THE words we use matter, and in politics, it is important not to use the language and framing of your opponents. The Republicans in the US worked for years to normalise the phrase “tax relief” as if tax is a bad thing, like pain, that you can alleviate and that’s OK.

Similarly, the UK parties have normalised talk of Brexit, and I’m pretty sure the people of Scotland are scunnered of hearing about it. We didn’t like it at the time and we rejected it comprehensively.

Yet it was inflicted upon us anyway, proving the glaring democratic deficit in the UK, and it continues on a daily basis to cause real problems for our citizens, our economy and indeed our public services.

The Scottish Government has several billion pounds less to fund public services because of the economic hit Brexit has done to the Scottish economy, and that has real-world consequences.

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But while all of that is true, people are sick of hearing about it and we need to pivot to the fact that we have the answer to the problems – independence in Europe.

We saw just last week with the announcement of the UK “Levelling Up” funding awards towards various projects across Scotland.

Good, Stirling is to receive some cash and I’m glad to see it. But it is important to look at the whole picture – if a mugger stole your wallet and gave you back some change for the bus home, you would be entitled to still feel aggrieved.

So it is with the Levelling Up fund.

Fact is, it is sweeties compared to both the damage Brexit has done to us and the EU funding we have lost (which they promised to match, remember?) and – and let’s all focus on this – we will get back with independence.

So, to my mind, we need to refresh the argument, move away from old battles and get the discussion onto our territory. This will help win people to Yes and it is more important now than ever because the chaos and bad news, sadly, isn’t going to stop.

Yesterday, a dynamite new report published by UK In A Changing Europe highlighted a range of looming deadlines on vital policy areas which will be under threat in the coming weeks and months, and it is vital stuff for Scotland’s economy.

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Essentially, numerous transitional arrangements under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) whereby the UK left the EU are going to come to an end, unless they are agreed on a more long-term footing. Not roll on or somehow be fudged for another few years, stop, because the EU is sick of the UK’s nonsense.

There is every possibility there will indeed be new arrangements agreed upon, but the UK needs to get real.

Because there’s one big blockage that has all talks on everything in the deep freeze in Brussels – the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.

This odious bill is presently stuck in the House of Lords having been rammed through the House of Commons and threatens to withdraw from the TCA (because the NI protocol is an integral part of it) despite the UK having made a solemn commitment to implement it barely a few years ago. This is an act of bad faith and has undermined all trust that anyone in Brussels will take the UK at its word.

Leaving the EU in the way we did was bad enough, but the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill only serves to exacerbate further problems and block meaningful discussion towards durable solutions.

So whether it be fisheries, financial services, energy, data or electric vehicles, there is a range of upcoming deadlines as part of the TCA which are urgently due for negotiation and there’s not much progress being made.

I’ve long said that getting rid of the Protocol Bill will not only help improve the situation in Northern Ireland but help all of us in these islands by rebuilding trust between the EU and the UK.

This matters to us in Scotland not just because we want to see our institutions continue to be part of the EU programmes, but also because after independence we will, as an integral part of the EU, want to have as close a relationship with the UK as we can, even if they can’t find the wherewithal to join.

Those who advocated for Brexit (and that is the last time I’m going to use that word in this column) claimed that special deals outwith the EU are possible. They are.

I don’t rule out the prospect of a workable deal on Erasmus, Horizon Europe, space research, energy cooperation, data sharing and digital market access.

But to get those deals there needs to be trust – and it needs to be in the EU’s interest to make a deal at all. And the EU does want deals, look at what it has agreed with Norway, Iceland and plenty of others, it is possible to have a high degree of engagement without being a full part. But with advantages come obligations and there needs to be mutual respect.

Compared to the importance, to the EU, of the integrity of its own market, the UK is small potatoes and doesn’t hold the cards it thinks it does. But all these problems can be fixed, at a stroke, by joining the EU as an independent state.

I wish the UK well in finding sustainable arrangements and will put my shoulder to the wheel to help find them because it is in Scotland’s interests too.

But I’m not interested in fighting old battles or saying I told you so. I’m focused on independence in Europe.