SO loud has been the dancing on indy graves you suspect someone has been issuing clogs to Unionist camp dwellers. From both Labour and Tory ranks these last few extraordinary days comes the sound of barely muted cheering as they contemplate what each senses is a new opportunity for electoral advancement.

The sound of rejoicing has been loudest in ­Scottish Labour, where the more excitable ­adherents are ­fantasising about picking up as many as 25 seats in the new world post Nicola order. Dream on my ­lovelies. I guess when you are down to one ­Westminster seat and suffered the ignominy of being passed on the ­Holyrood track by the Tories, then the only way to gaze is up.

Buoyed by local election results, and increasingly hopeful of a Labour victory at Westminster, Anas Sarwar’s troops are somewhat prematurely ­regarding Nicola Sturgeon’s departure as the icing on their ­aspirational cake.

Certainly there are some straws in that wind. I doubt someone with Douglas Alexander’s ­political hinterland would have joined the race to unseat Alba’s Kenny MacAskill in East ­Lothian ­unless he thought Keir Starmer was ­destined for Downing Street, in the wake of which he might land a biggish job. (You do wonder how despondent or otherwise they’d be back at SNP HQ if Mr Mac was to be given his jotters).

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Plus Sir Keir’s refusal to contemplate Jeremy Corbyn’s name on a Labour ticket in London’s Islington suggests a streak of ruthlessness in candidate selection which will also be apparent north of the border when the list is published.

Coupled with regaining some softer Yes voters back from the SNP in areas where the current quality of life is less than rosy, I don’t doubt a few seats may be up for grabs.

THE problem for Messrs Sarwar and Ross, is that, on current form, there’s ­arguably more chance of making dents in the Tory contingent. I would expect their already slender Westminster ranks to thin out even further. Not least if ­Labour’s pitch remains Unionist. You’d need to be a pretty diehard Tory to continue to vote for the party which has developed a habit of defenestrating the inhabitant of ­Number 10 before the decorators have covered up all Carrie’s expensive follies.

Ever since Boris Johnson chucked out the grown-ups, his party has been in hock to the more swivel eyed denizens of what used to be a right-wing Conservative fringe, but has now effectively grabbed the steering wheel.

The party of Liz Truss, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nadine Dorries, ­Dominic Raab and co is not being wooed by Mensa any time soon. Nor would a self ­respecting administration have put any one of them in charge of so much as the office raffle.

Spending part of this week down south gave me some fresh insight not just into how little regard the two major London-run parties have for Scottish concerns, but how incredibly ignorant they are in general about Scottish politics and ­sensibilities.

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For an instance, I rather like Stephen Kinnock, son of Neil, a generally decent bloke with generally liberal instincts. But Stephen it was who opined on the Question Time panel we were on that he hoped independence “withered on the vine” now, and that the Scottish ­Government stopped being obsessional about it.

This is a constant refrain in ­England and the English based media – the not at all veiled irritation that a party founded to gain independence should be ­obsessional about gaining it. How very dare they ­prioritise their core mission?

Though in truth, for folks like myself, a bit more evidence of supposed ­obsession would have been very welcome. Since the shock resignation, English papers have barely been able to contain their ­excitement at the thought the indy flame might now be extinguished.

As, I say, how little they know; how little attention they’ve been paying to ­Scottish demographics where only the over 65’s now have a majority of No ­voters and even there the Yes vote is now polling at 45% whilst the youngest cohort is almost 75% Yes. So it’s comin’ yet for a’ that.

A word too about the English Qestion Time audience, ethnically diverse in one sense, yet relentlessly English with it.

When Fiona Bruce asked them if ­anyone favoured Scottish independence, not a solitary hand was raised. They seemed positively baffled at the very ­concept which, I suppose, is less than ­surprising if you think a) the UK is one country and b) England and “Great” ­Britain are remain largely interchangeable. They don’t think Scottish ­independence is worth their ­consideration because, frankly, they never think about it at all. Though, ­interestingly, they all seemed to know about “Brand Sturgeon”.

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The other much favoured ­mantra, ­beloved not just of the southern ­commentariat but the Scotland ­Secretary, AKA the UK cabinet’s man in Scotland, is that all would be fine and absolutely dandy if only those thrawn Scottish ­politicians would just work in tandem with their London cabinet brethren. ­Better together and all that.

A freeport here, a freeport there and sundry pockets of cash distributed to needy councils with nary a consultative word to the devolved administration about it. It’s perhaps too much to hope that our friends in the south would have tuned into the months and years when Scottish cabinet secretaries of state were routinely locked out of any ­meetings which mattered, not least the Brexit ­negotiations.

This morphed into positively lofty ­disdain when the short lived Truss opined that she had no intention of ­contacting Scotland’s First Minister at all, since the latter was clearly just a ­lightweight ­“attention seeker”. When you’ve been outlasted by a supermarket lettuce, you should be very careful whom you regard as lightweight. Just saying!

However it’s not just the littler ­Englanders who have used last week’s bombshell as an excuse to declare that it’s, at the very least, a “generational blow” to the independence movement. Tartan keyboard warriors have been swift to apply last rites to Yes as well.

Well, I’m not buying these instant ­proclamations of future doom. For one thing, they take no account of the ­fact that up and down the land there are ­people still hugely committed to the ­independence cause. For a very long time they’ve longed for a concrete sign that the allegedly independence obsessed ­Scottish Government was lending them an ear.

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For a very long time they’ve become ­increasingly frustrated, and, although it has suited some to exaggerate the ­numbers involved, some have either thrown in their activist towel or defected.

Now with the March 19 conference “postponed” and the leadership ­election under way, there will undoubtedly be something of a hiatus. Realistically, it can’t be otherwise.

But with a new team at the helm, ­incorporating a range of views and ­talents, I would hope that a route map will emerge that gives us all hope that while the indy engine has unexpectedly and temporarily stalled, the core enthusiasm remains undimmed.

Another of the Question Time ­panellists, the ever impish Ian Hyslop, opined that the First Minister didn’t ­suddenly get tired. No she didn’t. But there is a cumulative effect to the stresses and strains of government and clearly last weekend’s funeral of a long standing comrade, crystallised some very personal questions for Nicola.

Equally, you don’t suddenly lose your appetite for independence or have your enthusiasm quotient drained. Those who have packed away their marching flags need not have lost the motivation which brought them into the ranks of the Indy army in the first place.

FOR them, there has been the cumulative effect of serial disappointments. And the cure for that is the kind of activism which builds campaign fervour rather than what has sometimes seemed too stop/start to breed confidence.

We need some fresh air blown through the government and crucially through the movement. The word of the day has ­become “re-set”, and that is what the new leadership will have negotiate with the Indy troops inside and outside the SNP.

The movement has become too ­easily chided about not having enough ­answers to important post-independence ­questions. The truth is not that it hasn’t got enough answers but there are too many groups selling a different ­prospectus. The tent may have become big, but the doorway has narrowed, and some kind of gathering – not necessarily just of the SNP core membership, has to agree a version which has been deemed widely acceptable and easily saleable.

This is emphatically not about diluting the core message; just recognising that ­unless and until contemporary ­conundrums are addressed and resolved, the Unionists will continue to suggest that voting Yes imperils families, and looks too much like buying a pig in an indy-shaped poke.

In truth it can’t be Nicola 2.0 any more than she was Alex mark two. In fact, ­arguably, it would make more sense not to look for another big beast in the ­political jungle so much as looking to see where complementary talents lie. ­Everyone in politics has strengths and weaknesses, and everyone has ­particular passions. The trick is to merge them into a sufficiently attractive whole for ­wavering voters who require to be brought fully on board.

Despite my own barely concealed ­impatience, I realise this also means ­getting support to a level which can’t be ignored and sustaining it. Nicola ­Sturgeon, hugely impressive as she’s been in so many regards, said last week that she didn’t want decisions made and taken through the prism of her own ­opinions. What our friends in the south utterly fail to grasp is that voting decisions in ­Scotland are aye taken through the prism of the constitutional issue.

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Anas Sarwar and co are about to find out if buying into their boss’ stern ­refusal to contemplate a fresh indy vote will mean their recent celebrations have been a mite premature. If erstwhile indy minded Labour voters will not return to his fold while Labour’s attitude so closely mirrors the Tories’.

Shortly we will learn Gordon Brown’s latest plans to “revitalise” devolution and further empower the Scottish parliament and local government. Keir Starmer’s team have convinced themselves that if they get into government they can set about a programme of all-purpose ­decentralisation. They will encounter a few high hurdles along the way. One is a ­bulging in tray with massive problems but no evidence of ready solutions.

Another, in many parts of the UK, is the disastrous impact of Brexit which Sir Keir is magically going to make to work whilst setting his face against the single ­market and customs union. Good luck with ­selling that to what’s left of the ­Scottish seafood market. There is a tartan wall to seduce, not just a red one.

Then there’s voter scepticism around yet more of Mr Brown’s plans and ­promises. A couple of Scottish mayors won’t wash that away.