IMAGINE someone approached you and said: “I plan to change your world by creating a new state where you live”. If you are independence-minded, this may seem like an attractive proposition. But say, for a moment, you are not so minded. Then the above proposal may come across very differently.

After all, we have seen how Brexit is working out. Why should independence be much different? Furthermore, independence is all about removing one state from a group of others and to some, especially older, folks this may seem altogether too much like a portent of the turmoil we are now experiencing.

These people need reassurance. And they are part of the core group of voters who need to be persuaded for any independence vote to be won.

Where is their reassurance? How do they know what type of new state will emerge on Independence Day? And how might a present sceptic or opponent of independence know they will not be victimised at the dawn of the new state? To many in the indy movement, these seem ridiculous questions.

READ MORE: Here's how a constitution will help us build an independent Scotland

As I travel Scotland talking to Yes and SNP groups, I commonly get an incredulous response when posing this notion. By and large people in the independence groups are nice folks and they cannot imagine a country that does not reflect that niceness. I have to tell them this is not guaranteed.

There is no God-given right for any new state to prosper. Some don’t. Pious good wishes are no substitute for clear commitments.

But, I hear you say, the Scottish Government has enacted progressive legislation some of which is the envy of the world. I agree, but I would ask how do you know what will happen after independence? What surety is there that these policies will continue?

The Growth Commission findings clearly demonstrate that sacrifices are necessary. How far might other sacrifices extend? To what degree might it be necessary to trade away benefits presently enjoyed in achieving an independence settlement?

When I put these points to the groups I meet, a common response is that these policies are sacrosanct and therefore will continue. Again, my reply is: how do you know?

In turn this is often answered by: “Look, let’s get independence first then we can worry about this sort of stuff later. Eyes on the prize.”

And this may make perfect sense to independence supporters, safe in their absolute conviction that a new state will be a panacea.

Unhappily, it isn’t nearly as persuasive to those looking for reassurance.

Fortunately for those with misgivings, there is a clear answer. A written constitution for Scotland is a contract between the state and its citizens, guaranteeing their human rights, among other things. It can declare that no-one will be victimised for their beliefs. It is a guarantee.

An effective constitution is beyond the reach of everyday politics and politicians. Well-designed, it safeguards may only be modified through amendments requiring broad public consent. Therefore, it delivers guarantees the British Constitution cannot.

Most independence debaters ought to welcome an opportunity to describe this approach as opponents are forced to defend the British status quo.

THUS on doorsteps and debating chambers nationwide, independence supporters can rightly assert that whatever the government after independence, the new Scottish state will honour guarantees and safeguards.

By contrast, no rights can be safeguarded by Westminster as no British parliament may bind its successors.

So, a clear choice may be posited for waverers who are concerned about what lies ahead. A guaranteed future in a new state. Or uncertain prospects so long as Scotland is tied to a failing constitution.

Remember the shorthand definition of a constitution: it is what a country stands for; and what it will not stand for.

When you need to change people’s minds there is an obligation to be clear. And this is particularly the case in terms of values and principles.

In its declaration of these moral precepts, a constitution sets out the foundations of the state.

So, it is unsurprising that prospective new states make the constitution the centrepiece of their drive for independence. (The Scottish government dealt with the constitution in Chapter 10 of its 2014 publication, “Scotland’s Future”).

Now, what about timing? Should a new constitution be dealt with after Independence Day? Or before?

There are arguments for both positions. But if one aim is to reach out to that crucial group of uncommitted voters, then the answer is clear. An interim constitution for Scotland needs to be produced as soon as possible. And it also needs to be heavily promoted.

But surely this will take time, some may say?

Here is one way it can be done. The Scottish Government establishes Citizen Assemblies across Scotland.

An initial working draft is prepared by a panel of internationally experienced constitutional advisors. The Citizen Assemblies work from this draft, feeding their comments and concerns into the panel as part of an iterative process.

Experts on tap; people on top.

The resultant interim constitution would be endorsed by the Parliament and the people of Scotland as part of the independence package.

No surprises. No blank cheques. No pigs in pokes. An independence your granny can trust.

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