AFTER the Independence Convention on Saturday, I couldn’t get the words of a 1972 song by Johnny Nash out of my head: There are more questions than answers.

The sell-out event, 800-strong, was buzzing. And there was a huge amount of wisdom and experience in the room. That’s a resource we really need to mine until every golden nugget is extracted. Because 28 months on from the first independence referendum, there are still more questions than answers.

The speaker of the day was Dr Craig Dalzell. Not because he’s the greatest orator (no offence intended) – but because he was the guy who drew gasps from the hall as he went through his graphs revealing the details of voting patterns and turnout among the different demographics on September 18 2014.

Clearly all statistics – particularly those based on polling – need to be treated with caution. But his slides chimed with what a lot of activists have been saying since 2014. They demonstrated the contradictions and underlined the choices the independence movement must confront.

The people most likely to vote Yes – folk on lower incomes and the relatively young – were least likely to turn out at the polling stations. People in the audience spoke of ballot boxes from places like Easterhouse in Glasgow tipping out 100 per cent Yes votes. But the turnout in some Glasgow wards was as low as 52 per cent. In stark contrast, turnout among No voters aged over 65 was a staggering 98 per cent.

Allowing for exactly the same turnout in any future independence referendum, we would need an additional 372,000 votes to deliver a comfortable 55 per cent for Yes next time round – and 228,000 extra votes to scrape home with 51 per cent.

Craig projected the differential impacts of targeting various demographic groups. A ten per cent swing among pensioners would generate an extra 170,000 votes. But a five per cent swing among those on median and lower incomes would produce a colossal 400,000 more votes for Yes.

Do we have to choose between reassurance and inspiration?

Pensioners need to know that their own personal finances won’t get worse, while those of working age on low incomes – by far the biggest grouping in the country – want to know that everything will change.

Support among women aged over 55 has apparently plummeted. In an ever-changing, insecure world, the prospect of more change seems to be unsettling this group more than any other.

That’s not because women are genetically more cautious. As Lesley Orr of Women for Independence suggested, that’s probably because these women are bearing the brunt of austerity (by 2020, 85 per cent of cuts to the tax and benefits system will have come from the purses of women) and so may be worried about further instability. They also generally have more to lose than younger women.

Craig also pointed out the surprising fact that support for independence has dropped amongst SNP voters and gone up among Labour and Lib Dem voters. Brexit definitely has something to do with that. But it may also be a warning of the potential risk involved in tying our independence strategy too narrowly to the cause of the EU single market.

Craig’s statistics are worthy of deeper exploration – we could have done with a whole day on that alone.

We also need to give more thought to getting the balance right between powers and policies. Last time round, people wanted answers on detailed policy questions – and the SNP responded with an in-depth white paper.

That, however, threw up its own problems. It caused some consternation among non-SNP members in the Yes movement, especially on the issue of currency. Stewart Kirkpatrick, who was head of digital media for Yes Scotland, told yesterday’s conference that sending the message that we’d still use the currency of our opponents – and become permanently dependent on their cooperation – was a gift to the Better Together campaign.

It’s tempting to try and lay out exactly what an independent Scotland would look like. Common Weal have their own white paper project to do just that. Most activists at the Independence Convention were left of centre, so when the audience was asked whether, for example, we should have a citizen’s income, it was no surprise when the idea received an enthusiastic endorsement.

I agree with much of the white paper project’s ideas, but I’m not sure that a different white paper, that also conflates power and policy, except with different policies, is the way to win a second referendum.

So do we distil the independence message down to the fairly radical left-wing set of policies proposed by Common Weal? Or to the more moderate centre-left policies of the SNP?

Or should we concentrate on the simple premise that independence will give the people of Scotland the power to implement whatever policies the majority choose?

Do we throw everything at the folk on low incomes in our cities and schemes, convincing them that independence will radically change their lives, while frightening away others who are more comfortable, and more likely to turn out in the referendum? Or alternatively, do we focus on reassuring the better off – and risk further mass abstentions among the young and the low-paid?

Can a pluralistic movement face in two directions simultaneously? Is a broad movement with different component parts, emphasising different messages to different audiences, the way to win the referendum? Is there a clear, simple, unifying prospectus for independence that can unite the entire movement?

The SNP built itself by speaking in different voices to different parts of the country. It was criticised for doing so. But out of diversity, it managed to create a movement with one clear goal.

That’s easier in opposition than after ten years in government when the fine detail of every policy is forensically analysed by the media.

So is it now time for the broader independence movement to take on the mantle that the SNP has been forced to discard?

The strategy session at the Convention was by far the most important one. We only scraped the surface. But there seemed to be a consensus that we cannot leave this movement solely in the hands of the SNP.

Several speakers made the point that without the SNP we wouldn’t be where we are today – but without external allies, the party cannot get over the line.

Saturday was the birth of what is likely to be the new Yes Scotland – but it will look different, feel different and work in a different way from the 2014 Yes movement that brought us so near but so far.