IT’S now around one year, one month and one week since Britain voted for Brexit and Nicola Sturgeon effectively announced a second referendum. Believing victory was at hand, the Scottish Government concentrated all fire on the technical question of the single market, hoping to add the executive lounge to their existing, popular support base.

SNP members embraced this strategy with enthusiasm, and the London liberal media were extremely sympathetic to Sturgeon’s position. But middle-class voters are fickle: they talk about cosmopolitan values but vote on school catchment areas and property prices; many working-class Yes voters, by contrast, are anti-EU. A few seemed to change sides either way, but overall, actual polled support for independence has remained almost unchanged since June 23, 2016.

In that context, Sturgeon’s decision to “reset” the timeline could be an opportunity. It allows us space to rebuild the moral basis for independence. Ian Blackford’s interview last week with the Sunday Herald suggested a tepid return to the themes of 2014, downplaying the EU and emphasising the harm done by Tory austerity and the need to talk about how independence can achieve “fairness and equality”.

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Blackford was immediately reprimanded by Business for Scotland’s Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp. He wants to continue with the line that independence in the EU represents the “business opportunity of a lifetime” and he wouldn’t be “slow to criticise” if the independence campaign moves back to the left.

Does this return to real ideological debate – albeit real ideological debate between two white businessmen – represent a movement in crisis? Only in the technical sense, where a crisis means a flash point, for better or worse. There are those who want to focus on the centrist case for the European Union, hoping the promise of open borders will buy off the left and the promise of open markets will bring on the business community. And there are those who want a refocusing on social democratic aims. Simply saying “we can do it all” is a profound misunderstanding of the political times we are living through.

However, so far Blackford’s hints haven’t given much away. So what would a left-wing turn look like?

First, we shouldn’t forget what made 2014 successful. That campaign had many flaws, and it can’t just be repeated today, but it was shamelessly left-populist, and that’s important. Recently, in Scotland, there’s been a tendency to look down our noses at populism as being a “bad thing”. But that’s a dangerous and disarming error. 2014 proved that you can be against the elites, you can be taboo-breaking and dangerous, and you can also be anti-war, feminist and pro-immigration. There were problems, but many virtues too, and Scotland briefly inspired the world.

Second, we’ve got to get the anti-Tory message right. Too often, we’re portraying them as mavericks, rabble rousers and Northern English goofballs. That gives them far too much credit. The Tories are there to express the economic interests and the ill-informed prejudices of the very rich. Philip Hammond, the ice prince of austerity, is equally as dangerous as a million foreign policy inelegances from Boris Johnson. The reality of Tory Britain isn’t Brexit. It’s Grenfell. It’s the Chipping Norton set and the Bullingdon Club. It’s the cynical social experiment in austerity for the poor and welfare for the rich as masterminded by Osborne and Cameron. If we’re clever, we’ll never let them forget it.

Third, we’ve got to come clean on the economics. The wreckage of a four-decade experiment in neoliberalism is everywhere. What comes next? Right-wing populism is the immediate product of this disaster, and it’s a horror show of all the ugliness in European history. But there’s one weird feature of it that should embarrass the left. The hard right aren’t afraid to stand up to blackmail from big business. Brexit is a perfect example. They aren’t afraid to put what they consider as democratic principles before “the economy” (that is, trickle-down economics).

As Larry Elliott has argued, “the left needs to be very careful about running with the idea that business should be able to veto decisions made by the electorate”. This is the dark side of the barely concealed jubilation that currently greets bad economic news about Brexit. Let’s remember that the same “project fear” was used against Scottish independence, and will be again.

MacIntyre-Kemp is wrong to believe that business opinion can be easily switched over to Scottish independence. Some with a big European focus will jump ship, I’m sure, and some businesses will jump for ideological reasons. But the bulk of Scotland’s trade is with England, and a hard Brexit combined with Scotland’s EU entry poses a genuine border problem. Businesspeople are instinctively conservative and unionist, and they think about profit above all else. All things being equal, the pro-EU business case is unlikely to make a decisive difference.

In 2014, we had to stand up to the blackmail of big business. Next time, the big financial houses and oil interests will almost certainly bankroll a Better Together mark II, because while they fear Brexit, they’re unlikely to believe that a break-up of Britain is the answer. So we’ll need to stand up to them again. Fortunately, the real history makers in this decade are those movements who are positioned against the corporate takeover of democracy. That’s where we should be.

If we can retake the language of democracy from the radical right, there’s still a potential role for the EU argument. Certainly, Brexit has proved that Scotland’s institutions are ignored when the “important” and long-term decisions are to be made. Scottish voters, like the Scottish Government, have been railroaded. Regardless of your views on the European Union itself, this presents a real democratic problem. Devolution has been found out. On big decisions, the nations are subordinate to Westminster. That humiliation cuts deep.

The people who voted yes in 2014 and the people who vote SNP today aren’t enough to carry the case for independence, so we’ve got to reach out. Everyone admits that. But do we reach out blindly, or do we pick a direction? That’s the question we’re facing after the reset, and there’s no easy answers when there are no oil revenues and no Irish model to cling to. We’re outsiders. Fortunately, we’re living in an era where outsiders often upset the odds. By embracing this, we can rebuild from even stronger foundations.