IN a newspaper article this weekend, Nicola Sturgeon described the response to the Growth Commission report as “heartening” and insisted that some opponents of independence have since been persuaded to reconsider their positions.

I’ve no doubt that’s true, and I’m glad to hear it. It doesn’t take a degree in maths to work out that we need to win converts from the No side if we are to forge ahead towards independence.

But, as a seasoned politician, Nicola knows only too well that anecdotal feedback can be illusory. I’ve stood myself for public office on quite a few occasions in the past and have campaigned for other candidates in many more. And these experiences long ago taught me to be wary of being swept away by positive feedback. Those who are going to vote for you will say so to your face. The rest just steer clear and say silent.

The big question for the First Minister and her party is whether the numbers who will be reassured by the Growth Commission report outweigh the numbers who will be disappointed. I doubt many Yes voters will switch to Unionism because of this document, but I fear that many could start to lose interest unless it is either given a makeover or treated with a little bit less reverence by the SNP leadership.

Since the last referendum was announced in 2012, I’ve taken a critical but constructive approach towards the leadership of the independence movement. Our paths may well diverge more sharply after we have created a new nation state but, in the meantime, I understand that damaging the SNP can only play into the hands of those who would lock us into the UK straitjacket for ever more.

And that’s broadly how I intend to approach the debate over the Growth Commission. I’m not impressed by those who threaten to walk away from the Yes movement because they disagree with its report. Personally, I wasn’t that enthusiastic about the 2014 White Paper either: in the countless meetings I addressed during that referendum campaign, I repeatedly explained that it was just one view of how an independent Scotland might look, but there were other visions available.

The independence cause is about one key principle: self-determination. The rest is just party politics.

Before 2014, we had a multitude of voices singing the praises of independence, but they weren’t always in harmony, nor were the lyrics identical. We will need even more of that in the next few years. That was brought home to me again by last week’s BBC Question Time from Perth, where it was one of the non-party voices who made the biggest impact. Loki – or Darren McGarvey as I’ve always known him, because I’m a long-time friend of the family – is not always popular among SNP members, but he certainly won a swathe of converts to the cause of independence last Thursday with his authentic, straight-from-the-heart answers.

We need public figureheads on the Yes side who are not under the control of party political spin doctors and will just tell it as they see it. And we need more down-to-earth working-class voices that are able to connect with, and inspire, those who make up the majority of Scotland’s population.

So, back to the Growth Commission report. There are some points that most of us, including those of us on the left of politics, can agree with. A 50% reduction in poverty in line with the demand of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, for instance. A national economic strategy, as opposed to a market free-for-all. Immigrants to be welcomed to Scotland rather than looked upon as a disease to be eradicated. A commission on gender pay equality. A Scottish National Investment Bank. A new Scottish Central Bank. Stronger regulation of the banking system. A separate Scottish currency.

Some recommendations are pretty bland and neutral. But there are other more controversial proposals, which, to be frank, have come like a gift from the gods to the born-again Corbynites of Scottish Labour. And make no mistake, if the public deficit reduction target of 3% of GDP is adopted as policy, it will allow Labour to whip up anxiety across the most deprived parts of the country and will become a millstone around the neck of the entire independence movement.

I actually believe there is room for cuts. If Scotland’s defence budget, for example, was reduced pro-rata to the level of the Republic of Ireland that would save £2.5 billion and make serious inroads into the deficit. So, too, could new forms of revenue raising, such as tourist taxes, land value taxes, and increased taxation on non-productive sectors of the economy such as gambling and stock exchange transactions.

In place of the ultra-cautious Growth Commission report, a package along these lines, along with a short-to-medium term financial stimulus, would establish clear red water between the bleak austerity on offer from a post-Brexit UK Government and a bold, leftward moving, progressive Scotland.

The Growth Commission’s report is more credible on currency than the position we had in the past. And yes, a transition period could help some make people make that leap towards independence. But as many others have pointed out, if we don’t control our own currency we can’t shape our own economy.

After the Baltic states regained their independence in 1991, Lithuania had its own currency within nine months, Estonia within 10 months and Latvia within 20 months. Then when the former Czechoslovakia divided into two states with the “velvet divorce” in 1993, the two nations established their own currencies within seven months.

In this day and age, with technology a million times more advanced than in the early 1990s, the 10-year transitional timetable takes caution to the outermost extremes. Mark Zuckerberg turned Facebook from an idea in his head into a global superpower in half that time. I hope there will be a proper debate around the Growth Commission report. Yes, it’s an SNP document, but 23 major organisations from outside the independence movement were invited to comment during the document’s gestation, including anti-independence bodies such as CBI Scotland, the Institute of Directors, and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

I would suggest that the SNP should redress the overwhelming pro-business balance of the contributors so far by arranging special meetings for trade unionists, frontline anti-poverty campaigners, women’s organisations and environmental organisations.

Finally, I would suggest that we perhaps exaggerate the importance of the economic arguments. No voters are not a uniform group, and shy away from independence for a wide range of reasons. Some really do suffer from the “Scottish cringe” – the idea that Scotland is uniquely incapable of running its own affairs.

For many more, however, it is about confidence. We live in a volatile world and they fear an independent Scotland might crash and burn. They do need some reassurance.

But we have to balance that with inspiration. The young, the low paid, the single parents, the carers, the frontline public-sector workers, the council and housing association, the private tenants, the people of no property, are the majority. They number in their millions. It is they, not the Institute of Directors nor the Scottish Property Federation, nor the Royal Society of Edinburgh Business Information Forum, who will decide the future of our nation.

In the words of the great English poet Percy Shelley, we are many – they are few.