THERE’S a storm coming; an economic and cultural storm that could cause Scotland massive damage. Brexit is bad enough – cutting us off from the single market is disastrous – but the way the Tories are bungling every issue and burning every bridge is catastrophic. They’ll drag us out of the EU, badly damaging our relationships with the remaining nations in the process – if we let them. Unlike those tribal Tories, the SNP approach the future with open minds and in a spirit of consensus in Scotland’s best interests.

Protecting us from the Tory chaos and building a better future for Scotland is the SNP’s job and we have to be ready; ready to fight any election and win any referendum. We have to be action-ready now. That means training members as activists and organisers, connecting members to the policy-making process, and making sure that party HQ is at full campaigning readiness.

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We have to make sure our platform is ready for the voters and robust enough to stand scrutiny, and show that Scotland can make a success of independence. It’s not enough to show how badly we’re doing in the UK, we have to lay out a long-term plan for the future; how we’ll build Scotland’s economy and make sure everyone gets their fair share.

Small and medium-sized businesses will be drivers of growth and we need to build on what we’ve already done to encourage them and help them survive and then thrive. If someone wants to start their own company or be self-employed I want to make sure they get all possible help from Scotland’s Government.

Independence will need a Scotland where enterprise is rewarded and hard work pays off. Improving Scotland’s economy and shrugging off the sluggishness that the UK has created in it is the key to our future. It’s my day job and it’s going to be an important part of the case for independence.

We do what we can in the Scottish Government to repair the damage done by successive UK Governments but we need the full tools of an independent nation to do the job properly. That’s what we have to persuade people on – the need for Holyrood to control the economic levers.

We’ll need answers across the policy spectrum, from welfare to international relations. That needs the party debating to get things right, asking experts, looking at precedents elsewhere and always keeping the people’s interests to the fore to find the best fit for Scotland. We need to refresh our policy platform to build on what we’ve done already. Winning elections isn’t enough – doing something real with power once you’ve won the election is what matters and knowing what you want to do and need to do is essential.

I’ve seen that from the inside as the SNP Scottish Government has delivered on big projects, with the Queensferry Crossing built under budget and the M74 and the Borders Railway coming in on budget and on schedule.

A new welfare state is being created to better serve the people. Ministers are listening to experts to get the future of the health service right. The SNP will always support the best interests of the people of Scotland – as it says on our membership cards – and we’ll need the people of Scotland to support us in their best interests.

We’ve done a lot but it’s only the tiniest part of the beginning. We have to complete the job and we have to be referendum-ready. Achieving that is the job of the depute leader – it’s necessary and urgent. Let’s get ready.