YOU experience a feeling of queasiness, do you not, when the sentinels of Scotland’s middle-class elites dictate the rules of engagement for the independence movement? In the last few weeks their voices have risen to become a shrill chorus of condescension: “Behave yourselves at the back of the bus,” they abjure us disdainfully, “some people are trying to think.”

Thus there should be no scrutiny of Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP leadership over the deeply troubling questions they are trying to evade in the Alex Salmond inquiry. “How dare you even think about criticising her, you ungrateful slobs.” Don’t talk out of turn as it might encourage our opponents. Leave the big economic questions to us, you’ll just get confused. Know your place.

Even so, I hesitate to include Andrew Wilson amongst this shower. Wilson has devoted his entire adult life to the cause of Scottish independence and represents an important franchise within the movement. He moves easily through Scotland’s corporate world where the ability to nod and wink at the right time can secure favours and contracts. These people too must be brought on-board if an independent Scotland is to thrive. I suppose.

He is a founder of the lobbying firm Charlotte Street Partners whose influence and clients (those few we know anyway) includes universities, banks, television companies and the Scottish branch offices of The Times and Sunday Times. Though quite why two of our biggest newspaper titles require the services of a lobbying and PR firm has never adequately been explained to me.

Full disclosure here: Wilson once asked me to read over a speech he was about to make at an annual SNP conference. It was a good one and needed none of my clumsy interventions. I like the fact that he’s never slow to put his hand in his pocket when it’s time for fresh Bacardis. So, I suppose that makes me part of the network too. He’s a good egg and everybody says so.

Wilson was the chairperson of the SNP’s Growth Commission and author of its report into how to achieve further growth in an independent Scotland. It was intended to form part of Nicola Sturgeon’s response to the consequences of Brexit. Since then, it has attracted almost universal contempt from left-wing groups within the wider Yes movement for its perceived pandering to corporate interests and the absence of anything resembling a plan to re-order our economic priorities in favour of those left behind by Toryism.

Some of the criticism was unfair. This was, I felt, only a conversation-starter and not an indicator of official SNP policy. I hoped that, in time, it would come to be regarded as just one in a collection of visions of what an independent Scotland might look like.

I was far more concerned with Wilson’s views in an extensive interview he granted to last weekend’s Herald on Sunday. Or rather, I was alarmed by what he didn’t say. It’s clear he has doubled down on the principals of the Growth Commission: there won’t be a Scottish currency any time soon and we’ll have to wait another six years for full independence.

There was too the unmistakeable scent of unicorns and moonbeams. Yet again we were all urged to be nice to each other and to behave ourselves or we wouldn’t be getting our pudding – this being the entire mission statement of Glasgow University’s John Smith Foundation for jelly and ice cream on whose board Wilson, naturally, sits.

He also created a bit of history by becoming the first boss of a lobbying firm to claim that his job wasn’t to lobby government. Behave yourself, Andrew. There was a little re-writing of recent history as a means of granting a favour to

Angus Robertson, his “friend”. Wilson insisted that Robertson had won his personal battle with Joanna Cherry for the party’s Edinburgh Central nomination at next year’s Holyrood elections.

Yet he knows more than most that the party establishment stitched up Cherry because she was almost certain to defeat Robertson. This couldn’t be allowed to happen because Robertson is very close to Nicola Sturgeon. All that’s just politics, I suppose, but let’s name it for what it is.

What was most stunning throughout the entirety of this interview was the absence of any reference to the real problems which will require to be addressed if Scotland gains her independence. For, what will be the point of independence if it’s not to break the neo-liberal stranglehold which has lately tipped the balance of UK politics in favour of the few at the expense of the many?

In Scotland, in spite of two decades of left-of-centre government the neighbourhoods and communities which experienced the worst rates of poverty and deprivation at the end of the 1990s are still experiencing them today. Yet, the man whom the interviewer described as the “brains behind the Yes movement” didn’t include any of this in his vision.

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I’d much prefer to have heard him deploy his big brain to address the continuing problem of social injustice, health inequality and child poverty in Scotland’s poorest communities.

Instead, his vision for independence read like a business transaction bereft of vision,

ambition and aspiration. It’s completely at odds with the instincts of those many who have marched and given their sweat for this cause. If independence is only about putting up a different flag and having a nice office in the business districts of foreign capitals and seeking to insinuate ourselves into the favour of the business cartels which run the European Union, then you can keep it.

Where was the passion and the desire to bring about profound societal change for those who have been deliberately locked out of the deals and the sell-offs to global investors? It has to be about much more than this.

An independent Scotland offers us the chance to find a circuit breaker to break the cycle of poverty that stalks this country and is fuelled by the UK Government’s one-sided austerity programme. Instead of planning for 10 years of austerity (which won’t hit the sides of middle-class liberals with two homes) let’s see Scotland’s big brains produce a suite of measures to prioritise health care and schools in our poorest communities; you know, those ones where most of the population reside.

Andrew Wilson should be using that big brain of his to dream dreams of an enlightened tax system that redistributes wealth and resources to the communities that need it. Not to explore ways of keeping Scotland wedded to the currency of the country it wants to leave.