IT looks like 2018 will be a pivotal year in Scottish political history. Most people are still in denial about the problems not only with Brexit itself but also the dangers of the political direction, of which Brexit is just an early symptom. As the year progresses I believe people will come to realise that leaving the EU is a mass of chaotic change and uncertainty, and it will then backfire on the Unionist cause.

If independence is to prevail then its supporters must offer a pluralistic, forward-looking path to stability and prosperity with independence, in contrast to the economic damage and loss of global status that comes as part of the UK’s Brexit package. Whether soft or hard Brexit (or as I suspect; something in between), all forms will hit Scotland harder than elsewhere in the UK. An overwhelming discussion ending in an independence vote of around 60 per cent can only be delivered by winning over those who voted No in 2014 due to their vulnerability to scaremongering on economic worries, their fear of upheaval and uncertainty, and resistance to change. Independence will be delivered through the votes won by addressing the concerns of conservative thinkers.

I don’t mean conservative as in voters of the Conservative Party but conservative with a small c – as in traditionalists who value stability, venerate institutions and traditions, who fear radical change, and whose values include positives that match the independence cause such as character, virtue, self-reliance, discipline, heritage, enterprise and sustainability.

Traditionalists vote for Unionist parties largely because they fear the change that independence would bring to the institutions and traditions they value. They can be Conservative, Labour or Liberal voters – all traditional parties are conservative thinkers regardless of their position on the left or the right of the old-fashioned political spectrum.

You won’t be surprised to hear me say that an independence prospectus that comes from the right is bound to fail as it would alienate the left-of-centre voters who voted Yes last time. However, we also need to understand that one that comes exclusively from the left will also fall because it will alienate the soft right-of-centre Yes voters from 2014 and put up a barrier to the newly confused traditional thinking swing voters created by Brexit. I will be blunt – there are not enough on the left in Scotland to guarantee a future Yes vote.

A left-wing prospectus helps Jeremy Corbyn who is an old-fashioned socialist and offers nothing but Unionism and the same outdated, failing political spectrum. In any contest understanding your opponent offers an advantage, but a large section of the Yes community seems to think it’s about left vs right.

The enemy is not the right, it is the fear of change that traditional thinkers feel and that Unionism exploits. Voters that are victims of the fear spread by Unionists need to be engaged positively, educated, informed and protected from it. Aiming a prospectus at only half of the electorate (the left) simply increases the fear felt by the other half (the right).

One commentator asked me during an interview following the Scottish Conservative gains in GE2017, if I felt it was now a battle between good and evil. Erm, no.

That simplistic good-vs-evil analysis demonstrates that many within the movement don’t understand our opponents. First of all, traditional thinkers make up most Labour voters and they have the same values and fears as the Tory voters that need to be addressed. Secondly, Tories are not evil. Wrong maybe, but the idea that they don’t care is misguided at best, wilfully stupid at worst. Most Tory voters are not wealthy – the Conservatives couldn’t win elections if that were the criteria. They are traditional thinkers who sit mostly only slightly to the right of centre.

Traditional thinkers on the right believe in self-reliance, they believe that people who receive benefits rather than working are being encouraged not to work. They believe that if you damage people’s individual responsibility then you discourage hard work and enterprise.

They believe that if the state intervenes then the markets don’t work and people get poorer, and they believe that the Government shouldn’t meddle. They believe as wholeheartedly as anyone on the left that poverty is a problem and want to end it. They just believe that individuals and not the state should do charity, that the market is the solution to poverty and growth, and that socialism creates a self-fulfilling cycle of failure.

They are more likely to be religious and attend church, and they see themselves as highly moral. So when an independence march is led by a huge sign that says “Tory Scum Out!” it sends a message to all traditionalist thinkers on the right that the independence campaign hates them and therefore they conclude that independence has nothing to offer them.

I am clearly not a traditional thinker, more a radical progressive and I believe you can’t have a strong economy without a strong society and vice versa. What’s the point of independence if we don’t start with a fresh set of political and economic values that can bring everyone together? A vision that measures the success of the economy in terms of its impact on society and investment in society as an enabler of economic success.

We must now focus on the huge opportunity to do things better than the UK. To accept that change is coming, and compare the choice of the isolating, separatist, self-harming and xenophobic undertone of Brexit-led change with an international, inclusive, forward-looking, non-partisan change with a new economic approach.

We as a movement have to balance the values of traditionalists on both sides of the old political spectrum in a new pluralistic socio-economic approach. We should forget the old politics and forge a new coalition of the enlightened, win big and create a nation that sets the economic and political standard for this century, not the last.