for the next election, as a first step and it would surely include quality candidates such as Lesley Riddoch, Jeane Freeman, Cat Boyd, Carol Fox, Michelle Thomson and many others. Ability is the key for me, but if we can get gender balance then excellent. From a simple organisational stance, it does require senior people in both groups agreeing for this to work. I am an SNP councillor, and will say that if we as a party cease to reflect the best interests of the people of Scotland, boot us out of power and get better people in. Democracy and country first for me always. It is wooly thinking to ditch Yes Scotland over the cliff without seriously sitting round the table and working out every potential positive we can develop from what we achieved. The wonderful thing about Yes Scotland was not its leaders, or weary foot-soldiers like me, who tramped for years, but the 1000’s who came out of the communities in the last months or so and made it a national civic movement who were wanting their country back. We lose that voice and energy at our peril. The flame must be kept alive and nourished……….by a Yes Scotland/SNP agreement on candidates for the election in 2015. Win a majority on May 7th then decide where we go.

      The Way Ahead has to include a plan to get the message out there that SCotland will not go to sleep and obey labour’s tactic of telling us YOU MUST VOTE LABOUR TO STOP THE TORIES. RED OR BLUE, THEY ARE ALL TORIES.

  17. Robin – This is a wonderful piece of strategic forward thinking. Well thought out and well worth following. Thank you.

  18. An excellent strategy; practical, well thought out and something we can all work towards. Personally, I’m 100 percent behind it and more than willing to help in some way.

  19. The timing doesn’t work. You say the SNP should stand in 2016 on the basis of no referendum in that parliament, but then you call for a referendum in 2020. Parliaments last for 5 years now, so the 2016 parliament will not dissolve until 2021.

    • Not quite. The date of the 2015 Scottish Election was put back a year, but the parliamentary terms have not officially been changed to five years yet, so the next Scottish Election is still scheduled for 2020.

      That might change, since 2020 is also expected to be when the next-but-one UK Election is held, but that’s not been decided yet.

  20. Hi Robin,

    A few things.

    1) I agree that some sort of deal between the yes parties in 2015 is a good idea, but I don’t particularly see why there needs to be a joint manifesto.

    2) Likewise, I don’t think there needs to be a joint name – changing the name on a ballot paper is really dangerous. I don’t see why it couldn’t just be “SNP (a peoples’ Scotland)” or “Scottish Green Party (a peoples’ Scotland” or whatever.

    3) I think it’s important to actively consider that we need to build a hegemonic pro-yes politics, in the same way as we currently have a hegemonic pro-union politics. If we’re going to rid Scotland of unionist parties, then we *can’t* allow them to just be replaced by the SNP. We have to have two or more significantly sized pro-independence parties, all fighting it out, so that Scottish political debate is between people who all support independence. Of course, if for example, the SNP offered to stand down on the list in exchange for Greens not running in constituencies, then I’d argue Greens should agree, but the point here has to be to build up a multi-party pro-independence politics, not to turn Scotland into a de-facto one party state/one pary plus a few other much smaller ones, entirely dependent on its generosity…

    thanks,

    Adam

    • Hi Adam

      I entirely agree with your point on not changing names on the ballot paper and think a joint manifesto would pretty much kill off the potential for an electoral alliance.

      I’ve argued for some time that a prerequisite for independence is the development of a Scottish political culture involving more than one large pro-independence party, which is why I was in favour of Cat Boyd’s of channelling some of the energy of the indyref into the launching of a mass participatory Podemos type party of the left. Podemos has shown that such parties can grow very quickly and this would be crucial if we are hoping to replace the unionist parties with pro-independence alternatives within Robin’s tight timetable.

  21. “remove the need for austerity”

    There is no need for austerity – the British government is sovereign in its own currency. It can run continuous budget deficits continuously and sustain any level of debt without defaulting. It *cannot* involuntarily default. Concede that there is a med for austerity and you have already conceded too much.

    “Scotland lacks a really strong monetary economist. I’d like to see us (probably the Scottish Government) recruit a world-class monetary economist now with a three-year project to develop a really bullet-proof plan for an independent Scottish currency.”

    It should be an MMT theorist. They are at the forefront of contemporary monetary economics. Someone from the University of Missouri Kansas City.

    Also, Phil Pilkington is journalist and economist who has written an excellent paper outlining how Scotland could engineer a phased transition to a new floating currency, involving an initial period using sterling, followed by a dual currency period which would allow the new currency to stabilise in value so that debts could be redenominated in it before being fully adopted. It also outlines measures that could be taken to stabilise the Scottish economy in the event of short term oil price fluctuations, which might otherwise force the government into a sovereign debt crisis due to a deterioration in the balance of trade. He says he showed it to Scottish government officials, but got the impression that no one wanted to see it during the referendum campaign (probably because it pointed out the dangers inherent in a currency union).

    I’ll send you an email. The MMT approach is something Common Weal could definitely do with adopting, IMO.

    • Good point about austerity. In my view the Yes campaign could have made much more of its anti-austerity credentials. An expansionary economic model in an independent Scotland could have shrunk the debt by spending more: this sounds like a paradox but isn’t when you consider that the British debt continues to rise *because* of Osborne’s cuts: higher benefits payments and lower tax revenues militated against reduction of the national debt (which is actually not the main issue. Total private debt is four times higher). An independent Scotland could have done things differently, but its main protagonists seemed to buy in to the lower-spending agenda.

      More broadly, you and Robin are right to focus on the economics. I don’t think the Yes campaign stated its case well enough. Economic worries clearly fuelled potential no-voters’ fears. Post-referendum polls showed that 47% of no-voters said the economy was their biggest reason for rejecting independence.

      There’s a real need to understand that mainstream economics is dominated overwhelmingly by a particular school of thought — neoclassical — which tends to be predisposed toward particular outcomes. Broadly neoclassical economists tended to be against independence, failing to highlight things like the multiplier effect, hysteresis (the idea that skills and capital permanently degrade in a recession), the dynamic gains from industrial policy and the importance of and stimulating demand and investment.

      So I think it’s slightly misplaced to suggest that Scotland needs just any old monetary economist. There are plenty of ‘world class’ international economists in Scotland, such as Glasgow’s neoclassical Ronald McDonald who worked for Better Together.

      What is needed, as you suggest, is an economic perspective whose theoretical underpinnings are more realistic and who consider a broad range of economic schools of thought. The UMKC economists are excellent, and Modern Monetary Theory is one possibility, but it’s not the only one. I have slight reservations about the rather positivist leanings of MMT enthusiasts. They tend to write as if they have found ‘the answer’, when it’s likely that no-one really has unique access to the truth. Economics isn’t a positive science like physics. A plurality of economic perspectives is needed. So rather than a single ‘world-class monetary economist’ it would seem to me that a think tank or economic group should be established based on a pluralist economic methodology, and tasked with things like the establishment of a “bullet-proof plan for an independent Scottish currency”. Big names like Stiglitz’s help, but the wisdom of a group, considering a variety of perspectives, may be better.

      • I think I know what you mean about done of the MMTers, but to be fair, I’ve always found them a lot better at making the distinction between fact and theory in their writings than most orthodox economists! But I agree that a plurality of views would be best. Steve Keen might be a good one tohave on board. But they should be heterodox views certainly, and should present the *actual* alternative to austerity, which as you point out is fiscal *expansion*. Any fiscal contraction amounts to austerity, even if it is progressively targetted, like a wealth tax. I’m all for a wealth tax as a means to limit the concentration of private power, if nothing else, but such a contraction should be offset against spending increases and tax cuts elsewhere that put money in the pockets of the poor. Get VAT to f***, for example.

        But there really needs to be a converted effort to challenge the “deficits bad, surpluses good” mantra. No sector of the economy can run a surplus unless the other sectors collectively run a deficit against it. Imagine a closed economy work only a private and a public sector. What happens to the private sector when the government runs a surplus?

    • Spot on, and very good advice.

      I’d suggest Bill Mitchell from the University of Newcastle, Australia as a first choice rather than one of the UMKC crew. Not that someone like Kelton or Wray would be a bad choice – they’re definitely not neoliberals – but I think Mitchell might be a slightly better fit politically, given Common Weal’s overall goals.

      http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?page_id=2

  22. Hi Robin
    I would love to see a hunger march to downing Street in wake of more benefits cuts and restrictions any ideas his to get this going. Also challenge IDS and Osbourne and Cameron up here to visit a benefit claimant or two for tea! Is there an infrastructure for these ideas to take off?

    • There good ideas in this…….I wonder however if I am alone in feeling uncomfortable at being lectured (maybe I can’t get Robin’s didactic speaking delivery out of my head) as if everyone else isn’t already working on these ideas
      No doubt arrangements for the upcoming alliance including a name will emerge……but “People’s Scotland”?

      • I don’t think you’re alone, John. I sense danger ahead. I think we need to take stock more. Everyone is still sore.

      • Recalibration of YES SCOTLAND is the answer and possibly a re-focus around the banner of Yes to include all the extant groups therein. We might as well go back to the Thomas Muir QC days of the Friends of the People if we are to stamp another name on the Yes Scotland movement. I have asked so many people to keep their Yes badges, Yes posters, Yes flags, Yes-T-shirts and so on in order that we keep this movement going along with the different groups….but we need to await the DISCUSSIONS and agreement that must take place for this to happen. Patience…….

        Let’s keep the crystal ball away for a while and not kick Commonsense into touch yet. Yes Scotland for Independence candidates for May 2015 would save a lot of money with people ready to go campaigning. Okay recalibrate some of the focus if we must since may 7th is not a referendum. But in some constituencies should it not be a simple judgement day of reckoning for Labour’s sell outs?.My manifesto for Ian Davidson is not long winded: Get Him Out of OFFICE! Simple..

  23. Excellent article – and it goes part of the way towards developing a resilience.

    One of the phrases I have heard bandied about is ‘live independence’
    Part of this process must involve investing in Scottish Civic Society and so disinvesting in Unionist organisations as far as is legal – those of you with cars must pay tax on it and so on but where we have discretion targeting resources to organisations and companies who are committed to being within the independent Scotland. Cancelling partisan publications like the Guardian and the New Statessn and buying the Scottish Press or creating new media.

    Putting business the way of genuine Scottish based financial situations, putting money in charities whose HQ is in Scotland.

    The point about reflection being missed is appropriate:
    Salmond achieved astonishing things but had become a liability – one of the most common reasons for voting ‘no’ I heard was visceral dislike for him. We must not allow the SNP leadership to become so associated with one man.

    I think we had organisational failing – almost one of pastoral care – and that on election day was the mechanism for getting the vote out – I have no idea if a free to the polls taxi/ life service was set up with people getting waverers to the polls. The lower vote in Glasgow suggests to me a failure to get the vote out – I live no where near Glasgow so I have no way of knowing.

  24. Robin – the SNP are still in power in Scotland. This is an important factor. They will be in power until May 2016, which is 18 months away. I’m surprised so few in the Independence movement are making demands of them to use the powers that currently exist to prepare the way for a 2016 win and a radical shift in the power balance.

    A Land Value Tax to replace the Council Tax is the most obvious one, since it generates additional income, as is decentralisation of local government powers away from the 32 megalithic councils to genuinely local/community level.

    If the SNP decide to go in for hold-the-line managerialism for the next 18 months, while the WM onslaught continues, then they may find it harder to get another overall majority. Scotland won’t stand still for the next year and a half. And rest assured the Red Tories and corporate media will seize on any inertia or backtracking.

    KW

    • Good points. Nicola’s likely appointment as new leader gives the SNP the chance to set a different path, away from the “don’t scare the horses” strategy and onto a “let’s show how Scotland could be different” strategy. There are certain sections of society that will simply never support a Yes vote, so who cares if they start feeling uncomfortable because of talk of tax increases etc?

      People are going to expect Nicola to tread a more radical path than the SNP have trodden the past few years. I think the (immediate) future of the independence movement may hinge on her not shirking that opportunity.

    • I love reading all your points of view, each one more interesting than the other but: all making a valid point. I voted yes but have friends and family who voted NO. The no voters I found, hadn’t really thought it through why they voted no the best explanations I got was: we think its better to remain with the ‘Devil you know’ one even went as far as to say, they thought Newsnet Scotland was an SNP propaganda machine!!!! We have a lot of work on our hands guys, lets take our time now and, ‘Do it right’ Jack

    • Excellent comments

  25. Thanks for your thoughts, Robin. There’s a lot of good stuff in there. However, I’ve scrolled to the end to ask about one thing you say in the towards 2016 bit. You call for a more ‘Nordic’ programme. What, like tax cuts, welfare cuts and privatisation of public services? That’s what we’re getting here in Finland.

    Please stop looking outside for reference points. There are none. Scotland is the only country in Europe seriously attempting to resist the neo-liberal agenda, although with the NO victory and the TTIP in the pipeline, i don’t hold out much hope at the moment. You are essentially alone. All power to your elbow. But don’t look north for inspiration. Those days are gone, hopefully not for ever.

    Brian Fleming, Helsinki

  26. Robin, regarding your call for recruitment of a monetary economist, I’d suggest that here you do look to a Nordic example. You should look to recruit a Dane. Denmark’s management and protection of its currency in recent decades has been nothing short of outstanding. They have a great deal of skill and experience in navigating very treacherous waters with a small independent currency.

  27. It should be US that stands for election in 2015: Unity Scotland. Vote for US. The Common Weal should also prepare a fully costed manifesto for all pro indy candidates to adopt as a full or partial manifesto for standing at the election. You’ve got it all in the Common Weal book already, break it down so it can be communicated on the doorsteps and provide costings.

  28. I’d agree that having a costed, timetabled plan to create a Scottish currency, along with a central bank, financial regulator, debt creation and management etc., is vital.

    However, economics is a social science, so I don’t think much is gained by recruiting one academic or another. Professionally,they are required to disagree with one another. What we need are working economists and bankers – Brian’s point about Denmark is a good one. We can cost the Danish model (c. £40bn in reserves) and work out how to get there.

    (Linked to this, I think the public purchase of the Royal Mail or National Grid is not realistic in the short term.Funds will need to be banked as the reserve).

    Having also read Brian’s first post, it echoes my own thoughts on the “Nordic” model – or more accurately an imagined nirvana of high tax, high public welfare. Whether that is the big picture of the importance of private capital to their economies (and their inability to save companies from globalisation, Saab, Nokia) or the detail of how their systems work: http://www.fyidenmark.com/prescriptions.html

    I’ve enjoyed the Common Weal papers, but I think in future they need to go beyond analysis to making policy recommendations.

  29. Derek Henry (October 2, 2014 – 00.01) is right about reflecting on why people voted No, and those on the Yes side shouldn’t be quick to assume they know why – there’s likely more to it than just people being worried about their own living standards, although this is probably an important factor and it’s unfair to dismiss it as selfish; many people won’t think of themselves as being particularly well off and it’s understandable that people would worry about the potential for losing their jobs.

    The referendum was, or should have been, primarily about one issue: democracy – that is, creating a better system of government for the people who live in Scotland. Much of the time Yes ended up looking like they were fighting an ideological campaign as if the future of Scotland was going to be set in stone with a cross on the ballot paper on 18 September.

    A Scandic model is an admirable aim (though Scotland wouldn’t be able to simply copy how things are elsewhere, and the Scandinavian example was unlikely to be properly understood by the majority of voters), but while it was necessary to talk about how Scotland could choose a different path, it could easily have looked like those on the left were positioning to impose their will on Scotland after a Yes vote. The proper time for deciding on the direction of an independence Scotland should have been at the first elections to an independence parliament in 2016.

    While it does seem like a good idea to now be using the powers that Holyrood has to move towards a better society (the Common Weal’s ideas are certainly admirable) and attempting to prove that Scotland should vote Yes next time, there will still be a danger of it seeming like the independence movement is entirely about achieving one idea.

    There is also a danger of this looking like a plot to gain, and win, another referendum. Setting out a timetable so soon may make many in Yes impatient and give others the impression of political manipulation, compounding any connection in people’s minds between the independence and some sort of dictated socialist future.

    Finally, regardless of the above, the pro-independence movement needs to be careful of looking like a club. While it’s important for those within Yes to keep motivated to keep the campaign going, there’s always the possibility that how that is done may inadvertently exclude those who voted No from joining in. Yes is going to need a lot of people moving across before another referendum can be risked, and the Yes movement (a term in itself which could be off putting) needs to be as open to them as possible; the journey from voting No to supporting Yes will be very difficult for many people.

  30. Why isn’t anyone discussing a two stage 20/20 referendum, establish the prinicpal of independence by referendum and a mandate to form a broad convention and team to negotiate with HM Goverment over 18 months, then put that offer along with a variety of long term visions (broad sweep) to the people.

  31. Patrick Hogg is right. ‘Yes’ need to secure over half of Scotland’s Westminster seats in May 2015 to make any meaningful difference and the SNP acting alone are unlikely to achieve that due to the FPTP system etc. The obvious way to achieve a majority of ‘Yes’ MP’s is for Yes Scotland members to continue to work collaboratively and for Yes Scotland (and its members) to select and field single ‘Yes Scotland’ candidates to stand for each seat in Scotland at the May 2015 UK General Election. One Yes candidate in each seat should be able to secure the required 30-40% of the vote, which is usually enough to win a Westminster seat, whilst the Unionist vote will split along the usual party lines. Westminster always accepted (pre-Holyrood) that if a majority of MP’s elected in Scotland represent a party arguing for Independence then this gives the Scots a mandate through the ballot box for independence.

  32. I totally agree with the first part of your plan, which was the same as the plan published the day after the referendum.
    We are going to have to get rid of the unionist parties as soon as possible, as they are not even representing the interests of Scots – yes and no voters alike.
    They exist only to serve the interests of Westminster, big business and a small elite.
    The problem is going to be the elephant in the room, which is the BBC, STV and the rest of the MSM. The MSM will do everything to attempt to cut the Scottish parties out of the 2015 general election and portray the election as a straight contest between Labour and The Tories. Unfortunately there are enough ill informed people in Scotland to fall for it. I can already hear it “Only labour can protect Scotland from the Tories”, “Only Labour can secure new powers”
    The task will obviously be to try to get the message across to people, that the Westminster parties are exactly that- Westminster parties, and they serve only the interests of Westminster. The size of the task will be immense. It is imperative that a campaign whilst being positive must also serve to remind people exactly how they have been let down by The Westminster parties- especially UK Labour in Scotland

    • Bang on. They will try to herd voters like SHEEP to vote for Labour to stop the Tories. We must wisen up and make sure this does not happen. No more WOOLY thinking like sheep. Sheep get shorn of everything…………..

  33. I’m going to give another thumbs up to Brian Fleming’s idea of utilising Danish experience for the currency question.

    There are some great ideas here Robin, but the most important one of all is the idea of preparing people for independence now, not during another campaign. I remember Margo being on Scotland Tonight in about January 2012 saying that the SNP hadn’t done the preparation work needed, such as having a proper defence policy and extolling the virtues of this to people before we even had a referendum.

    Perhaps we needed this first referendum to get people to realise independence is a serious prospect, but regardless, we now have to make sure the same mistake isn’t made twice. A fully-formed idea of what independence means has to be prevalent amongst the public consciousness before we even think about holding another referendum, as we have to have a majority in place ahead of the next one.

    The currency is a big thing for me. I went along with the currency union policy, and I even agreed with some of the reasons for wanting it, but if there’s one thing we have to learn from the campaign it is that we can’t have hostages to fortune. People may baulk at the idea of having to change their notes and coins or whatever, but they’ll get over that, especially if the advantages of having a Scottish currency (in whatever form that may be) are properly outlined. How to change the position is an interesting debate in itself, but we can’t deny that arguing for the continuation of Sterling not only seemed to be contrary to the whole point of independence, but also meant we were doing some of the No campaign’s work for them.

    We need to figure out what made potential Yes voters vote No instead, then figure out how to neutralise their concerns and highlight the advantages of the alternatives. Maybe we even need to think the unthinkable. For instance, if the EU is going to be a problem, then maybe we need to rethink that approach. I’m firmly of the belief that if we’d gone into the campaign claiming independence would mean we were no longer in the EU, then instead of saying “oh but if you leave the member state, you leave the EU”, they would instead have been saying “oh but you can’t simply leave the EU like that”. We have time on our side now, so let’s call some bluffs. Maybe we need to say to people “we want to stay in the EU, but look, EFTA is a viable alternative if we have to deal with another arsehole like Barroso.” Or maybe we simply need the Scottish Government/Scottish MEPs to start pressing the EU to clarify the position of breakaway states within the EU once and for all. Or maybe Catalonia will help answer it for us…?

    One thing though, I’m not particularly convinced an alliance for 2016 is the right way forward. I agree something like this needs to happen in 2015, especially as you don’t even need a proper manifesto – simply “we need as many MPs as possible who’s only concern is Scotland in order to force Westminster to keep its word”. Embrace the fact that people wouldn’t be voting for a party of government, and instead simply to ensure Scotland gets what Scotland was promised. You could definitely get some No voters on board with that. But as for 2016, I’m not totally convinced. We’ll see, though.

    • I’m another one who never wanted a Currency Union. Ceding power to the Bank Of England who are only ever going to work in the interests of one single square mile of the country never seemed like the best foundation for creating a fairer society…

      I think the rallying call for the 2015 General Election has to be “Elect 59 Scottish MPs who will primarily be concerned with serving Scotlands interests” (or something that encapsulates that which is actually catchy!). Which will include not siding with the tories and propping up any government they wish to attempt… Which completely negates anything Labour say to try and claw some votes back with their “scary Tories” mantra.

      Because lets be clear here, anything towards 40 Scottish non ConDemLab MPs could well be the balance of power in Westminster. In fact, it might be impossible for either Labour or the tories to form a government without them…

  34. Patrick Hogg is right, we cant really formulate a way forward until after we see what the 2015 GE brings, If the tories win, then we will have an EU refrendum in 2017 which will scupper all of your post 2015 GE plans Robin.
    The only focus for now is the GE and getting as many SNP members elected. no disrespect to the greens or SSP but they are not even at the races in GE’s, they dont even stand candidates in all the constituencies, (if any at all) and they lose their deposites. Getting the only indy party competing at this election to change its name, 7 months out, is folly. it might even cause the unionist parties to unite as well. Our only chance of winning big in the coming GE is because the unioinists are disunited, why risk uniting them into a single force?
    Keeping the support groups as cross party groups is the way to go until we find out the result of the 2015 GE. That is the price that all of the non SNP supporters need to pay at the 2015GE. If the SNP wipe out the unionist parties in 2015, then the liblabcon’s may form a new unionist party anyway and even the indy political parties may have to unite as well. There are a lot of talented people in politics at the moment but the 2015 GE is for monkeys in yes suits only, I would urge all to desist from volunteering to be candidates, save yourselves for the 2016 Holyrood election

    The Holyrood election offers much greater scope for cross party cooperation post 2015 GE, indeed, as a sign of good faith, it might be prudent to appoint Patrick Harvey as minister in Nicola’s first cabinet and give him the responsability for the new land bill currently waiting in Holyrood

  35. Another idea for the timetable (apologies if anyone else has already suggested it – I didn’t read through all the comments).

    My daughter who lives in Catalunya sent me this link to the video of the independence rally in Barcelona. An estimated 1.8 million people! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5Dj5UU-xSg&feature=youtu.be

    I found the video moving and inspiring. Can’t we get over a million YES supporters to gather in one place – maybe on the anniversary of the 18S vote?

    Surely we can match the passion and creativity of the Catalans – and we might even get the sun to shine on us!

    • Completely agree, paul. This is the kind of thing we should be focusing on. PR is more crucial than anything else now, in my opinion. We need to SHOW we are a massive and united movement. If we could time the event to come after a major announcement by Westminster regarding new and devastating cuts, that’s how we’ll win the PR war, and consequently new followers.

    • I’d say attempting to do a mass gathering on the scale of Catalonia is a hostage to fortune. I don’t know how the Catalans are fixed for population concentration/public transport, but in Scotland the two big gatherings got 10,000 (2012) and 30,000 (2013), though these weren’t organised by Yes Scotland or SNP (actually Jeff Duncan and Anne McMillan).

      The 2014 rally was actually cancelled in favour of smaller, more local actions.

      • Too small, too poor;)? Just kidding, crubag. Surely though, with the backing we have from Stagecoach buses, and by having a proper advertising campaign, we could organise a mammoth one. The problem many have with attending big events is that they tend to be held in Glasgow or Edinburgh. If we’re to reach out to all Scots, an event should be held in the centre of the country. If we could tie it in with having an independence music festival or something similar, we might be able to attract more people. We need to give people more of a reason to attend than just offering a list of speakers to listen to. Make it a carnival. How about hosting a European-wide independence weekend event, with Catalans, Welsh and other groups in the mix? With hundreds of buses arranged to take people from all corners of Scotland, we’d soon have a spectacle to show the world. We need to think big.

  36. I do think the critical starting point must be to focus our attention on our own currency and the media. These are fundamentally the building blocks.. our own currency will help stop businesses who rely on London. If we create an out for business they means we can protect them under independence. I see there is a movement to have other media online. We need to target the 55+ generation and stop them from buying unionist papers. I the plan set out is a good plan and has ignited Change in people, the referendum needed to happen, even if it was doomed to fail as the results are clear. Soar alba gu bràth.

  37. A 2020 vision, so to speak.

  38. we are currently “holding the unionists feet to the fire” not that we will succeed in getting anything of worth from them. Returning a massive majority of Indy candidates to westminster will give us another chance to hold their feet to the fire.
    i would dismiss any talk of another indy ref, or even indepependence and replace it with “full fiscal autonomy”. This ticket would even appeal to the no voters as it is settled will of the people.
    I have never believed the figures produced by the ONS on which the GERS figures are based, but even if they do show the reality, Holyrood having FFA will remove any arguements about pensions or indeed the wider economy in any future referendum. Bear in mind, if FFA, all that is left of the UK is defence and foriegn affairs and with The UK just entering another unpopular war and about to pull out of the EU, independence will be a much smaller step, and pretty much all of the present unionists positions will be gone anyway.

  39. the 57 scottish MP’s would then return to calton hill and become the defacto upper chamber of the scottish parlaiment, they can vote on the defence and foriegn affaires issues in the HOC, electronically, EV4EL, sorted

  40. the biggest problem I see so far is quite simple, these things are discussed but no one appears to be talking to the other groups that are talking and looking for a strategy to take us forward, I don’t think that hoping this kind of thought process is enough to engage the people who want to be involved, its ok making plans but its another getting them into th
    e mainstream of mixed forums

  41. The ssp and greens don’t stand candidates at ge’s a waste of time and money. The snp is not about to disband folks, and join with cnd, who also don’t stand candidates at ge,s why would they change their name 7months out from the election? I hear folk on this thread saying they don’t like all of the snp policies.? Even if all 57 mp’s from Scotland are snp, what policies do you think they will be able to enact in Westminster against 550 odd unionists? If you can’t bring yourself to vote snp, then chose, ukip, Tory, libdem, labour or don’t vote. Thems the choices folks. If the snp do not win big in May 2015, this movement is dead. Btw,I just spent the last 2 years crowd funding and delivering leaflets for, yes, green, ssp, national collective, commonweal and every single political organization in Scotland”…….except the snp, did anyone notice that?

  42. Patrick Hogg is right, we cant really formulate a way forward until after we see what the 2015 GE brings, If the tories win, then we will have an EU refrendum in 2017 which will scupper all of your post 2015 GE plans Robin.
    The only focus for now is the GE and getting as many SNP members elected. no disrespect to the greens or SSP but they are not even at the races in GE’s, they dont even stand candidates in all the constituencies, (if any at all) and they lose their deposites. Getting the only indy party competing at this election to change its name, 7 months out, is folly. it might even cause the unionist parties to unite as well. Our only chance of winning big in the coming GE is because the unioinists are disunited, why risk uniting them into a single force?
    Keeping the support groups as cross party groups is the way to go until we find out the result of the 2015 GE. That is the price that all of the non SNP supporters need to pay at the 2015GE. If the SNP wipe out the unionist parties in 2015, then the liblabcon’s may form a new unionist party anyway and even the indy political parties may have to unite as well. There are a lot of talented people in politics at the moment but the 2015 GE is for monkeys in yes suits only, I would urge all to desist from volunteering to be candidates, save yourselves for the 2016 Holyrood election

    The Holyrood election offers much greater scope for cross party cooperation post 2015 GE, indeed, as a sign of good faith, it might be prudent to appoint Patrick Harvey as minister in Nicola’s first cabinet and give him the responsability for the new land bill currently waiting in Holyrood

    • Agree. Get rid of Labour ,Tory, Limps first and foremost. Get started now. BBC and Labour already have using the same Tactics, Program’s and Presenter’s who are all still in place.
      Time is of the essence.

  43. Robin, I think we also need to look at alternative ways of wealth creation and growing business.
    If you look at the WIR in Switzerland which for a long time has been a successful mutual credit clearing organisation –
    http://p2pfoundation.net/WIR_Economic_Circle_Cooperative

    it’s strength being that it doesn’t rely on the national currency for business to thrive. It has proved to be counter-cyclical and so not as sensitive to conventional bank credit drying up in times of recession. Right now only around 10% of conventional bank lending is to business.

    So showing people successful examples using alternative means of credit and actually letting them use the facility makes them far less nervous about moving to different means of trading and new currencies in future.

    The UK economy is pretty much moribund and I’m not sure how it will dig itself out of the hole it is creating – probably wealth transfer on a large scale and so we need look at examples such as this which we can easily do whether part of the uk or not.

    I feel the world will be quite a different place in 2020 and I’m sure better together will have new ‘compelling’ reasons to stick with it!

  44. As far as economists are concerned, Steve Keen is always a good read.

  45. Great article.
    Nice no-nonsense route map and I feel everything is achievable within the time scales.
    I would like to see more accountability to those established bodies that are supposed to speak the ‘truth’
    I’m referring to oil forecasts and other facts and figures that are designed to mislead or misrepresent the reality of the situation.
    I would stress these bodies should be named and shamed every time a blatant false report is released.
    We need to prove the integrity of our movement and at the same time expose the corruption of the existing state-controlled set up.
    I would also stress that people need the ability to make their own minds up on this, but I’m sure continuous revelations of underhand activities by the establishment will eventually hit home.

  46. Robin – you have drawn a lot of threads together to draft a strategy and that is a good start. You will however need a team – there are dozens of specialist areas requiring research prior to final assembly of that strategy. Within my own such area of Monetary Policy I was shocked to read –

    “At its heart (in my opinion) we must accept that we can’t ever go into a campaign again wholly relying on a narrative that involves a currency union we can’t guarantee. Scotland lacks a really strong monetary economist. I’d like to see us (probably the Scottish Government) recruit a world-class monetary economist now with a three-year project to develop a really bullet-proof plan for an independent Scottish currency. And everything else too, from a plan for pensions to a tax model.”

    Robin, that is precisely what the SNP assembled in their Fiscal Commission and it produced the widest open goal of the YES Campaign – confusion over the currency.

    Economists do not have an objective expertise on currency or monetary policy and are at constant loggerheads with one another. Bank managers are taught about accountancy and moral hazard but banking system is controlled by the vested interests of billionaires.

    The money business is like no other corporate structure; it is a pyramid balancing on its point shrouded with smoke and mirrors which protects it from democratic accountability. With respect, It is a mystery to you and to the SNP which is why your immediate reaction is to seek a mythical ‘economist’. Let me tell you now that does not exist, not Stiglitz, Keynes, Kaldor, von Mises or Friedman.

    There is a small non-political think-tank in Scotland – The Centre for Scottish Constitutional Studies
    http://www.scottishconstitution.org/index.php/economy
    which has prepared a paper entitled “An Alternative Financial Plan”. I would not suggest this is the three year comprehensive study which you correctly envisage, but it is most certainly set into the Independence context and faces up to the real problems of full employment and National Debt and that is the kind of fresh and open-minded approach we should build on.

    The Common Weal is prepared to be radical in almost every policy area – the currency must not be excluded from similar forensic examination.

  47. I like Robin but there is a real sense in this article that he is refusing to come to terms with reality. There are so many things that could happen in the next few years that need to be taken into account. Here are some of them.

    1. The idea that we can wipe out the ‘unionist’ parties is laughable. They won in 28 out of 32 councils. Over 2 million people voted no.
    2. The SNP will put the interests of party and country before independence. Sturgeon has already stated that she is reaching out to the 55% . The SNP’s strategy will be devo max and parking independence.
    3. The yes movement is not as big as people think. The 45% of people who voted yes are not a movement. They faced a binary choice in a referendum and voted accordingly. The ‘movement’ is much smaller and less influential than is made out – many of it’s component parts suffer from what Gerry Hassan has referred to as a ‘soft vanguardism’ i.e. they are not very democratic.
    4. The SNP will have to implement austerity policies both through the Scottish Government and local councils. In the past these cuts have been presented in a managerial narrative and not linked to independence. I don’t see any reason why this won’t continue, and in time this will fracture the ‘indy alliance and lead to many leaving the SNP.
    5. Scotland is not as left wing as people out. The Greens have some representation, but are small, often exclusive and more a ‘lifestyle’ party not in tune with the majority of people; the SSP speak for no one in representational terms, a part from their one councillor. The SNP are also quite critical of the far left and would be wary of an alliance with people they see as lacking credibility – in fact some in the SNP are saying yes lost because it was too left wing – a point I disagree with BTW.
    6. A country that cannot have the confidence to have it’s own currency is a country not ready to be independent. I don’t see that situation being any different in 2020.
    7. Right now people are angry and want to ‘do something’ but in time anger cannot be sustained and will eventually burn out.
    8. Scotland is a small C conservative nation. We may be anti-Tory but we are not radical. Many own their own homes, have reactionary views on welfare and have accepted the central narratives of neo-liberalism. I see no reason why this conservatism should dissipate in six years time.

    I could go on. But the bigger point is this. The independence ‘moment’ has gone and will be parked for a long time. The idea that there is an appetite for a referendum in six years time is fantasy politics. We need to focus on devo max and learn not to link every political discussion to the national question. If we do that, we will become political bores which will probably shrink the 45%.

    On a positive note, we do need to increase the presence of the progressive left in the Scottish Parliament but I’m not sure the organised ‘left’ has the capacity, vision and talent to do it. We shall wait and see…

  48. This is a brilliant media site but still the majority of comments come from men. Why is it taking so long for women to get involved? During the last month visiting Scotland to be a part of history making I was disappointed at the number of women of my vintage 70yrs who had never voted. Women have to be included and encouraged to participate. It’s taking too long everywhere in the world it seems. And in Oz we are going backwards as far as any sign of a fair go is concerned. I’m still optimistic about Scotland of course and as already mentioned Bella does a great job of counter acting the pollution of the MSM

  49. we need to ensure the majority govt in Holyrood is never a westminster based party – so that means SNP in most cases. We can then even forget about the minefield distraction of ‘more powers’, devo-this, devo-that, The scottish govt can use existing powers to gradually build ‘independent’ institutions- if the NO’s don’t like it then they can try and vote the snp out of office – who knows, maybe in 15yrs time scotland will be so distinct from england that the step to independence will not rely on persuading the fearties and the selfish. Remember it took 18yrs from the failed devo vote in ’79 to success in 97

  50. I think there are real problems for us though because Westminster is moving to consolidate its power ie dismantling human rights act; intending to track Scotland against our will; delaying additional powers. We are very restricted in what we can do. And we don’t seem able to stop TTIP the Americanisation of our small island. Fifteen years is too long to wait.

    • in the sunday herald today ian mcwhirter states that the human rights act is part of the Scotland Act and therefore cannot be retracted in scotland. This is a good example of england moving in the opposite direction to scotland and nothing westminster can do about it

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