The National:

This is from a newsletter from Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, called Reinventing Scotland. It explores the wellbeing economySign up here to receive it every Tuesday at 7pm. 

I THINK a lot of people are watching the polling for the next General election (expected in October) with despair.

All the Labour Party are offering is to be more conservative than the Conservatives in order to win in England. Sir Keir Starmer is on record saying he “does not care” if people think he is conservative – well, obviously.

The National: Sir Keir Starmer said Labour was the patriotic party now (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

There can be no improvements in Scotland’s wellbeing while we are ultimately run by consecutive right-wing neoliberal governments in London. That's why I see wellbeing economics as being intrinsically linked to Scottish independence.

On Saturday, at the Believe in Scotland (BiS) march and rally, I called for our campaign to seek a mandate to leave the United Kingdom at Holyrood 2026. I have previously written that culturally led campaigns will always beat political campaigns but the independence movement doesn't seem to be able to kick its political addiction.

The National:

The politicians have a vital role to play but it shouldn't be to the exclusion of the grassroots independence movement that boasts members from all parties and none. That is why we need a new Constitutional Convention on Scottish Independence.

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Everyone seems to agree that in order to progress, our movement must stop the infighting but that can’t happen until there is an agreed target date, a timetable for independence if you like, and an agreed plan/vehicle to take us there. Not everyone will join and that's okay – complete unity may be impossible – but as long as the core of the independence movement agrees to move forward together, nothing can stop our progress towards independence.

An organisation is required that is capable of:

  • Engaging the entirety of the independence movement.
  • Gaining input from civic Scotland (charities, pressure groups, think tanks and religious organisations, etc).
  • Facilitating a national conversation that captures the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the people of Scotland.
  • Conducting in depth research into the shared values of the Scottish people in order to guide policy and governance suggestions and to identify the policy areas which are already the settled will of the Scottish people. Past research has identified that rejoining the European Union, a shift to wellbeing economics and maintaining Scotland's NHS in public ownership are key differences in values between Scotland and Westminster, but nothing is ruled out. Capturing international best practices in policy and institutional development and creating a nation building plan.
  • Driving a constitutional paradigm shift within Scotland in under two years.
  • Producing an agreed roadmap to independence with projected timings and transition planning.

Now that's a tall order and can only really be done in partnership with the Scottish Government because the convention would cost millions over the next two years.

Believe in Scotland has been working on this approach for some time. Last summer, our National Campaign Steering Group published its Road To Independence Plan which proposed using the next General Election as a de facto referendum.

The National: A general view of the SNP's 2022 conference in Aberdeen

However, SNP conference decided that a majority of seats would provide a mandate to open negotiations on the process by which Scotland leaves the UK, and as Westminster will never agree to a referendum, because they know they would lose, Holyrood 2026 must now be a de facto referendum.

The BiS mini-congress on November 22, 2023, attended by the delegates of and/or the regional representatives of 142 Yes groups, asked BiS to look into taking the lead in establishing a constitutional convention on behalf of the independence movement.

It was agreed that such a body would have to be a partnership between the grassroots movement and the political parties and that it would need to be inclusive enough to reflect the full diversity of the movement as well as being set up as a democratic and non-political body to facilitate the involvement of civic Scotland.

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BiS undertook the initial research in November 2023 and has opened discussions with the parties of the Scottish Government, as Humza Yousaf announced at last Saturday's independence rally. BiS would like to see Scottish MPs take time away from Westminster to work with MSPs, the Yes movement and civic Scotland as the convention sets out its plans to improve Scotland’s national wellbeing through independence. Working in committees and helping take the convention to the Scottish people across the country.

Any convention on independence requires the participation on some level by the pro-indy politicians in order to democratically legitimise the body. The SNP are seeking a mandate from GE24 to relaunch the convention but it can be argued that given Westminster has rejected several mandates for an independence referendum, the Scottish Government already has a mandate and indeed a moral obligation to find another route to independence.

Following a majority in a 2026 de facto referendum, if the UK Government refuses to engage, then the Scottish Constitutional Convention will be the body that begins the process of Scottish independence via the power of the undisputed Claim of Right of the Scottish people. That way it’s the people of Scotland and not a political party negotiating with Westminster.

This is not a contentious plan; it is completely constitutionally legal. It simply reconstitutes the Scottish Constitutional Convention that delivered devolution in the 90s, thus following the same path to independence as Scotland followed to devolution.