THE SNP appear to have spent a huge amount of time over the last year preparing to fight the last referendum campaign. At the very least, many media sources depict the party as believing the No campaign will lead next time on the question of which currency an independent Scotland will use.

In 2014, the currency question was never sincere. It was a way of talking about the huge risks that will come with independence. Alistair Darling used it to ask the people of Scotland if they trusted an SNP government, led by Alex Salmond, enough to build a new country.

In the first TV debate, when Mr Salmond was as eloquent and persuasive as a chat show host, polling suggested people were unconvinced. First impressions matter, and the argument was largely lost by the time the First Minister showed up for the second debate.

When Derek Mackay came to my local SNP branch to make his sales pitch for his conference motion, after about three questions, he declared that we had talked enough about the currency issue. That did seem like the case to me, and we hadn’t started to talk seriously about the Growth Commission report. The report is a serious attempt to reach out to many doubters from 2014: people who are doing well enough in the present system. Many of them wanted to be part of the double union of the UK and the EU. They didn’t realise people in England had other ideas.

We’ve seen that implementation of Brexit is complex. It has turned into a complete bourach because the Prime Minister never worked out that she had made too many concessions to the cakeists and unicorn hunters in her own party.

It’s also failed because of Theresa May’s dogged determination to work to achieve a majority in her own party, as if the decision of the 52% who voted Leave could never be legitimated by cross-party consensus, never mind a broader consultation with the public.

Top-down implementation of Brexit reflects the UK Government’s mistrust of the electorate.

When histories of Scottish independence come to be written, and if the SNP’s 2019 Spring Conference earns a mention, it will be for its role in approving a Citizens’ Assembly as the basis for framing a proposal for independence – and not for endorsing a specific economic blueprint. Arguably, sustainable growth is illusory. Elected politicians are not the best people to advocate it. Gordon Brown, in proclaiming the end of the era of boom and bust, thought he had found a formula for it. Instead, banks engaged in financial engineering brought the NICE (non-inflationary constant expansion) decade to a shuddering halt in 2008.

Across history, growth has been anything but sustainable. Continued economic growth has only occurred during the past 400 years. Young people campaigning for action on climate change are asking necessary, serious questions about what we mean by sustainability. Can we really expect the doubling of living standards every generation? That’s what politicians feel compelled to promise. It seems to be what the Growth Commission has in mind.

Stop for a moment, and ask this question – whose economy is it? And what is the economy for? The Growth Commission report does not really have any answers to questions like these. Andrew Hughes Hallett’s article in The National on Friday was very helpful in explaining why that is.

Behind the technical detail, author Andrew Wilson was thinking in macroeconomic terms – the economy as a machine and politicians as technicians of demand management. That’s a bit like a doctor treating symptoms. A small deficit, low inflation and a stable exchange rate are all that are required for good economic health.

This ignores the supply side of the economy, and our underlying ability to use and manage wealth and resources. Sustainability, if it means anything, is a recognition that while markets are important they are not enough. Economic and social wellbeing very often depend on

co-operation and willingness to wait to have a share in greater wellbeing in future. And getting that right for Scotland seems like a matter for a Citizens’ Assembly.

Dr Robbie Mochrie is Associate Professor of Economics at Heriot-Watt University