HURRY up. No, slow down. Amend this. Rewrite that. Do a UDI. Under no circumstances consider a UDI. The Yes movement is at yet another tipping point, given the plethora of unsolicited advice showered upon it since 2023 arrived.

A family united by a single goal is ­perennially at odds with itself as to how to achieve it. Some people rail against endless delays in getting some serious ­campaigning in. Some urge more time is needed to heal and persuade. Some think the First ­Minister is the procrastination queen. ­Others ­consider her a national asset.

Confused? You will be. Or maybe you ­already are.

Not least after one columnist opined that: under the current leadership, the SNP is “the most unpleasant political party in the UK”. Quite the statement, when you ­consider how much of the UK the Tories have managed to trash in 13 years.

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The latest standard-bearer of that sorry Conservative crew came north last week to break bread with the FM and extol the virtues of joint working as illustrated by the plan for freeports. (Not an innovation causing much rejoicing in this quarter.)

Rishi Sunak is neither as ditzy as Liz Truss nor devious as Boris Johnson, but that should not blind us to the fact that he leads an administration veering so far to the right that we are in danger of running out of road. Nor that his entire ­pre-parliamentary career was devoted to that branch of ­financial ­services where ­success is ­measured in funds multiplied.

When the public sector, the bedrock of a functioning society, decides en masse to withdraw its labour, then it’s safe to assume the very foundations of such a society have been eroded almost beyond repair.

Sunak is the smiling assassin, so ­plausible, so charm-laden that, gosh, you hardly ­notice the knife going in. ­Important to ­remember that he is a conviction ­Brexiteer who sold his soul to the ­European “Research” Group in order to avoid the messy business of getting elected formally by his peers.

His personal broadcast to the nations the other night talked about why he had been “brought here”.

Brought here! As in, plotted and planned his route to the top job following the ­predictable self-immolation of his ­immediate predecessor, and his ­somewhat belated resignation whilst working for BJ.

Announcing that our government is “ready to engage” with Sunak and his ­government is a tactic as tired as it is hopeless. They are the No, Nay, Never brigade, and getting them to any serious negotiations on constitutional change is never going to happen with a “please, pretty please”.

We are a country that currently lies beached, having sand kicked in our faces daily, but without the smeddum to get to our feet and confront our tormentors.

Supposedly we have an upcoming plebiscite election. Or do we? First dismissed, subsequently adopted; its jaikit seemingly back on shoogly nail, depending on yesterday’s meeting of the SNP’s executive committee. One MP, no relation, expended a page explaining why he hated it, but endorsed it. He may now be free to un endorse.

He fretted that it would be a very high-risk strategy. Of course it will. Like a ­normal referendum would be. All roads to independence carry the risk of losing our last best chance for years, maybe decades to come.

But could someone please advise me how our present plight is superior? ­Fiddling while Scotland burns not only demoralises the convinced, but gives ­succour to the Unionist cause.

Plus, ­people will not be persuaded to Yes ­without a dedicated, fact-laden, effort. We can’t recreate the spirit of 2014 in 2023 perhaps, but we can certainly ­harness the goodwill of those who are with us, whilst conversing non-judgementally with those still hesitant.

I think they call it a ­campaign!

It will take both honesty and energy; there is nothing to be gained by reprising the “sunlit uplands” nonsense on stilts of the Leave campaign. Independence is a complex choice. Yet OUR choice. Our chance to show that we are not unique among countries in being too feart to ­assert our rights as a nation.

I was much taken with the ­documentary Lesley Riddoch made on Estonia. A small country, much smaller than us, well ­under two million, with a big neighbour much scarier than ours. Like the other small Baltic states of Latvia and ­Lithuania they are acutely aware of the larger next-door presence, yet their indigenous cultures have thrived despite the largest single ­minority being Russian.

Estonia did not leap effortlessly into a land newly provided with effortless milk and honey. It had to think its way through to capitalising on its strengths and ­pointing them at what was an ­underdeveloped niche market.

It has made them a world leader in ­certain aspects of information ­technology and communication. Along the way, they created their own currency just a year after becoming independent and ­subsequently adopted the euro after having joined the EU.

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Here at home, and still to come, the SNP’s conference on whither now looms in March. Will it be a forum genuinely open to ideas, or will the executive committee only select debates with which the top brass can live? Will it acknowledge that independence is a matter for all Scots of all persuasions and none, or will it suggest that only the SNP can deliver?

As a member of no party but a ­committed supporter of independence, I suspect there are many Scots like me feeling ­similarly marooned in a very ­unsatisfactory period of stasis right now. I’ve gone along with voting ­Nationalist these many elections, buying into the strategy that only a large party ­committed to independence can ­realistically deliver it.

I still hold to that belief, but my fingers are getting numb. I am leery of writing many more blank cheques without solid evidence of advancement. Not mouth ­music about us being aye ready to talk, but what we might now have to call a Plan C: how to deal more effectively with intransigence in pursuit of that holy grail.

We are in the midst of a serious health crisis. Just as we were during the long months of Covid, which consumed the energy of the Scottish Government as it fought off a very real, present, and ­unpredictable threat.

Health crises, like every other variety, are among those things we have told ­ourselves we could address more ­efficiently were we only free to do so.

If the top echelons of government have too much on their daily plate to have the bandwidth to think through the next steps on independence, then they need to make common cause with the many agencies and groups who have put in the hours and the hard yards coming up with proposed routes and policies, whilst crunching the essential numbers.

There will be much in the ­externally generated research with which the ­Scottish Government will disagree; doubtless much they consider politically unworkable.

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However, sometimes they may be ­dismissive of perfectly feasible options for no better reason than they don’t care for the author. That should be the least of our concerns at this stage. It should be all hands to the independence pump ­regardless of to whom they belong.

Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas, and nobody should be too precious to consider any of them regardless of origin.

The Scottish Government has been fortunate in that there is no obvious ­replacement administration with a ­sufficient depth of talent. No Sir Keir lurking behind the door.

Yet it would do well to recognise that of all the political fates which befall ­successful political parties, complacency is the deadliest of sins. Letting fresh air in from many quarters, on the other hand, can lead to fresh thinking.