THE SNP are to equip activists with the messaging tools required to woo undecided voters to independence as the party prepares to step up its push for independence in a new Yes campaign.

A programme of seminars on key issues relating to Scotland’s constitutional future will launch later this month with a new prospectus for independence likely to be published by the party later this year.

Brexit and EU membership, the Border, the economy and currency will be among the subjects of the sessions which start later this month and are expected will run over the course of the year.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the SNP conference in November that independence campaigning would begin “in earnest” this Spring as she underlined her commitment again to holding a second referendum before 2024. The coming weeks are due to see all of Scotland’s political parties intensify their activities as they prepare for the council elections in May with the SNP determined to hold onto the country’s largest local authority Glasgow city council. In 2016 the SNP won control of Glasgow city council which had previously been held for decades by Labour.

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Toni Giugliano (below), the SNP’s policy convener, is to chair the seminars, the first which will see Dr Kirsty Hughes, a leading Europe expert, and SNP President Michael Russell discuss Brexit and the process behind an independent Scotland joining the European Union on January 26.

The National: Toni Giugliano, SNP candidate for the Dumbarton constituency in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election

He has also written to the party leadership to ask them to prepare a new easy to read prospectus for independence which would update the SNP’s Growth Commission, which set out the economic case for independence, and the party’s Social Justice Commission report, which concentrated on eliminating poverty.

Giugliano wants the Scottish Greens and the Yes organisation Believe in Scotland to approve the prospectus on a joint basis.

It would be in addition to a new Scottish Government blueprint for independence which the First Minister revealed in September she had asked civil servants to draw up.

“I would like to see this document by the summer. By then we need to be in a position where we are working actively with the Scottish Greens and Believe in Scotland on the ground and consolidate our joint campaigning. And we need to be thinking of the formal arrangement with our campaign partners,” Giugliano told The Sunday National.

“Both encompass a broad spectrum with Believe in Scotland leaning towards the business community and the Greens the left. The prospectus should be agreed by the Scottish Greens and the Believe in Scotland as a Yes partnership.”

He said that he thought a weakness from 2014 was that different parts of the Yes campaign had different views (the Greens and SNP having different policies on the currency and on the future of the oil and gas sector) and that clarity in campaign messages were crucial.

“People out there want clarity on what the position is on a certain policy area. Messaging is really important. It is absolutely crucial and has to be front and centre of everything we do,” he said.

“Having a go at the Tories for being incompetent is not going to win us the referendum. Pointing to how disastrous and corrupt Westminster is takes you so far. We need to have a robust prospectus.

“It’s time we had a refresh of that prospectus which is accessible to the general public, that is political, that is effective and that has buy in from our partners and not just the SNP.”

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Asked if he thought Alba should be in the partnership, Giugliano, a critic of the new party, said: “No. We want to win the referendum.”

However, he added that he would be content with Alba having their own campaign.

The Scottish Government have promised to hold a second independence referendum by the end of 2023 so long as the pandemic is over and want to reach agreement on the vote with the Prime Minister, as was the case in 2014.

However, Boris Johnson has said he will refuse to approve another independence referendum, setting the stage for a potential Supreme Court battle over whether Edinburgh can legally hold one on its own.

In October last year, Sturgeon said she hoped the Covid-19 pandemic would have receded sufficiently by early spring 2022 for “concrete decisions” on the timing of a new vote.

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Asked for his views on how campaigning was affected by uncertainty of whether a vote will take place, Giugliano said: “There is a difference between what the SNP need to do as a party, and what the Scottish Government is doing.

“My job is to get the party and its activists ready and that is what I am focused on.

“I need to make sure the political education happens, which is why these seminars are being run.

“I have every faith in the First Minister and her commitment to ensuring a referendum happens.”