IN 2015, just months after the independence referendum that changed the nature of Scottish politics for a generation, the Conservatives stood in the General Election with the slogan “Strong leadership, a clear economic plan and a brighter, more secure future”.

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David Cameron (remember him?) tweeted at the time: “Britain faces a simple and inescapable choice – stability and strong Government with me, or chaos with Ed Miliband.”

There was a lively debate in the London media about whether a government supported by Scottish MPs should be allowed. Just months earlier we had been told that Scots could lead the UK. At the General Election, anti-Scottish sentiment was deployed to crush Labour and secure the “strong” government that would avoid “Ed Miliband’s coalition of chaos”.

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Two years later, Theresa May, hoping to cement her position as Cameron’s rightful heir and to cruise to a landslide, talked of a Conservative Government being “Strong and stable in the national interest”.

Oh, the irony!

The last four years have given us anything but strength and stability. Indeed, by the time of reading, much of what follows might well be out of date given the shambles of the Brexit deal and resulting Cabinet resignations. That old adage that in some decades, nothing happens, but in some weeks, decades happen certainly rings true. Since the financial crash of 2008, it feels like we have had a decade of weeks in which decades happen.

In elections and referendums, there are two broad strategies into which pretty much all campaigns fall: the “don’t risk it, maintain the status quo’’, and “it’s time for change, the status quo isn’t working’’.

The 2014 independence referendum was no exception. Project Fear and the Better Together campaign were very clear: independence would be a huge leap into the unknown, away from the stability and security of the UK state.

In an independent Scotland, pensions would be at risk. The NHS would face privatisation. Scottish people would all be poorer without Westminster subsidies. Social security would disintegrate. Passports would be required to visit friends and relatives in England. Scotland would be forced out of the European Union. In short, Scotland would be doomed.

In stark contrast, the independence campaign was characterised by hope and optimism: Scotland could be a better country. It could be more democratic and responsive to its citizens’ desires. It could do economics differently, and begin to redistribute the vast wealth of the nation. It could be outward looking, welcoming immigrants and working for peace on a global stage.

The campaign was clearly multifaceted: whilst political parties were undoubtedly involved – often front and centre – there was a wider movement, including the Radical Independence Campaign, Women for Independence, English Scots for Independence, National Collective, Pensioners for Independence, and a whole host of grassroots groups and organisations that were its lifeblood.

Neither side was without its flaws. But while the No side won the vote, I think it is clear that the Yes side won the argument: our world could be different, it could be better.

All of this tells us a lot about how broken our current politics – our democracy – is. Trust in politicians is low. Political parties, on their own, do not (and should not) have all the answers. People do not feel their voices are being heard. People feel ignored, brushed off, alienated.

Last week’s Brexit deal is, in many ways, just another consequence of this alienation and broken democracy. The fact that the deal mentions Scotland not once indicates just how much devolution really matters to the Westminster elites. The continuing uncertainties about Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement show a cavalier attitude towards the peace process.

So where does this leave us?

It seems that, in the short to medium term at least, that the choice between “don’t risk it” and “it’s time for change” no longer applies. All we have is change, uncertainty and instability: Brexit, deal or no deal (or even another referendum), blows any kind of stability out of the water.

The Scottish Independence Convention knows, from its members and from its conversations with local groups around the country, that there is still a huge appetite for change. And we can, and must, use this to our advantage.

We understand that party politics alone cannot deliver the kind of democratic renewal and social transformation we want – and need – to see in our country.

We know that the independence movement, in all its diversity, is our greatest strength. The creativity that such diversity nurtures will allow for the ideas and vision of a new country to be (re)born.

We do not know when the next independence referendum will happen. But we do know that the campaign for an independent Scotland did not stop on September 19, 2014. We also know that now is the time to up our game – to be more coordinated, better prepared, better resourced.

That is why the SIC is doing what it’s doing; research, fundraising and more, to be ready to launch the next independence campaign organisation to provide the vehicle to support the movement’s ideas and vision for a better country. Now is the time to make this campaign organisation a reality, to deliver the kind of change we want to see.

To contribute funding for this new campaign organisation, visit