WITH the looming UK General Election, it is only right that we are discussing how Scotland will reinstate an independent parliament in Holyrood.

We must recognise there is no easy road and are at a stage where we must carefully map out our route to independence.

That route must take the people with us and allow the international community to recognise our legitimacy in removing ourselves from the union. Therefore, the policy adopted at next months SNP conference is pivotal.

The Supreme Court ruling decreed that we are without powers to organise a legitimate referendum in Holyrood, so we are back to the Thatcher principle of returning most seats from Scotland to Westminster in a GE to start the process of becoming independent.

It is a vitally important point to make at this juncture that the 50%+ option is only viable in a referendum not a parliamentary election for the following reasons.

The SNP winning 56 out of 59 seats in 2015 gave a 50% share of the vote with a 71% turnout so by any measure a landslide victory, and yet, if we follow some of the resolutions currently being discussed, it will still not be enough to begin withdrawal from the union.

The National: Labour peer George Foulkes wants to further limit Scotland's democratic right to a referendumLabour peer George Foulkes wants to further limit Scotland's democratic right to a referendum (Image: NQ)

If we fall short by even .1%, the unionist parties will say that we have had a defacto referendum, where we set the parameters and lost again.

George Foulkes is already promulgating the idea of bringing legislation forward to remove any chance of us ever achieving independence via legal means in the future if we lose on that 50% basis, so we cannot allow that to happen.

However, if we go into an election at WM with our message being that a vote for the SNP means you are voting for independence and we win the most seats, we will have started the process of becoming an independent country.

Parliamentary elections are won by number of seats, referenda are won by percentage of votes cast, so if the opposition demand 50+%, great, hold a referendum.

For those reasons we must win the next election and win it well. The first demand on winning most seats must be an amendment to the 1998 Scotland Act removing Constitutional Affairs from Reserved Powers to WM and reinstating them to Holyrood. This may seem regressive and a step too many for some but allow me to explain my thinking.

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This allows the people of Scotland to decide their constitutional future at a time of their choosing and more importantly, for all time. Having that freedom is by its definition the start of becoming an independent nation again.

Westminster will refuse of that is there is no doubt in the same way as they refused a Section 30 and will refuse any other consideration we put forward. So, we must take decisive action to bring them to the negotiating table because ultimately that is where we must end the union, through negotiation and with serious intent.

Therefore, I would propose a proportion of our elected MPs abstain from Westminster if the UK Government refuse to amend the Act, but those who stay led by our group leader should take every opportunity of making every debate and question a demand that the Act be amended as agreed by the Scottish electorate, their primary focus.

The MPs that abstain should focus on the areas required for advancing our withdrawal from the union by first establishing a national convention from across Scottish society and developing the required infrastructure.

There is nothing new in the abstention method, it was what the Hungarians did in the late 1800s which in turn was the catalyst for Arthur Griffiths in his thinking behind the Irish decision to do the same.

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What Ireland also very successfully did was engage the Irish diaspora, particularly in the United States. Our Scottish Government have started that process and our MPs and National convention must continue that vital work.

While most international governments will not formally engage in discussions on independence with our elected MPs, very few will argue about our right to choose to be independent.

Neither the UN or the EU will argue against the principle of self-determination when it is front and centre of their own founding principles.

This is not a direct plea to foreign governments in the USA Canada, Australia New Zealand or Ireland. It is a plea to the voters in those countries to pressurise their own governments on behalf of the Scottish people who are being denied that very founding principle which they all enjoy and hold sacrosanct, the right to self-determination denied us by The Scotland Act.

That argument is something the Scottish diaspora can lobby their own governments for on our behalf, the power of that pressure cannot be underestimated.

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I understand that this will be seen as one stage too many for some folk and am as frustrated as everyone else that we are in this position. But to build momentum from the international community I believe we must give them something that is difficult to deny, surely democracy and the right to choose are things no one can deny.

So, when we are fighting the next election and the Labour party claim that they are the change Scotland needs, we remind those ex-Labour voters who came to the SNP because they believe in independence, that we are in this position because of a Labour construction.

They are the party guilty of tying the people of Scotland to the Union by virtue of the 1998 Scotland Act Section 5 1) b) stating that that reserved powers include, The Union between Scotland and England.

The only way to release those powers is by being granted a Section 30 from Westminster, which we know they won’t do. This time, by the actions stated above, the international community will have it in their own back yards from their own people that they are condoning a government who denies democracy.

So, when our time comes to declare that the people have spoken and chosen independence, the international community will find it very difficult not to recognise our right to do so.