AN independent Scotland should aim for a “smart” rather than a hard border with England, according to a new report published by the Scottish Independence Convention (SIC).

It’s one of a series of papers commissioned by the body to examine “how to build the institutions required by a new Scotland.”

The SIC say it’s about highlighting to voters “the merits of independence compared to being ruled by Westminster.”

In their first release, titled Independent Scotland’s Smart Borders, they said the issue of borders has gone from “a stick pro-Union forces will attempt to use to beat down the case for independence” during the first indyref to becoming “increasingly detoxified” because of Brexit and coronavirus.

The SIC report, written by Bill Austin, calls for an independent Scotland to adopt “smart borders” where revenue, immigration and safety functions can be checked not at “a line on a map” but at “the most appropriate, cost effective and convenient real or virtual space.”

The report says: “The very notion of a ‘hard border’ where everything and everyone is stopped and searched is a ridiculous and almost cartoonish fiction, not resembling reality in any other European nation.

“Indeed, it is not a concept recognised by the World Customs Organisation, an organisation the UK has been a member of since 1952."

A poll commissioned by Scotland in Union found that 43% would be less likely to vote for independence if the price was a hard border.

Asked about a hard border with England last year, Nicola Sturgeon said: “I don’t want borders, it’s not my policies that are putting borders anywhere.”