SO we are now in phase one of our Covid recovery. With the sun shining, many of us have been able to enjoy those first, nearly physical, reconnections with loved ones and missed friends. Many of the lucky among us could choose to do this in the glory of Scotland’s stunning outdoors.

It feels good. Life is starting, slowly, to return to normal, we are on phase one of four, keep the heid, keep two metres apart, dinnae be clarty and we will be back to normal soon. Well no, not normal, normal wasn’t normal. Normal, we recognised early in the pandemic, was something that had to change. Normal is, for too many people and the planet, broken and destructive. Many of us support independence because we know “normal” is not anywhere near good enough.

So, while there are four phases in the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 routemap, they are just the start. Phase five and beyond are about #buildingbackbetter. These are the phases we must get right so we can build a Scotland for all.

With so many lives lost, it can feel crass to talk about opportunities but, just as setting out the four phases for Scotland has shown many doubters what competent, compassionate leadership sounds like, phase five and beyond give us our chance to renew the case for independence.

I’d argue that with so many old certainties swept away and so many people experiencing vulnerability, (a great number for the first time) people will be ready to listen soon and now is the time that we must be bold, confident and unwavering in what we plan to say.

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We cannot let phase five and beyond fall into the hands of vested interest, the elite, the (Scottish) establishment, call it what you like – some voices in our society have spoken too loud and for too long and need now to be ignored.

So what should this new case for independence be? Invention and ideas on how to improve Scotland have always been in the DNA of our movement and in the last few days we have seen this tradition renewed with four separate but connected calls being published on what phase five and beyond must involve. In here we have our new case.

We have heard from the Wellbeing Alliance on their vision of building a Wellbeing Economy which, rather than chasing the toxic rainbow of GDP growth, says our focus should be on creating more dignity, more collaboration, more health, more participation, more connections while living within the limits of our amazing world.

Common Weal has published detailed plans on replacing the failed neoliberal model with a Resilient Economy which builds on its world-leading work on a new green deal for Scotland. Resilience Economics, once again based on sound, well-established principles, will if followed lead to an economy that provides what we all need, such as a decent home, decent satisfying work and enough tasty, healthy food.

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A resilient economy sets out how we don’t have to try to give critical care workers a 5% pay increase each year if we don’t allow the price of rent, housing, food and utilities to be dictated by globalised private interests. We can do that by land reform, taxation, green re-industrialisation, banking reform and building public rental housing to passive house standards where we don’t need to pay anyone for heating.

The Jimmy Reid Foundation echoed how supporting all people and the planet is incompatible with the principles of our current economic models. They highlight the need, among other things, for a universal basic income, green taxes, breaking up of landownership and public ownership of public transport.

Finally, but vital as it shows the breadth of support for the changes we must make, a letter organised by Friends of the Earth Scotland and signed by 80 organisations from across civic society, was sent to the First Minister. It set out key principles for ensuring our recovery is both green and just (see The National, May 31).

WHAT unifies these four approaches more than anything is that they recognise the need to reform the institutions that govern our lives: land, tax, banking, money supply, localisation of democracy, industrial policy (a Just Green transition) and public ownership.

They set out who Scotland is for, and how we should treat each other. Surely that’s the backbone for a renewed case for independence? Where many of the ideas might not be new, there are new circumstances providing new motivation for people to listen more closely. So for Scotland to #buildbackbetter, it needs three things and we already possess two of them. We have the intellectual energy from our think tanks, policy forums, academics and experts to provide answers for what we need to do. More importantly, we have the moral compass of our movement ensuring that what we build is built on kindness, fairness and equity. What we don’t have, are all the powers to make it happen. We don’t have the powers to provide the financial capital and resist future shocks. We need a central bank, a fiat currency and full borrowing and taxation powers.

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These visions set out so many exciting ways of building back a better Scotland but we cannot make the changes required if we are a “rule taker”. We know Scotland’s economic performance has been hampered by decisions that favour London and the south-east of England. We’ve seen it again during the pandemic, where too often we have been a “rule taker” from a much larger country with a different population size, different population densities, different mobility patterns and different natural assets.

Covid has laid bare the inadequacies of neoliberalism and Westminster to new audiences. People know that change is needed and change is coming. We now have the basis for a renewed case for self-determination and can use this time in lockdown to discuss and debate the specific plans unified under agreed principles. Soon it will be time to move those conversations outwards and to start those respectful conversations about phase five and beyond.

Iain Black is a Voices for Scotland board member and vice-convenor of the Scottish Independence Convention. These views are his own