THE UK Supreme Court’s ruling blocking a second independence referendum came as no surprise to the Scottish Socialist Party. We had warned for many months that this judgment was inevitable. This legal challenge was, in our view, always likely to end this way and the outcome signals that the parliamentary road to independence is now decisively blocked.

The result could not be plainer with Lord Reed saying: “The court therefore unanimously concludes that the [referendum] bill does relate to reserved matters. Accordingly, the Scottish Parliament does not have the power to legislate for a referendum on Scottish independence.”

Scottish Socialists warned the First Minister and the SNP/Green government against this narrow parliamentary focus. Given the result, they must now accept new tactics are urgently required.

The correct response to this legal rebuff is to develop our case beyond the Holyrood debating chamber into workplaces, communities, cities, towns and villages across Scotland.

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It is now time to re-energise the Yes movement and unblock the road to a referendum.

We must speak truthfully and honestly. This defeat for the First Minister not only weakens her – it weakens our entire movement.

Her record in leading that movement was not unblemished before this latest humiliation. The repeated denial of a Section 30 order by the UK Government, for example, elicited no corresponding action from the First Minister.

Westminster’s attitude makes it clear there is no parliamentary road to independence, not when 600 out of 650 MPs are dead against it. This stark conclusion is one Nicola Sturgeon appears unwilling to accept. Yet it is clear only extra-parliamentary action can be successful in these circumstances.

Such a serious path, of course, can only be taken after the necessary preparations have been made and, above all, only after the so-far elusive majority for independence has been secured.

That objective remains the most important goal by far facing the movement. It can never be said often enough that winning majority support for independence among our fellow Scots remains the key to everything.

The Scottish Socialist Party has reached the view that the leadership of the independence movement cannot be left solely to the First Minister and her closest staff but must include the mass of Yes supporters.

We therefore invite all those who wish to take to such a path to join together and establish a new Scottish Independence Convention, with an inaugural session in Edinburgh in 2023 to agree to a programme capable of persuading a majority of our fellow Scots of the merits of independence and a serious route map for its achievement.

Securing that majority is essential and so is a credible strategy for bypassing Westminster’s refusal to allow a second referendum and for winning that vote. We believe that the first step towards such a new, invigorated, and serious movement should be an independence convention with the broadest possible support.

This should include all pro-independence parties, existing Yes groups and those who agree with the key task of translating the call for a referendum and Yes vote into a movement not just of marches and demos but of creative civil disobedience.

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Such an approach is not new in Scotland, with such examples as rent strikes, the defeat of the poll tax, the rejection of water privatisation and indeed the long campaign that brought Holyrood itself into existence in the teeth of Unionist opposition.

The Scottish Socialist Party stands in the tradition of advancing democracy by both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary means, and we stand ready to play the fullest part in such a movement.

In this historic moment, there can be no half-measures or artificial barriers to action. The limits of parliamentary and legal activity have been demonstrated by the Supreme Court ruling, and in pursuit of Scottish democracy, fresh forces and tactics need to be brought into play without delay.

Colin Fox is a national co-spokesperson for the Scottish Socialist Party