THE Scottish Independence Convention (SIC) is set to propose the creation of a cross-party campaigning organisation that would support pro-independence activists across the country with training and resources.

The group, which is a pro-independence stakeholder organisation co-convened by actress Elaine C Smith, musician Pat Kane, journalist Lesley Riddoch and founding editor of The National Richard Walker, could set the plan in motion as early as the autumn, and work would also include substantial public opinion research.

Robin McAlpine, director of the pro-independence Common Weal think tank – which is a member of the SIC – told the Sunday Herald: “It doesn’t make any difference what the core economic cases political parties are setting out say, we still need a cross-party campaign no matter what. We’re conscious of the fact this [a second referendum] could be five or 10 years from now, but either way we’ve got to create the infrastructure. So what we’ve agreed is that there is now going to be a very clear, solid proposal within months, for a properly funded professional campaigning organisation on a cross party basis.

“We’ve got a full grassroots network, we’ll undertake public attitudes and opinion research work, and help in preparing materials for local groups to use, as well as training and development, to give people support.”

The SIC acts as a central hub for pro-independence groups across Scotland to communicate on strategy. In recent years thousands of people have attended its annual conferences, and it held a meeting with Nicola Sturgeon last year as part of the First Minister’s efforts to engage with the grassroots independence movement.

Other organisations which make up the SIC include Women for Independence, the Radical Independence Campaign, Labour for Independence, Scottish CND, the National Yes Registry and Business for Scotland.

It’s not yet clear how big a role organisations like the SIC will play in a series of national assemblies planned by the SNP which will take place over the summer. The party is holding them in the aftermath of the Sustainable Growth Commission report, to consult with members on different aspects of its findings. It’s understood the SNP will open the assemblies up to wider pro-independence organisations, but the process has not yet been fully set out. However, McAlpine added that the Common Weal would produce a set of amendments to the report, on issues like currency, and publish them ahead of the assemblies to spark debate.