HOW do you start an independent country? 

Think tank Common Weal believes it has the answer. The organisation has announced the release of a new book containing its blueprint for the establishment of an independent Scotland.

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It claims the title, which is now available for pre-order, is “the most important piece of work” for the Yes movement since the 2014 referendum.

The tome, titled How to Start a New Country: A Practical Guide for Scotland, is available in both abridged and longer format and is largely based on the think tank’s crowdfunded White Paper Project.

The 18 month-long initiative examined the methodology, content and structure of a revised white paper on the subject.

REVIEW: Common Weal's indy guide is a smart book imbued with quiet optimism

Four reprints of the 670-page Scottish Government original, titled Scotland’s Future, were ordered to satisfy demand ahead of the key vote.

Launching their version, Common Weal said the result is “aimed at two types of people”.

This includes those who “believe in Scottish independence but want to understand better how it would happen” and for others who are “open-minded (even if they begin sceptical) and want to make a personal assessment of the merits of independence, based on what would happen after the vote”.

EXTRACT: How To Start a New Country ... the timeline for an independent Scotland

A spokesperson commented: “Reaching undecided voters is one of the reasons Common Weal have produced a summary book to accompany the larger publication, in order to make the process of starting an independent country more accessible to a greater number of people.”

The book takes the day after a Yes majority as its starting point and covers a three-year period culminating in an “independence day”.

Craig Dalzell, head of research for Common Weal, said: “Perhaps no other independence movement in modern times has been the subject of such detailed scrutiny as the case for Scotland’s independence has been. And this is rightly so as the self-determination of the shape of one’s government is as fundamental a decision as a country can collectively make.

“This book represents the culmination of that detailed work to date and takes the reader on a three-year journey from the decision to become an independent country to formal Independence Day.

“We’re not underestimating the scope of the challenge here. We’ll have to do a lot of work to build the institutions we need, perhaps more than the UK will need to build even under a competently managed Brexit, but we’re also clear that these tasks are eminently doable and many – such as building a central bank or a modern customs agency – would be self-funding and would result in substantial economic benefit to Scotland once operational.”

He went on: “This book doesn’t directly tackle the question of whether Scotland should be an independent country but it does lay a roadmap to becoming one once that decision is taken.

“Unlike Brexit, Scotland will not be faced with waking up the morning after the referendum and asking ‘now what?’”

Writer Neal Ascherson called the content “deeply sensible”, stating: “The quiet, steady optimism of this book, as well as its factual strength, is very impressive.”

The one-time Holyrood candidate continued: “With hard work and imagination, this new country can be built – and should be.”

Both formats of the title are now available online at, with books to be delivered after March 8.