WE have now reached the stage where any notion of a united independence movement is pie in the sky.

If the row over this weekend’s independence march and rally has shown anything it is that the movement is simply too wide to agree on everything … but that’s not necessarily a problem.

There are red-line issues which prevent some indy supporters from acting in common cause with others. Everyone has a number of core beliefs which they will not give up … and they should have.

I would not, for instance, march or share a platform alongside anyone who believes that abortion laws should be rolled back and publicly campaigns for that result. For me, there is no acceptable version of an independent Scotland in which abortion would be banned and therefore I could not consciously show support for anyone who seeks to create it.

I would not march or share a platform with anyone who has spoken out in public against gay rights or who holds racist views. Among recent controversies, I find the language used by and attitudes adopted by those who refuse to accept trans people’s right to self-identify objectionable.

READ MORE: Scottish climate campaigners plead for action from Government

People have the right to believe what they want in private but they don’t have the right to publicly pillory or belittle or threaten those with whom they disagree. They don’t have the right to spread untruths and misinformation without being challenged.

I would not in any way show support for such actions but that does not mean I have abandoned my support for independence or would do so in future if individual independence supporters embraced views with which I profoundly disagreed.

Support for independence is surely support for a Scotland which has the power to decide for itself what democratic decisions to take on a whole range of issues.

There’s not much point in fighting for that power if we have already decided exactly what an independent Scotland would do on every major issue it faces.

When the SNP, for instance, stand in Scottish Parliament elections to be the government of the day, it behoves it to have agreed a manifesto committing itself to certain actions if it is elected.

The National:

How else is the public to know what exactly they are voting for? So a vote for the SNP is a vote for a taxation system which aims for a certain redistribution of health or a commitment to oppose the privatisation of the NHS or a minimum unit price for the sale of alcohol.

It is also a vote for independence. When you vote for the SNP you do so on the assumption – and the promise – that the party will do everything it can to create an independent Scotland, preferably through a legally constituted referendum but through other means if Westminster continues to ignore our democratically expressed wishes and blocks it.

But that does not commit to, for example, keeping the monarchy forever. Or to stay a member of Nato forever. Decisions like that will pass to Scottish hands. We will finally be able to shape our country to reflect the values of the majority of people who actually live here.

When we sign up to independence we are signing up to years of hard but inspiring work and difficult but essential decisions. It is not the easiest option but is the best.

All this is surely self-evident but we seem to be losing sight of certain key aspects. Whatever certain individuals believe is the right path to take, it is their responsibility to put their arguments before the Scottish people, who will decide on it.

READ MORE: LGBT+ wing of Scottish Greens question future of SNP agreement

I profoundly disagree with Alba on its gender recognition stance. I won’t stop voting for independence because of that but nor do I feel a responsibility to march alongside those who hold views which I oppose.

I’d point out many of those indy supporters who oppose trans rights seem not to share those reservations.

They are only too willing to line up with staunch opponents of independence in order to show solidarity with those pouring vitriol on the trans community.

I don’t know the exact circumstances around the absence of any Alba speaker on the bill at tomorrow’s independence march and rally in Glasgow being held by Believe in Scotland.

Alba suggest they were ‘’disinvited’’ after a Green speaker was confirmed because that party will not share a platform with them. Believe in Scotland, on the other hand, claims that Alba were invited to have a speaker at the event but took too long to confirm.

I have no idea which version of events is closer to the truth, although I have some limited experience of organising a similar event and I know only too well the need to nail down the speakers’ running order as early in the process as possible.

The National: Scottish independence campaign calls for Yes activists to join in uniting movement

There are always difficult decisions to be made and it’s impossible to keep everyone happy.

This row has again thrown the focus on the principle of “unity” within the Yes movement, a principle I once wholeheartedly supported but now believe is impossible to define and therefore to achieve. It’s increasingly difficult to continue to see the purpose of these marches as staging a show of unity when rows such as this have directly the opposite effect.

The Yes movement currently faces two huge tasks … and achieving a false sense of “unity” isn’t one of them.

The first is to galvanise and inspire public support, to recapture the spirit of 2014 and move the conversation from dull process to energising dream.

It is my belief that Believe in Scotland is right in its conviction that the public focus has to switch from political mundanity to cultural excitement. Scotland must and can breathe new life into the idea of independence and use culture to portray the type of country we can become.

To achieve that we need to pull together progressive, forward-thinking ideas at communal events concentrating on the creation of a feelgood, inclusive atmosphere we know Yes events at their best excel. Frankly, that’s more important than ticking every box dictating what organisations are represented among the speakers.

READ MORE: Peter Murrell resigns SNP membership following embezzlement charge

The second aim is, I’m afraid, the altogether trickier – and frankly duller – issue of why we’re all involved in this in the first place.

The fact is that if we don’t have a strategy for actually achieving independence the campaign to do so will wither on the vine. The fact that support for independence is still polling at such high levels is a testament to the power of the idea.

However, the Supreme Court legitimising the Westminster block on indyref2 has stymied the campaign. It’s a difficult task of finding an alternative to route to independence but it’s a job that has to be done and it’s only the SNP and the wider movement that can do it. Sad but true.

That’s not to say we need a long, boring constitutional discussion in public. There is no surer way of sucking energy out of the campaign.

But while the feelgood cultural campaign wins hearts there need to be private moves to devise a strategy. If there is no recognised route to independence people will at some point come to the conclusion there is no point in talking about it.

Private talks may already be taking place in the corridors of power. Who knows? The lack of an alternative to indyref2 being unveiled after the Supreme Court’s entirely predictable decision suggests otherwise.

This two-pronged approach seems to me a way of building support AND providing leadership. It’s certainly a more realistic tactic than continually setting out to achieve a “unity” which will forever remain out of reach and achieve little in any case.

And better than continuing to turn a blind eye to indy supporters who simultaneously demonise those with whom they disagree and call for a suppression of disagreement in the name of that same “unity”.