THERE is, as we speak, a becalmed aspect to independence – a lack of progress, lack of detail, and lack of momentum.

Alongside is a conspicuous absence of any movement – both in terms of progress and in relation to agency and organisation.

This transitional period is one where the shortcomings of the SNP have been starkly revealed, both in government and independence and, as profoundly, in how it understands democracy, politics and power.

In short, the SNP have been notoriously bad at seeing themselves as part of a wider movement.

Instead, it has post-2014 used the language of being a movement to accrue status and legitimacy, while acting as a block on others and preventing any real movement arising.

For all the rhetoric of being a movement, the SNP’s actions have belied that it is a political party defending its turf and self-interest.

This has always been the way with the SNP. It was the case in the 2014 indyref when Yes Scotland was little more than an SNP front with the window-dressing of the Scottish Greens and a few prominent individuals.

The SNP controlled the purse strings, wrote the strategy and devised the campaign. This nearly worked in 2014, but in the near decade since its shortcomings have become increasingly apparent.

The current climate requires a complete reset. The status quo (and continuing the post-2014 approach) is clearly not an option. A plan for genuine cross-party cooperation is required in which the SNP have the confidence to let go (at least a bit), that nurtures collaboration across and beyond parties (unlike Yes Scotland), and that widens public debate beyond parties, politicians and the usual suspects.

One successful example from the recent past can offer a pointer – the Campaign for a Scottish Assembly (which became Parliament).

This was set up in the post-1979 doldrums and formally established on March 1, 1980 – one year to the day from the disastrous 1979 devolution referendum.

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The achievements of this small body are impressive. It kept the home rule flame alive post-1979 and swung Labour to deepen its commitment to devolution and eventually to a parliament elected by proportional representation.

It brought people of all parties and none together and led to the influential A Claim of Right for Scotland declaration of 1988 – which itself spawned the cross-party Scottish Constitutional Convention that devised a detailed plan for a parliament. All of which led to the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

This is some list for what was always a small group of people. In the words of Pat Kelly, the Campaign for a Scottish Assembly (CSA) “showed what a few dogged determined people can achieve if persistent”.

Its formal aim was “the creation of a directly elected legislative Assembly or Parliament for Scotland with such powers as may be desired by the people of Scotland.”

We need such a body today that focuses on self-determination. One which gets down to serious work.

Which is not owned by the SNP or merely about the point-scoring of Alba or the counter-productive posturing of All Under One Banner. There are bigger issues at stake than any of that.

Strathclyde University academic Jack Brand was a central figure in establishing the CSA and author of one of the best studies of self-government – The National Movement in Scotland – which places the rise of the SNP in the 1960s and 1970s in its cultural and political context.

Brand said at the time of the CSA’s launch: “We are not a political party, we are a movement for Scotland.”

Such a body today would be about furthering progress on self-determination in a systematic and considered way.

It would aim to build the widest consensus for Scottish self-government and self-determination, to create a campaign and activities not owned by any one party or group – and to devise a detailed strategy for self-determination.

The process by which this would be achieved would be decided by discussion, but its broad outline can be sketched.

It would instigate a campaign for self-determination; it would outline a new Claim of Right for Scotland which set out the limits of British democracy (the infamous “The English Constitution” in the words of the Victorian writer Walter Bagehot) and asserted our right to self-determination; and it would outline the shape of a cross-party Scottish Constitutional Convention to further this.

It would aspire to be ecumenical, open and generous – and draw from across public life and the political spectrum. It would include people associated with SNP, Greens, Scottish Socialists, and even Alba, asking them to come together at first as individuals and not representatives of their respective political parties.

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The poisonous divides and spats of independence cannot continue and must be transcended to achieve a new vision.

Such an approach would go beyond pro-independence echo chambers and would aim to include prominent trade union leaders, church figures, business people, academics, experts and specialists, those from the third sector and across public life.

It is important that it is formally about self-determination, not independence, because the two are not entirely synonymous. Independence is a political goal.

Self-determination is about something broader, deeper – and in many senses, more important. It is the principle of how we decide who we are, who we want to be, and how we decide our collective future.

Self-determination is rooted in championing the notion that Scotland has a right to decide its own future: something which has widespread support across public opinion and is currently being denied by Westminster.

In this any campaign would want to reach out beyond independence to Labour and LibDem voters, activists and members. Both parties have in their traditions long-held advocacy of home rule and self-government and critically, contain many voters supportive of independence and even more – majorities – who believe in Scotland’s right to decide.

Such a campaign therefore cannot come from the SNP or be owned by them. Nor can it be the property of any group such as those pro-independence currents whose sole characteristic seems to be sniping at the SNP.

Like the aforementioned Campaign for a Scottish Assembly in 1980, such a movement may be in it for the long haul. That timescale may not be as long as the devolution gap between the 1979 and 1997 referendum campaigns from where we stand at the moment.

But the mythology and continual deception of the Sturgeon era of pretending that an indyref was around the corner was a dead-end; and the mindset of the instant independentistas has contributed to that lack of progress – some of which still lingers and is an obstacle in the way of serious work, strategy and institution building.

Such an initiative will face big challenges. How would it navigate the vested interests of the political parties and make its voice heard?

And to invoke Canon Kenyon Wright, chair of the Constitutional Convention, “What if that other voice we all know so well responds by saying, ‘We say no, and we are the state’?” – to which he answered, “Well we say yes – and we are the people.”

The veto power of the British state was overturned by the collective power of the Scottish people to achieve a parliament – and it can be again.

Critical strategic decisions are also needed concerning the balance of work between the principle of self-determination and the detail of independence which the SNP tried to do in 2014 and have conspicuously failed to do since. But that is a debate for another day.

This potential new organisation’s core mission is to make real a viable vision and idea of self-determination.There is even an obvious name for such a new initiative and body – the Campaign for Self-Determination: Scotland’s Right to Decide.