IT’S becoming increasingly difficult to understand how anyone on the left can support the SNP’s vision of independence. The SNP isn’t just centrist. If it was, those on the left might find its notion of independence just about bearable. The SNP, however, is now bordering on a form of Thatcherism-lite which hides behind a progressive mask.

Just look to the ScotWind deal. The SNP sold off the family silver. Nicola Sturgeon talks of leading us into a glorious tomorrow – yet she’s throwing Scotland’s money into foreign exchequers and the pockets of private corporations. The notion of green job creation is a laughable con.

Scotland will lose billions annually from the ScotWind deal, which auctioned off 17 seabed plots to mostly private companies and foreign firms. BP and Shell have the lion’s share of sites. Then there’s foreign-owned firms from France, Canada, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Italy and Japan. Scotland gets a look in with SSE, but don’t get confused if you see ScottishPower as one of the successful bidders: it’s Spanish-owned. Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund will benefit significantly from investment.

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These very savvy foreign investors will build offshore wind projects generating huge amounts of green electricity and make enormous profits. Can you imagine what Scotland could have done if we’d put the people of this nation and their wellbeing at the heart of the project?

Scotland has no state energy company (despite SNP promises) or sovereign wealth fund to prioritise the interests of Scottish people. Instead, ScotWind makes investors richer and sees money flow overseas. If this offends those on the left, it’s nonsensical in purely business terms too.

The level of lost profits is astonishing: estimates vary between £3.5 and £5.5 billion annually – around one-tenth of the SNP Government’s budget. The think-tank Common Weal says the deal is “arguably the greatest economic failure of the last decade”. ScotWind will bring in about £50-90 million yearly in rent on top of the £700m raised at the auction of sites. Forgive the awful pun, but that makes a drop in the ocean seem positively enormous.

We’re repeating what we did in the North Sea decades ago under Margaret Thatcher: selling our inheritance for shillings.

Money and jobs will haemorrhage from this country. Green energy is quite literally the future. We’ll be gathering up pennies flung from the pockets of rich overseas companies exploiting our natural resources. It’s slavish, cretinous.

From the local to the national, the SNP debases Scotland at the foot of private wealth. Just look at the story unfolding in Glasgow around the fate of Buchanan Galleries, the city’s "posh" shopping mall. The owner of the mall, Landsec, wants to demolish Buchanan Galleries and create an "urban neighbourhood".

These plans may indeed be great for the city. However, out of nowhere Glaswegians suddenly get the SNP council leader Susan Aitken cheerleading the proposals. The plans are now out for "public consultation" – but it’s clear the council cares more about big business than the views of the people.

I spent some time last week speaking to Roz Foyer, General Secretary of the STUC – Scotland’s leading trade unionist. She nailed the problem of the SNP and its vision of independence for those on the left. Ordinary people in Scotland already face intense hardship, and conditions are going to get worse as the cost of living crisis threatens ruin for millions. The current SNP plans for independence do nothing for ordinary people, Ms Foyer believes – they’re just not radical enough.

I cannot disagree. Ms Foyer’s comments aren’t based on affiliation to Labour. The STUC isn’t linked to the party. The STUC supports a second referendum, and Ms Foyer says there’s a possibility it could back independence if the prospectus was one which really aimed to change the lives of ordinary citizens.

I’ll reiterate briefly why I previously voted Yes: I see Westminster as irredeemably corrupt; utterly incapable of reform. I want a better future for ordinary folk – that’s all that matters to me. The only route to that, I’ve long believed, is through independence. However, if I thought for a moment that voting Yes again would hurt ordinary people, I’d abstain. I’m not a nationalist; there are many who think like me. Presently, however, I cannot see how voting Yes, under the SNP’s current prospectus, will make ordinary people’s lives better. The SNP is, therefore, pushing a leftie-liberal Yes voter into the realm of abstention.

The SNP, Ms Foyer believes, “talks the talk but it doesn’t walk the walk” when it comes to progressive politics. The party has been “putting on progressive clothes … it’s beginning to wear thin - like the Emperor’s new clothes”.

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For her, the SNP’s current vision of independence, in the shape of the Growth Commission report, “does nothing to change or make life better for working people … it’s not going to transform our country”.

Ms Sturgeon now says that “preparatory work is under way” for legislation for another referendum. The First Minister’s intention remains to hold a vote before the end of 2023.

Many "fundamentalist" independence supporters believe the FM knows she’s no chance of being able to hold a referendum, and is just leading her supporters on by the nose. I would not be so lacking in grace to accuse her of such grotesque duplicity and connivance.

What I would say is that if she hopes to hold and win a referendum, she doesn’t just have to convince Westminster to let the vote go ahead, she has to convince the many progressive Scots out there – who are very much inclined to independence – that casting a Yes vote will change the country for the better. The prospectus for independence must be rewritten with ordinary people at its heart.

We don’t want a "palace revolution" where what happens in Westminster is simply played out in Holyrood with a Scottish accent.

Many in the Yes movement say "never worry about the SNP – it's a means to an end, once Scotland is independent, they’ll be gone and we can make the country better". That’s blind optimism. If the SNP wins a Yes vote, it will shape the future of Scotland throughout this century. As it stands, that isn’t a vision I can support.

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