First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched the “biggest listening exercise in Scotland’s history” in a major speech in Stirling today.
The first phase in the SNP’s new independence initiative will reach out to two million people in Scotland before St Andrew’s Day to grow consensus across Scotland in the wake of recent political events. Equipped with a new national survey, each of the SNP’s 120,000 members will be challenged to engage with five people each month for the next three months, alongside doorstep activism across the country and all SNP parliamentarians hosting town hall events across Scotland.
Meanwhile, a Growth Commission will be established to examine the projections for Scotland’s economy in the post-Brexit climate and in the context of independence. This strategy will include consideration of monetary arrangements to “best underpin a strategy for sustainable growth” and will seek views from across the political spectrum.
SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon said:
“The UK that Scotland voted to stay part of in 2014 has changed and so too have the arguments. That’s why I believe it is right that the SNP leads a new debate on independence.
“We must not assume that people's views — yes or no — are the same today as they were in 2014. Instead we must engage the arguments with a fresh eye and an open mind and before we start talking we must listen. So today, we are launching the biggest listening exercise in our party's history. We want to understand in detail how people feel now about Europe, Brexit and independence. We want to know the concerns that people have and the questions they want answered. We want to build, if we can, a consensus on the way ahead.
“I encourage as many people as possible to take part and let us know their views - whether they are for independence, against independence or undecided. The wealth of information and insight that we gather will then inform the next stage of our campaign.”
Announcing the SNP’s new Growth Commission the First Minister added:
“The Commission will inform our thinking on how growth can be sustained in the here and now and during the period of uncertainty caused by Brexit. It will also examine the projections for Scotland's finances in the context of independence and consider a policy programme, with social justice at its heart, to grow the economy and reduce Scotland's deficit to a sustainable level. It will also consider the monetary arrangements that would best support and underpin a strategy for sustainable growth. While its work is intended to inform SNP policy, it will also seek views from across the political spectrum.”
Members of the public can take part in the National Survey through a new dedicated website going live today - www.survey2016.scot.
The Growth Commission will be chaired by former MSP Andrew Wilson and include Finance Secretary Derek MacKay MSP. The SNP Westminster Group will be represented by Roger Mullin MP and our Holyrood Group by Kate Forbes MSP.
The full membership of the Commission, which will be published alongside its remit within the next two weeks, will draw on a range of economic, academic and business expertise.