The SNP must rethink its economic model for an independent Scotland

Primary Author or Creator:
Laurie Macfarlane
Additional Author(s) / Creators
Open Democracy
Open Democracy
Date Published:
Type of Resource:
Assessment report
Fast Facts

A critique of the Growth Commission's report. "Far from being an asset to the independence cause, the Growth Commission is its biggest liability. It’s time, as we say, ‘tae think again’."

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The Growth Commission has not escaped criticism from within the SNP ranks. At the party’s 2019 spring conference, members successfully amended the leadership’s motion to endorse the Growth Commission’s currency recommendations by voting through an amendment calling for a new currency to be established “as soon as practicable after independence day”. . At the party's 2020 conference next month, activists hope to land another blow to the Growth Commission plans by putting forward a motion calling for the establishment of a Scottish central bank within a committed time frame. Whether this will be successful remains to be seen.

In 2014, the pro-UK parties entered the referendum campaign with a commanding lead in the polls. But overconfidence, a lacklustre campaign and lack of a compelling vision meant that Scots came very close to voting for independence. This time around, the fatal flaws in the Growth Commission’s proposals means it’s possible the reverse could happen.

None of this is to say that Scotland cannot flourish as an independent country. With the right plan on currency, economic model and transition, there is no reason why Scotland could not become a successful independent nation. But that plan needs to come from the 2020s, not the 1990s. And it needs to come from a broad cross section of civil society, not just business groups.