A NEW campaign group for independence is aiming to convince 60 per cent of Scots to vote Yes by offering a “safe space” from “shouty men”.

Voices for Scotland, a spin-off of the cross-party Scottish Independence Convention, hopes to sway voters with the art of conversation, not berate them.

It plans to offer independence campaigners resources to use on the doorstep, hold town hall meetings, and run a website to help inform the debate.

It will be chaired by former SNP MSP Dave Thompson whose quick thinking in the 2007 election led to the recount of the Highlands & Islands list ballot that gave the SNP its one-seat victory.

Set up in 2005, the Scottish Independence Convention includes the Greens, SNP, Scottish Socialists, Radical Independence, and other Yes groups.

Convention chair Elaine C Smith said Brexit had shown what can happen to a country after a narrow referendum result, and she wanted a “big majority” for independence, not a 1% win.

She said: “I know a lot of people out there will say, ‘That will do’, but for me and many many others, it has to be that we take a big majority of the country with us.

“In order to do that, we have to change our discourse. We have to look at how we speak to the rest of Scotland.

“One of the most disappointing things for me and many others is that the discourse seemed to become very shouty. There was a lot of shouty men shouting at each other from either side of the barricades.

“We need something better than that.”

The actress added: “I want to hear from the people who voted No and why they voted No.

“What is needed is a safe space where people feel they will be listened to, not shouted down, and give their very legitimate reasons for voting No or not being convinced by the arguments.

“That’s what Voices for Scotland aims to be - that safe space.”

“To allow people with different opinions to come forward and not be answered with, ‘Here’s a tract you can read’, but we answer them in a respectful and uplifting way, and not tell anyone on the other side that they were unpatriotic. The people I know who voted No love Scotland.”

Mr Thompson said: “Our aim is to get independence support up to 60%. We’ll do that as quickly as we possibly can. That’s the target. But whatever it is by the time the referendum is called, we’ll be working really hard to raise the percentage up to the 60% level, because we need to get big support for independence so that it is absolutely clear the people of Scotland support independence for Scotland.”

Voices for Scotland board member Tony McCandless said he wanted the group to be “an open invitation to people outside the Yes movement”.

Also at the group’s launch at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, veteran journalist Ruth Wishart said older voters had been “cynically manipulated” by scaremongering over their finances in 2014.

She said Scotland could be dragged into post-Brexit isolation and chaos in pursuit of a “racially infused fantastical golden age which never existed” or “slough off the mantle of subservience”.

Backed a by a recent £100,000 crowdfunding campaign, the group commissioned academic research which found young women emerging as a key demographic in the Yes campaign.

It found females aged 18 to 35 felt particularly aggrieved at the loss of life opportunity represented by Brexit.

However the elderly remained highly risk averse as they often had no other source of income than their pensions, and were deeply concerned about anything that threatened them.

Ms Smith said the timing of the launch, the day after Nicola Sturgeon announced a push on a second referendum, was coincidental.

She admitted there was a “line of communication”, but added the group was “certainly not a front for the SNP”.