Head of SNP’s growth commission among speakers at Scottish Independence Convention
THE ECONOMIC case for independence will be made anew at a conference in January, which will see presentations by leading independence thinkers.
Former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson, the head of the SNP’s growth commission, which was established in September to look into the case for a future independent Scottish economy will report to the Scottish Independence Convention, which will also see a new white paper outlining changes to the case for an independent Scottish economy, launched by the Common Weal think tank.
George Kerevan MP, a former economics lecturer who has advocated that the SNP discuss measures including a Scottish National Investment Bank (Snib), will also address the conference in Glasgow on January 14 at the Radisson Blu Hotel.
Speaking to CommonSpace, Wilson said: “We will be looking positively at the debate in 2014, and bring that case up to date to the present time.”
Wilson emphasised that much had changed since 2014, including the collapse in the oil price and the downgraded economic expectations for the UK, and that this would need to be taken into account.
“The No case has faced equivalent and more substantial challenges than Yes.” Andrew Wilson
Whilst the Yes case would need to be changed, he argued that the economic case for a No vote had also been upended.
“The No case has faced equivalent and more substantial challenges than Yes. The status quo, by which I mean the case for the Union we were sold in 2014, is facing huge challenges.”
Almost no part of the political or economic terrain faced by voters in the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum remains intact.
Since September 2014, a majority Conservative UK Government has been elected, the SNP won 56 of 59 Scottish parliamentary seats in a general election and was returned to an historic third term of Scottish Government in 2016, and socialist Jeremy Corbyn was elected to leadership of the Labour party twice.
The voted to leave the EU on 23 June 2016, sending shockwaves around the world. Since then, Chancellor Philip Hammond has dampened expectations for UK economic recovery and debt reduction.
“While people may site currency as the issue that left them unconvinced, I’m fairly sure that in many cases that was shorthand for a general sense that the economic and policy position wasn’t properly prepared.” Robin McAlpine
The SIC is also expected to see the launch of Common Weal’s white paper, which is expected to attempt to establish a far more detailed economic case than that which was laid out in the Scottish Government’s white paper in 2013.
Speaking to CommonSpace, Common Weal director Robin McAlpine said: “If we’re going to try and win an independence referendum in the near future we need a much stronger economic and policy case. While people may site currency as the issue that left them unconvinced, I’m fairly sure that in many cases that was shorthand for a general sense that the economic and policy position wasn’t properly prepared.
“We’re now in a political climate where after what can only really be described as a shambles around Brexit, people are going to want much more specific and much more compelling details about how a Scottish state would be established. There has been an assumption from some that all we need to do is cobble together another narrative case, hold a referendum and that’ll be enough. I think that would be a foolish approach. People want to be treated with a bit more respect and getting the economics of independence right is crucial.”
The SIC will see figures from across the independence movement of 2014 come together to discuss the future of the independence cause.
Speakers at the event will include independence stalwart Elaine C Smith, writer and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch, SNP MP Tommy Shepherd, Scottish Green Party convenors Maggie Chapman and Patrick Harvie MSP, former Yes Scotland digital communications strategist Stewart Kirkpatrick, constitutional change expert Nicola McEwen, John McHarg of Yes2Scotland, Radical Independence Campaign co-founder Jonathan Shafi and Common Weal head of policy Ben Wray among many others.
Picture courtesy of Howard Lake
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