SOMETIMES in Scottish politics, details can overshadow the big picture. We can’t see the wood for the trees. It’s perhaps a culture formed from centuries of being on the fringe of political power. With control in London, we’ve grown used to obsessing over the scraps, while the big boys (and some girls) decide the way of the world.

As a person who works every day in policy I am used to dealing in nuance, but I try to force myself to look at the bigger picture. And that’s what I want to do in this article. I don’t want to persuade you of this or that policy – I want to persuade you of the need to govern ourselves differently if we’re going to respond to the huge crises everyone in the world faces.

Two of the biggest crises over the next 50 years will be climate change and automation.

The crisis of climate change will be a crisis of scarcity for much of the world’s population as the natural world will not be able to produce enough of what we need for everyone.

The crisis of automation – where computerisation and robotics will render large amounts of labour superfluous – will be a crisis of abundance, the technological world will be doing too much.

Both of these contradictory crises are entirely man-made.

Climate change is man-made because we can’t manage the amount of carbon emissions we emit sustainably. Automation is man-made because the economy is a social system where employers pay workers a wage to create a surplus for them and if the employers don’t need workers for that anymore (some predict up to 50 per cent of jobs could go) then people don’t get paid.

So the two most fundamental aspects of the world that shape the lives of humans – the nature we rely on and the economy we forge out of that nature – are set for deep crisis because of the actions of humans.

Surely, if nothing else gets you thinking about the way we govern ourselves and whether we might think about governing differently, then that is it.

Is the UK state capable of adapting and changing to deal with these problems? If you know anything about how arcane Westminster is, you’ll know already that it is not. Let me give you one, not often talked about, example. The City of London Remembrancer.

The Remembrancer is known as the oldest institutional lobbyist in the world, he has been there since 1571. He sits just to the right of the speaker of the house. His official job role is to “protect the interests of the City of London Corporation in parliament”. And a mighty fine job he is doing of it too.

What excites me about independence is that it should open up possibilities for new ways of governing ourselves – not to simply replicate the 19th-century UK state with its mad elitist traditions.

The Common Weal has been doing some thinking about those possibilities through the White Paper Project. We are, of course, focusing on hot policy issues – such as currency, borders, Scotland’s fiscal position, and more. We recognise that the 2014 offer is now out of date in policy terms.

But we also want a new White Paper to be under-pinned by a bigger vision. We want Scotland to be a modern nation-state run by and for everyone – and that means a state that is capable of rising to the challenges of the 21st century.

I want independence because I want to have a go at tackling some of the monumental challenges we have in the world today. I want Scotland not just to be a carbon-free country, I want to be an exporter of green energy so that other countries that don’t have the amazing natural resources that we do can be carbon-free.

I want Scotland not just to have a great tech industry and be a world leader in things like advanced robotics, I want it to do it in a way that makes everyone in Scotland’s lives easier, not harder. We can design an economy which makes technology a liberating force on our lives not a destructive one.

Scotland is too small to change the world, but we can set a good example – and in the age of instant, mass, global communication, that is the most powerful weapon we have.

Ben Wray is a researcher for Common Weal