Ahead of next weekend’s spring conference, the Sunday National highlights three big issues set to dominate discussions at the event...


BAWBEE or not bawbee – that is the question before the SNP conference next week.

Is the Unionist press correct, however, in predicting the issue of currency will split the party and send the Yes movement into disarray?

It’s true the issue is a thorny subject with many considering the SNP’s stance on currency in the 2014 referendum a major mistake.

READ MORE: A Holyrood election is the best option for an independence vote

Former chair of the Yes Campaign, Denis Canavan, said last week: “The currency thing turned out to be disastrous because you cannot have a currency union with another partner unless the other partner agrees.”

Yesterday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there should be a “careful, managed and responsible transition to an independent currency”.

The National:

Writing in The National, she said: “The SNP is being asked to adopt, for the first time, a policy position ... in favour of an independent currency. The resolution sets out that we will do so when the conditions are right, and only when we have completed the necessary preparations. That is significant and important.”

The policy has been recommended by the Sustainable Growth Commission, with SNP chiefs keen to present a clear economic plan that would persuade voters to say Yes.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon sets out independence plan – with a big warning to critics

The recommendation that a Scottish currency should be established is favoured by the grassroots of the Yes movement.

An amendment to the motion before conference calls for a speedy switch to an independent currency and is gaining support.

This has been put forward by the Campaign for an Independent Currency (CIC), which is unhappy about the wait for the “right” timing for a new currency and is calling for its immediate creation in the first term of an independent Scottish Parliament.

The CIC says a prolonged period of sterlingisation would leave Scotland unable to protect itself against the effects of another financial crisis and reliant on London for a bail out.

The amendment is supported by the SNP Trade Union Group as well as the Stirling, Bannockburn, Clydesdale and Greenock and Inverclyde SNP branches, among others.

“The level of support from SNP members and groups in such a short space of time demonstrates the growing opposition members have with the Growth Commission’s currency proposals,” said CIC campaign co-ordinator, Rory Steel.

The National:

Fellow CIC chief, George Kerevan, added: “If certainty and stability is the aim, we should follow historical examples and establish our financial independence within a reasonable timeframe.

“We have to get currency right so that come the next independence referendum so activists and voters take confidence from a concrete plan.”

Heated debate is likely but there are signs the party leadership has been listening to the grassroots.

READ MORE: Former Yes chief says independence will happen in his lifetime

Yesterday, Sturgeon was praised by some Yes supporters for addressing the issue openly in the pages of The National.

“It’s good to see that Sturgeon is tackling the fiscal/economic debate of an independent Scotland in such an open manner,” said one. 

“The founding of a new self-sufficient fiscal structure is a complex task because a number of questions cannot be answered with 100% probability until after independence is achieved.”


THERE is no question that this SNP conference – like any other – will be dominated by independence. However, the First Minister is expected to use her keynote address to set out the long-awaited roadmap to a second campaign, giving additional gravitas to the issue.

And as SNP Councillor Chris McEleny pointed out in today’s Sunday National Seven Days, the debate on the Sustainable Growth Commission is absolutely crucial.

“For the First Minister of Scotland knowing just when (note: that is when, not if) to push the button on a renewed independence push is fundamental to our nation’s future,” he writes.

The National:

With Scotland’s much maligned position amid the tumbling wreckage that is the Brexit process but the latest clear indicator that independence is the only way for the country, McEleny also reviews the potential outcomes of taking an indyref request to Westminster.

“Simply calling for a Section 30 order, in the knowledge that it will either again be ignored or rejected, isn’t good enough. What will we do if it is rejected?” he asks.

We must be clear to the UK Government and whoever the Prime Minister may be: if you deny the people of Scotland the right to exercise our mandate to hold a referendum then you are on notice,” McEleny added.

He also offers that the SNP could look towards the 2021 elections, advancing on a ballot of initiating independence negotiations.

It could be one of the most important speeches Nicola Sturgeon delivers as First Minister of Scotland.


THE upcoming EU elections are widely considered to be the platform for a proxy-EU referendum as well as being Scotland’s chance to issue a unconditional rebuke of Brexit by voting for pro-European candidates.

Despite the UK Government’s brazen attempts to suggest that candidates from the British Isles may yet be blocked from taking part in the campaign and the possibility of an election boon for Brexiteers down south, the elections present a positive opportunity for Scotland.

The National:

In his Sunday National column today, Brexit Secretary Mike Russell writes that voting SNP “confirms the European referendum vote in 2016 and does so in the knowledge that the Scottish Government has tried hard to compromise and to be constructive but has been met with no reciprocal gesture”.

And the party will be sure to launch a campaign based upon unity, common ground and the European ties that bind – a complete contrast to what will surely be a negative and spiteful show from Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. It is also yet unclear what strategy the Tories will employ. That they will campaign at all is something of a paradox in itself.

Russell maintains that ensuring a solid victory at the EU elections will mean that “we can continue with the national debate on how Scotland can have a better future and can avoid ever again being dragged into this type of mess against our will.

“We need to have a mature discussion about how our institutions must grow and develop to achieve that aim. To do so, we must unify the country in an outward-going and positive spirit,” he said.