SOMETIMES it feels as if we are stuck going nowhere.

Last year, the UK Supreme Court put a block on the Scottish Government’s plans for a second independence referendum, holding that no authority to hold such a referendum exists under the Scotland Act.

Since then, there has been a scramble to find some other way of signalling the will of the Scottish people. Mainly the question has been whether to use a Holyrood or Westminster ­election as a trigger for independence.

It is perfectly legitimate to use a parliamentary majority as a way of indicating a mandate for independence. In many of the countries ­leaving London rule, no independence ­referendum was held. A pro-independence majority in the devolved legislature was enough. The ­British Government respected that mandate and acted accordingly.

Also, there are times when a single issue can dominate an entire election campaign, and the result of an election can deliver a clear message on that one issue.

However, the plan to use an election as a ­de facto referendum (“plebiscitary election” is more accurate) faces several problems. The first is that it relies on the premise that everyone who supports independence will vote SNP, and that the SNP vote is therefore a reliable proxy for the pro-independence vote.

We know that is not the case. There are SNP voters who are lukewarm on independence, but who believe they do a reasonably good job of running a devolved government. These ­people may be lost in such a vote. The timing is ­unfortunate. The SNP have been in government for a long time, which inevitably causes cracks to appear in their base of support.

Conversely, there are supporters of ­independence who have never supported the SNP, or who have become disillusioned with the party – and we cannot guarantee that these votes will rally to the call.

Moreover, the bounce in support for ­independence following the disastrous ­premiership of Liz Truss appears not to have been consolidated: people were open, and ­listening and ready to be convinced of the case for independence as the fragility of the UK’s institutions were starkly revealed, but we took the conversation into other areas and lost their interest.

As tactics go, it seems like a risky one.

The second problem is that the mandate that comes from having a pro-independence ­majority – not just in Holyrood or Westminster but in both Parliaments – has been in existence for a while. It has never been used. Why should it be different this time?

Perhaps these difficulties could be overcome if all the pro-independence parties could come together and put up one candidate in each ­constituency (for Westminster). They would stand not as SNP, Alba or Green candidates, but just as “pro-independence” candidates, on a common, minimum, manifesto which puts the demand for independence at its core. That would require maturity and a willingness to put differences aside for a greater cause.

The third problem is international ­recognition. If the UK Government does not respect the ­outcome of such a plebiscitary election, there can be no expectation that the international community will do so. Appeals to the United Nations will not get us anywhere.

The status of Scotland is a constitutional problem and needs a constitutional solution. We cannot rely on international law. We must rely on constitutional law. In a country without a written constitution, that means we must rely on changing legislation.

That way – through legislative reform – is proposed by Neale Hanvey MP, the Alba ­Party member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. ­Together with several other members, both Alba and SNP, Hanvey has introduced the ­Scotland (Self-Determination) Bill. This bill amends the Scotland Act to provide for an ­independence ­referendum to be held by the Scottish ­Parliament.

If passed, Scotland would then be in a position similar to Northern Ireland, with a right to a referendum enshrined by law. With an agreed and legitimate path to a referendum and to ­independence laid out, this would smooth negotiations with the British Government and make international recognition easier to achieve.

The challenge then is how to get the UK ­Parliament to pass that law. This is where the consolidated bloc for independence comes in. A pro-independence majority at the next ­Westminster election should not claim to be a mandate for independence, but rather – and more modestly – a mandate for the enactment of the Scotland (Self-Determination) Bill.

That should be the condition for engagement in any coalition or confidence-and-supply arrangement. More than that. Every speech, every question, should make that one single demand. Deafen and overwhelm them with it, day and night, until they concede.

Even better, unity around that bill need not be limited to the pro-independence camp. Every political party in Scotland, even if opposed to independence, should support the bill – if it is a democratic party and if it endorses (as Labour and the LibDems do) the Claim of Right.

Judith Reid from Chain of Freedom across Scotland is our next guest on the TNT show. Join us on Wednesday at 7pm on IndyLive