DEBATES over “process”, referendums, and court cases will do little to boost support for independence – so activists should be focusing on the brighter future a Yes vote could deliver, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has said.

Speaking to The National at the party’s conference in Aberdeen, the Ross, Skye, and Lochaber MP highlighted the green energy giant which he said an independent Scotland could become.

“We can increase Scotland’s green energy output five-fold between now and 2050,” Blackford said. “We can increase our green energy output from 12GW up to 80.”

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“If we can increase that green energy output up from 12 to 80, if we can make that green energy transition, that means we would be delivering three to four times the amount of energy that Scotland needs. That then allows us to have a green industrial future.

“And it means of course that we’d be creating 385,000 jobs, dwarfing the jobs that we have today in oil and gas.”

Blackford was quoting a newly published report he worked on with fellow SNP MPs Stephen Flynn and Alan Brown. He said the report’s findings were key “because this is how we deliver sustainable economic growth”.

The National: Ian Blackford waving in front of an SNP sign

Blackford (above) went on: “This is about how we put Scotland to work. This is about how we drive investment. This is about how we improve living standards, and I want to be able to put that in the context of the chaos and the disruption to our economy that happens with Westminster, and then we have the debate about process.”

“Having that debate about process, I don’t think is going to move the needle much on winning independence, but having that debate about what kind of country Scotland should be, getting away from the chaos of Westminster, that will be what will make a difference,” he added.

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Blackford’s comments came just two days before the Supreme Court is due to hear the first day of arguments in a critical case which will decide if Scotland has the power to hold a second independence referendum.

Asked how he thought the case would pan out, Blackford said he did not think it should have come to this point.

He said: “First and foremost, I regret that this is what we’re having to do.

“It really is about time that Westminster recognised the rights of the people of Scotland, through their parliament, to be able to get what they vote for.

“We shouldn’t be in this situation, where we’re having to go to the Supreme Court. We should be in the situation that Westminster recognises that the day of having that referendum, October 19 of next year, should be respected. We should now be having the debate about Scotland’s future.

“The last ten year period, much of it’s been a discussion about process, which is important because we need of course to make sure that we’ve got a process that delivers that referendum. But I’ll tell you what I’m much more keen to talk about, and that is the independent country that I want Scotland to be.”

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Asked what he thought of plans to use the next UK General Election as a “de facto” referendum on independence should the Supreme Court knock back the Scottish Government’s bill, Blackford said the idea had his “whole-hearted support”.

He went on: “We need to create the circumstances where the people of Scotland have the ability to have their say. I want to have a referendum. I want us to win that case in the Supreme Court. I want the UK Government to recognise our right to do so.

“But in the end, if we have to be in a situation where we’re going into the next Westminster election and we have to turn that into a referendum, then my message to those that believe in Scottish independence is … rally around us to make sure that happens.”