NEITHER the anti-independence parties, nor any anti-independence organisation, nor their snidely frothing supporters in newspaper comments sections is particularly good at putting forward a positive case for Scotland remaining a part of the UK.

What once passed for a positive case has been utterly trashed by the Conservatives and Labour since 2014.

According to eastern philosophy, one’s conduct in life determines how one is reborn in future incarnations. Better Together is going to be reborn as a pursed lipped, narrow minded, nasty xenophobe, totally bereft of any positive vision, utterly lacking in compassion, defined by fear and consumed by hatred. Not unlike the Scotland in Union trolls who infest newspaper comments sections, in fact. What’s going to be lacking is any attempt to depict a positive vision of what Scotland can achieve as a subordinate and silenced part of Brexit Britain.

It’s going to be extremely difficult for any future anti-independence campaign to credibly promise stronger devolution. Given the chaos of Brexit it’s impossible in for them to assure Scotland that it depends upon the safety and stability of the UK. They can no longer insist that a Scottish independence which seeks closer ties with Europe is parochial and inward looking when Brexit is defined by isolationism and exclusion. They can’t scare us with the threat that Scotland will be cast out of the EU, and we’re past caring about their nonsensical claim that Scotland, uniquely, is incapable of having a currency. And it’s simply risible to attempt to tell Scotland that it’s a much loved, respected, and equal partner in a union which offers it a seat at the top table and allows it to punch above its weight.

It’s Westminster itself which has destroyed the benefits of the post war settlement which are rightly valued. The NHS is under threat like never before. The social security system lies in ruins. Free education is a thing of the past in the UK outwith Scotland. It’s Westminster itself which has destroyed the UK’s reputation for tolerance, moderation and mutual acceptance. We are now in the paradoxical situation where those values once so closely associated with Britishness can only be defended and protected in an independent Scotland.

Given the destruction of anything positive by the British nationalists themselves, all they are left with is negativity. So naturally they’re very keen to find new scare stories.

There’s the mythical UK single market that Scotland is supposedly going to be shut out off. This UK single market is allegedly vitally important to Scotland, but no one thought to mention it until the UK decided to leave the EU. They’re still incapable of telling us how exactly a Scotland which is a member of the EU customs union and single market – irrespective of whether it’s a full member of the EU or not – can be shut out of a UK market which is desperately seeking a trade deal with the EU to ensure full and free access.

And over the past few months a brand new scare story has reared its head, getting its most recent airing from Jo Swinson at the Scottish Lib Dem conference on Friday. According to Jo, the impossible convolutions and complexities of Brexit prove that the process of Scottish independence is going to be horrendously difficult. Just as an observation – it is interesting that opponents of independence are so fixated on the process of independence and not the end result. It’s rather like saying that you shouldn’t emigrate to a new and better life in sunny climes because there may be queues at the airport. But that is by the by.

There are many misfortunes about being a Scottish LibDem. There’s having Willie Rennie as a party leader. There’s the party’s well deserved reputation for not knowing the difference between a solemn manifesto promise and a serving suggestion. There’s the fact that the party’s Scottish conference attracted fewer attendees than come along to some of The National Roadshow events to see the dug. When your political party is less popular than a mongrel mutt abandoned beside a Spanish irrigation canal, you have a serious problem.

However the greatest misfortune of all, at least for Jo Swinson, is that just as she was telling everyone that Brexit proved how horribly complicated the process of Scottish independence was going to be, one of those pesky experts published a rigorously researched paper which proved her wrong. On Friday, Kirsty Hughes of the Scottish Centre on European Relations published a policy paper which examined and contrasted the process of Brexit with the challenges facing a Scotland on the path to independence.

What she found was that despite the claims of the likes of Jo Swinson, there are far more differences than similarities.

Brexit is a complicated process for a number of reasons which no not apply in the case of Scottish independence. There is the issue of the Irish border and the UK’s desire to simultaneously keep an open border with Ireland while at the same time leaving the customs union and single market.

There is the British exceptionalism of having your cake and eating it. And there’s the political confusion within the UK caused by a government with no clear idea of what exactly it was trying to negotiate and which repeatedly asks the EU for things that the EU has already ruled out.

Crucially, the paper found that there would be far less uncertainty for a Scotland which sought to align itself closely to the EU than there is for a UK pursuing Brexit. An independent Scotland would be aligning itself with the EU’s existing trade deals and international agreements, whereas Brexit Britain faces all the uncertainties of negotiating new deals of its own from scratch.

And moreover doing so from a far weaker position as a medium sized European state without the economic clout of the EU.

Brexit is a leap in the dark into an uncertain future whereas hundreds of countries around the world have become independent. The process of independence is a well trodden path, and in fact the state which is creating the greatest obstacle to the contradictory demands of the Brexiters is the Irish Republic, a country which itself became independent from the UK.

However the biggest difference of all is that Brexit is driven by a deep rooted belief in British exceptionalism and the insistence that normal rules do not apply to the UK, that the UK is uniquely special. Scottish independence, on the other hand, is driven by a belief in Scottish normalcy.