I NEED to respond to the article by Kathleen Nutt regarding the differing views on when the next independence referendum should be held (Salmond: now is the best time for indy fight, January 21). Clearly the obvious answer is when we can win it. I am not sure such a time will simply just appear. It will have to be managed, manoeuvred and identified when all external factors affecting a positive result are assessed.

This is no mean task and clearly the “experts” will have their say. As an independence supporter I believe that regardless of all the talk and suggestions being banded about, it should be before the next Holyrood election in 2021. There are three key issues to be addressed.

The second referendum should be managed with a clear strategy going forward now, it needs to be conscientiously manoeuvred into place now and a critical analysis needs to be made of what external environment factors need to be in place and are conducive to a Yes vote.

Clearly the negative factors that resulted in the failure of the first independence vote should be looked at closely and not repeated. No-one seems to have done this and produced the “paper” for discussion. However the political/economic/social environment of 2014 is not the environment of 2018 and much has changed. The views of Alex Salmond, Andrew Wilson, Mhairi Hunter, Joyce McMillan are welcome but they merely represent a point of view. I am more likely to echo the words of James Kelly – why should we have to wait “until we have consensus and harmony”? It’s never going to happen.

My only concern is that further chaos and uncertainty may be required to convince the number of “don’t knows” to vote Yes and therefore take us over the line. If you believe the pundits, we are stuck at 45% . Is this not a good starting point? Before 2021 the external factors are likely to worsen, making the likelihood of independence in my opinion more likely.

Clearly those believing that “consensus and harmony” are needed to ensure independence would not agree with this. The attempts by the First Minister to convince the Prime Minster that the retention of the single market and customs union are essential – and if not a People’s Vote should be the solution – would of course suggest a policy of consensus rather than adding to the chaos.

The key will be Brexit deal or a no deal. I do not believe that the position of Scotland and the attitude of the rest of the UK to our country will change. In fact I believe that our position will get worse. Section 30 approval will be refused, attacks on our devolution will continue and our voice will continue to be ignored. Clearly “consensus and harmony” is not going to appear any time soon, so why should anyone suggest we wait for it?

These circumstances are not in Scottish hands, they are in the hands of those who would deny us independence. I believe that there are sufficient conducive external factors now in place as the basis for an independence vote.

In relation to the correct strategy to be put in place for a win, we do not need a large tome to be produced like the last time. A strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis should suffice, highlighting where we are now as a country, our economic position, social changes in place, that we will allow a vote on whether we wish to join Europe, start with a Scottish pound not tied to any other currency, be clear on our defence, the Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy. It should be clear, realistic and achievable. Much in our country is now in place – let’s tell everyone.

Crucially and probably more importantly is my last key issue, which is manoeuvring into place a timescale and plan that will deliver a Yes vote prior to the 2021 election. We already have the approval of our parliament to go for a second vote, therefore the task would be to get a Section 30 through Westminster. Clearly this will be met with no approval. Such non-approval can be added to the other external factors causing our nation grave concern. I believe this action will be the starting point for our drive for independence.

I suggest this will be soon after we leave the EU at the end of March. We manoeuvre in to place a timescale of 18 months, over which time we will have a clear strategy that addresses the actions we intend to take, the documents we intend to produce, the press and communication strategy. Crucial to all of this will be the consensus needed both at top level and at the grassroots of those parties and organisation needed to deliver our independence. This means that by October 2020, if a vote is held the SNP as a party will have time to reflect on its future regardless if the decision is Yes or No.

We cannot afford as a nation to “just wait and see” – we need action now.

Dan Wood