I READ with interest the letter from Ian Stewart asking Nicola Sturgeon to give us a vision for the unconverted (Letters, January 30), and while he is correct in everything he asserts, I believe it is missing the point – that if you have to sell a vision of independence to the people, they are not convinced in their hearts. Ultimately the people of Scotland, wherever they are from, have to believe that Scotland is a nation, not a region, otherwise it will remain a region.

That is not to say there is nothing that needs to be done. I am wary of “scapegoating” particular groups as being the one or more which cost Scotland its independence. It is no good blaming them without doing anything to reach them and convert them for next time. We have to in particular address the big groups who largely voted against indy last time – that is, other-Brits, pensioners and EU migrants. The UK has possibly taken care of the last group with its Brexit debacle, but what of the first two groups?

READ MORE: Come on Nicola, give us a vision to sell to the unconvinced voters

We have been to many meetings over the four years since indyref1, and enjoyable and encouraging as they have all been, they are also sadly preaching to the converted. In this last stretch before indyref2, we have to have a conscious strategy for reaching those groups which out of fear or dislike or distrust will not as yet vote for independence, and as far as I am aware there is no such strategy even being considered.

I am not the only other-Brit to write to The National, so that group can become believers in Scottish independence. There is English Scots for Independence, and Pensioners for Indy. Why are so many of both demographics still stubbornly anti-indy? I believe part of it is attachment to the empire, and to what used to be called British values of decency and caring for the poor etc, which were especially evident after World War II but now have sadly disappeared from British public life. Perhaps part of it is that some of those who have spent their lives essentially upholding the British system, such as in the forces, would feel their efforts had been wasted if they were to change their allegiance now. (It is not lost on me that the SNP depute leader is an ex-Marine, so it can be done).

READ MORE: We must present the case for independence directly to the voters

For some Unionists, you can point out everything wrong with Britain and being done much better in Scotland (largely thanks to the SNP government) and they will still vote for the Union and will not really know why. Do they still fear that the new Scotland will turn on them?

At the time of indyref1, I spoke to people who genuinely believed that they would not be welcome in an independent Scotland. The fear was enough, and sadly I also heard tales of people actually being told they were not welcome as they were taking Scottish jobs.

No-one I know has changed their mind from Unionism to independence. For older citizens, perhaps they feel that all independence offers them is more of the chaos of Brexit, so they run a mile, or perhaps their residual respect for the BBC is enough.

However, the biggest group to vote against independence was still better-off Scots-born residents. They will never countenance paying more tax to make Scotland better for the majority, and that is what the new Scotland would be to them. They are already apoplectic about the minor tax changes already enacted. You cannot be that proud of your country if you grudge paying £5 a week more in tax to that country.

It is important to have reasoned arguments and facts and figures to counter Union lies such as the GERS figures, but on its own it is not enough. We have to reach out to specific groups. It is not enough to hope that they will somehow float into being Yes voters. I don’t claim to have the answers to this, but it is something we need to address fairly urgently.

Julia Pannell
Friockheim, Tayside