REGULAR readers will know we have been singing the praises of Scotland & Independence, a pocket-sized booklet published by prominent Yes activists Ian Grant and John Brown.

Today, The National becomes the first and probably the only newspaper to be allowed to print extracts from the 40-page booklet which sets out the case for independence in a cogent and straightforward manner. We are also delighted to inform our online subscribers old and new that a digital copy of the booklet will shortly be made available to each and every one of you. In addition, we are looking at ways of ensuring that every reader who wants one will get a copy of the booklet in printed form.

Ian Grant told The National: “I was prompted to write the book out of a frustration that the SNP did not appear to have material putting the case for independence in an accessible way. This booklet is not party political; it favours no party. Alba did not exist until one week after I had written it. It will be useful at street stalls over the summer, and to help with canvassing, especially when undecided voters are found.”

The beauty of the booklet is that it brings in Scottish history and culture as well as the economic case for independence which, after all, is what Scots had for nearly 900 years before the 1707 Union.

Here’s some of that history: “Under our laws and customs, the people of Scotland claimed and consented only to kings and rulers who will defend our nation and sovereignty – most notably in the justly famous Declaration of Arbroath, issued by the community of the realm in 1320.

“The Union of the Parliaments of England and Scotland (Treaty of Union 1706, and Acts of Union 1707) was driven by a mixture of bribery, thwarted ambition and coercion. Undoubtedly, if Scotland had not agreed to an incorporating union, political, economic and military pressure would have forced a union. It was not popular, and removed all political power from Scotland, although in fact Scots law, religious freedom and most other day-to-day functions such as education and local government remained in Scotland’s control.”

Here’s the current situation: “In the face of clear UK opposition the case for an independent Scotland is as strong as ever and achieving our goal isn’t about individual policies or the views of political parties outside Scotland. UK law cannot determine the legality of Scotland’s democratic move to independence under international law.”

An example of what independence does for countries: “One graphic demonstration of the effect of independence on economic performance compared with rule from London is the situation of Ireland. In 1922, when Ireland was partitioned, the six counties of Northern Ireland generated 80% of Irish GDP; in 2021, the position is now reversed with the Irish Republic generating 80% of the wealth of the island of Ireland.”

The booklet lays out the various choices Scotland can make, for example in currency: “Scotland will choose the currency option best suited to her needs, to optimise financial management including borrowing and interest rates. In a situation like the Covid-19 pandemic, having one’s own independent currency allows Scotland to borrow and maintain the economy without having to beg the UK to borrow on our behalf. The early establishment of an independent Scottish currency would appear to be the best option.”

A new constitution is proposed, and there is acknowledgement of the need for a new relationship with our English neighbours: “England/the rest of the UK views the Union differently from Scotland. Subconsciously England views England and Britain as indivisible. Scotland views the Union as a partnership of equal partners.

“Yet, while England regards Scotland as a very junior partner, and indeed a region of England/Britain, it nevertheless regards the loss of Scotland (one-third of land area, and two-thirds of sea area) as an existential loss to the UK. This paradox of a blatant disregard for Scotland, and a desperate need/desire to keep it, is the fundamental problem of the Union.

“When Scotland votes for independence, it will be taken by the UK establishment as a huge slight and may well provoke anger and disbelief. Negotiations over independence will not initially be easy.”