LAST week I wrote about the need for a pluralistic, forward-looking path to stability and prosperity with independence, to be contrasted with the economic damage and loss of global status that comes as part of the UK’s Brexit package.

This created a deluge of comments on The National site and on social media – almost all positive, but there were a few who didn’t seem to read past the headline that socialism wasn’t the answer to selling benefits of independence. And that kind of made my point! We can’t view such complex political and economic issues as independence and Brexit solely through left and right filters.

Political labels exist to give non free-thinking voters a reference point to vote on, without actually engaging their brains. At a time when we need radical thinking to challenge the economic status quo, we have increased tribalism and group thinking in politics. This is generated in part by the echo chamber of social media where political activists seek out views from within their own bubble. Instead of thinking, they just cut and paste the views without often checking the veracity of the points they make.

READ MORE: Kirsty Blackman: Fighting for indy means campaigning on issues like austerity – now

Left and right are the choices we are given by the very institutions that we need to change in order to deliver true, profound and shared progress. Those illusionary choices make voters feel as though they have a choice, but such choices are designed to deliver agreement with alternative versions of the status quo.

Both left and right are unreconstructed variations on the capitalist axis and therefore represent inherently conservative traditional thinking. You can find people on the left and right that believe in the sovereignty of Westminster, are racist, support Brexit (for radically different reasons), see royalty as an asset to society and believe that nuclear weapons keep us safe.

You can also find people on the left and right of politics that will disagree with all of the above sentiments. The positions people take on such complicated issues are based on values, not left-right filters, and so if we focus on values and not politics we can win over a majority, but if we focus on politics we will alienate a majority.

Independence is not a political policy, it’s a value statement that a majority can relate to and (under the right circumstances) vote for. That’s why I have always advocated that even though the SNP must form the last Scottish Government before independence, they also must state in advance that they will not seek to form the first post-independence government.

I believe wholeheartedly that a government of national unity for at least five years after independence is necessary to deliver a decisive Yes win. Some will say I am demanding a glorious sacrifice but I think it’s just common sense. The SNP is a broad church held together by the stickiness of the founding value of Scotland becoming a self-governing nation. Once that glue dissolves and the powers to alter the economic and social levers are in the hands of an independent Scottish Government, the SNP will begin the break into its constituent parts. I believe that both Mhairi Black and Fergus Ewing have Scotland’s best interests at heart, but will they still be in the same political party after independence? Will Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney? Will Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon? I don’t know.

A referendum won by Yes (probably in spring 2019) should be followed by a Scottish election where all candidates state clearly that they will collaborate to do what is best for the newly independent Scotland.

Then a government of national unity, whose job is to create policies matching the values that will drive Scotland towards a greater shared prosperity, could deliver progress on a revolutionary scale, but through an evolutionary process combining the values of all sides on the old political spectrum.

Five years later the parties that will fight the next Scottish General Election will have emerged and this won’t alienate the people we need to persuade. Admittedly not everyone can be persuaded, but the vast majority (70%+) are at least willing to listen to the arguments if they included a politically unified government and pluralistic economic approach. Jim Sillars promised “a day of reckoning in 2014” but I would rather offer years of enlightenment and a truth and reconciliation style approach to those that vote No next time. A stark contrast to the broken promises of Better Together.

It’s key to remember, though, that a pluralist rather than polemic approach is not about triangulation. It is not a centre party approach – it involves the complex blending of policies into a solution that appeals to shared values.

Take, for instance, the fact that I support wholeheartedly creating a policy environment that favours small to medium-sized, family-owned and entrepreneurial businesses.

I believe that all added-value economic growth and almost all job creation will come from this sector in the next decade. I also wholeheartedly believe that large corporates need to have their powers to lobby Westminster curbed, that offshoring laws which effectively force business to evade tax need to be changed. Hence why my column and articles get comments accusing me of being both a raving lefty and right-wing apologist. They are wrong on both counts.

Almost everyone believes in a mixed approach and the failure of our economic and political systems over the past decade is slowly making pluralists of us all. It’s just that we haven’t yet all given up the left-right labels and so our thinking is limited by tribalism and the solution stays out of reach.

The Scottish Government’s Sustainable Growth Commission (SGC) represents a massive opportunity to start to define a pluralistic approach. I dearly hope that they have accepted the advice from Business for Scotland, based on establishing values first and then creating a pluralistic policy approach to meeting those values. Last year I waited on the SGC report with bated breath, now I am just kinda fed up waiting. Brexit is slowly loosening the bonds of political Union. The time is now right to put our escape bid to action.