Former Yes Scotland strategy chief makes case for compromise on independence

·3-min read
Former Yes Scotland chief strategist Stephen Noon suggested if independence campaigners could achieve 90% of their goals that could be ‘good enough’ (David Cheskin/PA)
Former Yes Scotland chief strategist Stephen Noon suggested if independence campaigners could achieve 90% of their goals that could be ‘good enough’ (David Cheskin/PA)

Delivering a second vote on independence is “exactly what” the Scottish Government should be doing, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has insisted – despite a leading figure from the previous campaign suggesting the party should consider a compromise on the issue.

Stephen Noon, who was chief strategist for the Yes Scotland campaign, said while supporters of independence may not be able to achieve 100% of what they want, 90% could be “good enough”.

Mr Noon, who also worked as an adviser to former first minister Alex Salmond, said: “I want Scotland to have the form of government that it wishes, and that may not be independence.”

I may want to get 100% of what I want, but that's not life. In life you sometimes get 90% of what you want and that's good enough

Stephen Noon, former Yes Scotland chief strategist

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already made clear her determination hold a second vote on independence in October 2023, but to do so she needs the UK Supreme Court to rule such a vote can be held without the consent of Westminster.

If she cannot hold a referendum next year, the SNP leader has vowed to make the next Westminster election a “de facto referendum” on independence.

However, Mr Noon said that would be “another point of escalation” in the Scottish political landscape, as he suggested independence campaigners should be “prepared to enter a conversation which is at a different level and enter a process where we might not get what we want, but we might get what the people of Scotland want”.

In an interview with The Times in Scotland, Mr Noon insisted he would “argue with my heart and soul for independence” but added that this “may not be the point we get to in the immediate future”.

He said: “I may want to get 100% of what I want, but that’s not life. In life you sometimes get 90% of what you want and that’s good enough.

“And so for the independence movement, if we can get 90% of what we want, and in a way which gives the ‘No’ side also a good chunk of what they want, is that not worth exploring?”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said delivering on an independence referendum was ‘exactly what the Scottish Government should have been doing’. (Isabel Infantes/PA)
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said delivering on an independence referendum was ‘exactly what the Scottish Government should have been doing’. (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Mr Blackford said he did had “some sympathy and agreement with Stephen”, as he stressed the importance of “trying to reach a consensus” in the political debate which can “bring people together”.

Speaking on Times Radio, Mr Blackford said: “I think what we really need to do, all of us, is stand and extend the hand of friendship to those in other parties. We really need to have a debate about what kind of Scotland that we want to live in.

“We’re living through the cost-of-living crisis just now and we want to see this being dealt with in a different way.

“So let’s have that debate. And let’s have it respectfully.

“But I think it’s right that having had that manifesto commitment on delivering independence, and an independence referendum, that’s exactly what the Scottish Government should have been doing.”