Jim Sillars also said the Nats had created a “referendum fairytale of words with no meaning” under the current leadership of Nicola Sturgeon. Speaking today at a fringe appearance at Alex Salmond’s ALBA party conference, the veteran campaigner called for an immediate improvement to the SNPs independence strategy.
He added: “‘A reality check is now needed if we are to achieve independence.
“Making Indyref2 the priority puts the cart of decision before the horse of a successful campaign, the one needed to build a rock-solid Yes well above its present level.
“To achieve that we will need to convince the people that, with the power of sovereignty, we can create a new successful economic model, very different from the failed ‘food bank’ one we live with now.”
Mr Sillars, who served as SNP deputy leader between 1991 and 1992 under Alex Salmond also criticised the “incompetence” of the SNP-led Scottish Government.
He went on to claim that Ms Sturgeon had a “lack of belief” on IndyRef2 by telling voters in May’s Holyrood election that she was “not seeking their support for independence”.
Mr Sillars continued: “If the independence movement remains split, it will be a handicap when we come to campaign for the moment of decision.
“To restore unity in the movement is not going to be easy.”
The senior Nat also admitted the Yes movement must “emphasise” that Scotland should be independent for a purpose “other than just to be out of the political union”.
The former Glasgow Govan MP, who served between 1988 and 1992, added: “We need now to think clearly, do the homework on the economy, engage in a great educational campaign to explain it, and so build a Yes vote that cannot be defeated.”
Mr Sillars, who remains an SNP member, made clear a second independence referendum can be brought forward by the Nats and ALBA working with each other.
The Alba Party starts its two-day inaugural conference in Greenock today.
An SNP spokesperson, said: “The SNP is focussed on winning independence, which is urgently needed – while Jim Sillars has called for it to be ‘deprioritised’.”