Welcome to Transitioning Scotland: Building the Institutions for our new country

This library of discussion papers aims to set out answers to important and justified questions about the institutions and structures required by an independent Scotland or indeed any sovereign nation.

Transitioning Scotland is led by the experts as below.  The discussion papers answer two basic questions: what do we need, and how does this differ from the current arrangements?  This second question will be critical in helping voters understand what will change and why this will lead to better functioning institutions designed to serve all of the people of Scotland, not just the interests of a few.

We trust you find these papers informative and engaging and that they help you build the case for self determination and help articulate the hopeful vision of the type of country in which we want to live.

Iain Black, Co-convenor of Scottish Independence Convention


Paper 1:

Independent Scotland’s Smart Borders

This paper focuses on systematic failures in the current UK system and how these should be avoided by an independent Scotland; outlining some of the approaches we could take to provide a more effective customs and borders policy that benefits Scotland.

Author: WJ Austin

Bill Austin’s practitioner and academic experience spans 40 years across customs & excise, borders, revenues, and defence, in the UK and internationally.


Paper 2:


Scotland must be guided by a clear and realistic assessment of the security challenges it might face as an independent state.  This is not only important in choosing the basic structures and the resources required to address risks, it is also essential to have clarity on this for the process of negotiations with the rest of the UK (rUK) – England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Author: Isobel Lindsay

Isobel Lindsay has been a peace activist and campaigner for Scottish independence since the 1960s.  She is a vice-chair of Scottish CND.  She was SNP vice-chair for publicity and then policy during the 1970s and 1980s.  She was convener of the cross-party Campaign for a  Scottish Parliament and an executive member of the Scottish Constitutional Convention.  Professionally she was a university lecturer in sociology.


Paper 3:

Debts and Assets

It is imperative that Scotland is fully aware of its own rights and responsibilities and it must take the time now, well before a decision to become independent takes place, to plan and prepare. Otherwise, we may find ourselves repeating the mistakes of Brexit and being forced into a disadvantageous deal due to a lack of understanding of what we already have and what we need and want.

Author: Dr Craig Dalzell

Dr Craig Dalzell is the Head of Policy & Research at the “think and do tank” Common Weal. His background is in laser physics but through a strange series of events after the 2014 independence referendum he found himself in the world of politics, economics and statistics. He has been a Fellow of the RSA since 2018. As well as his work with Common Weal, he also maintains his personal blog at thecommongreen.scot.


Paper 4:


In Setting up a Scottish Banking System, the fourth paper in the Scottish Independence Convention’s Transition series, finance expert Peter Ryan presents the case for banking reforms in the transition period leading to independence and explains the processes needed to set this up.

Author: Peter Ryan

Peter Ryan is married and lives in Ayr. He has worked in financial services for over 30 years. He has contributed to payment policy both in the UK and the European Union working with the European Banking Authority on real time Euro payments and Open Banking. His support for Scottish independence came from the injustice of the vote to leave the European Union and a desire to leave a better world for his children.



Paper 5:


Coming Soon

Author: Richard Murphy

Richard Murphy is a chartered accountant and political economist. After a career as senior partner of a firm of accountants, he changed direction in 2003 when he co-founded the Tax Justice Network and became its research director. In 2008 he co-authored the Green New Deal. In 2013 he co-founded the Fair Tax Mark, and in 2019 he co-founded the Corporate Accountability Network. He created the concept of country-by-country reporting which is used to identify tax abuse by multinational corporations. This is now a legal requirement in more than 70 countries. From 2015 until 2020 he was Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City, University of London. He is now Visiting Professor of Accounting at The University of Sheffield and Visiting Professor of Sustainability at Anglia Ruskin University. Richard has co-authored a number of books including The Joy of Tax. It blogs frequently at http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/ and tweets @RichardJMUrphy.


Paper 6:

Joining EFTA and the EU

Coming Soon

Author: Peter Sellar

Peter is a practising EU lawyer. He has a Masters in European Community Law from the College of Europe, Bruges and in his time has worked as a lawyer in private practice in Brussels, at the Scottish bar as an advocate, in-house in financial services and at the Court of Justice of the European Union. 

Peter is very happy indeed to have been asked to provide his views on Scotland in Europe, in particular for an apolitical body like the Scottish Independence Convention that is seeking facts, not spin.



Scottish Independence Convention welcome contributions from authors who have in-depth knowledge about creating the necessary building blocks for constructing an independent Scotland.  If you wish to contribute, please contact info@theconvention.scot.