PICTURE the scene! The company director has called all the staff together. There’s an excited buzz of conversation. Everyone knows there’s going to be some sort of important announcement but they don’t yet know what it will be. The sales manager steps forward. A hush falls over the audience.

“Right then, lads and lasses! I want you all to go out and sell some bananas.” (Quizzical looks amongst the staff.)

“OK, I know a lot of you have never done any selling before, but don’t worry. I don’t want you to sell a lot. We only need you to sell enough. You see, in order to get free delivery, we need to order a certain quantity, and we’re not going to place our order until we know we have enough sales in place. To achieve that quantity, all we need each one of you to do is persuade one or two neighbours or friends who’ve never tried bananas before to buy some.”

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“Obviously, there are going to be a couple of problems. Because we have not yet placed our order, we don’t yet know if the bananas will still be green, or if they’ll be yellow, or, perhaps just at the really tasty stage of golden coloured with tiny brown speckles starting to appear. They may even be brown and need to be eaten right away before they go off! But that doesn’t really matter. People who are not sure about bananas can look in the local shops. Although our bananas may not be exactly the same as those they see, they will still be bananas.” (Puzzled looks amongst the staff.)

And finally: “We can’t give you a delivery date because the order hasn’t yet been placed. Besides which, we’re having trouble from a managing director of a neighbouring company who is trying to stop us getting our bananas. But it is our belief that if you want bananas, then you should have bananas. It may not be next year, but it could be the year after, or perhaps the year after that. One way or another we will get them for you. Just trust us! Now, go out and sell, sell, sell!”

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I don’t know about you, but I think that company director, via the sales manager, has set the staff a pretty impossible task! He won’t tell them what the bananas will be like, or when they will be available, but he still expects his staff to sell them. And that’s exactly what Keith Brown, Michael Russell and Ian Blackford have done at the SNP conference. They want us to go out and sell Independence without telling us what it will be like, or when, even provisionally, we are likely to get it!

What about currency? Will we have our own? Will we still be tied to England by using sterling and having our interest rates etc set by the Bank of England? Will that latter situation not hamper our financial and economic abilities? Can we be truly politically independent if we are not financially independent too?

What about our economics? Where is the promised forecast from the SNP to counter the Tory propaganda of the GERS figures, and prove that we can stand on our own feet without incurring debt? Those in the Yes movement know the truth. But we need to show to those who don’t know.

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What about taxation? Are we going back to the same old, same old? Or, might we consider other forms of taxation that will shift the burden from the poor to those better able to afford it? Perhaps the land value tax, as advocated by Common Weal? Using it, the government would have 1.25 times more than at present to invest in welfare, with the cost borne by the multi-millionaires instead of the poor.

What about pensions? Many pensioners voted “No” last time because of fear of losing their pensions. Can we change that? Will the SNP show the public the letter they have from the DWP assuring them that pensions will be paid even if we become independent? Will pensions be increased? If so, by how much? Or, will we still be left with the dismal pittance Westminster dishes up to us?

What about the NHS? Will we get independence in time to protect it from the American drug companies that Boris wants to put in charge of it? Will we enjoy the same or better benefits?

What about the EU? Will achieving independence automatically mean an application to re-join the EU? Or, will another EU referendum be held after independence is gained? Might we consider just getting back into the European Economic Area by joining EFTA first? Or do we have to plunge straight into the deeper water of the EU?

Yes, we can look at the shops of neighbours like Ireland, Denmark, or Norway, but our bananas (independence) won’t be exactly the same as theirs – however good they might be. Sorry lads! There are still too many questions. We need more information before we can sell your bananas for you!!!

Charlie Kerr