Since the General Election, much has been written about the leadership of the SNP. After resounding electoral success you would expect an exaltation of the strategy they have pursued. With Boris Johnson elected on a thumping Brexit majority, you’d expect the independence movement, led by a gravity-defying SNP, to be in the ascendancy.

Yet at the present moment, the SNP leader is fending off questions about her future. And no matter the spin that is applied to the First Ministers ‘rebuttal’ to Boris Johnson's inevitable rejection of a Section 30, the UK Government has the upper hand. The perceived wisdom that ‘the greater the Tories obstruction, the greater the momentum towards independence’ is a comforting soundbite for many. But it fails to take account of the fact that momentum and morale can also be disrupted and stymied. That is what is happening now.

Today's problems are rooted in the way the SNP has related to Brexit for the past three years. Among a litany of failed initiatives, designed to satiate the independence grassroots, there has been a dearth of vision around the case for independence itself. Instead, it became obsessed with ‘stopping Brexit’.

This has led to the slow erosion between the SNP leadership and a large part of the wider movement. Nicola would appear at the Stop Brexit demonstration, alongside a who’s who of the British establishment, while independence demonstrations would get a tweet. Independence and the EU have become synonymous, to the extent that the whole project has become subsumed into ascending into the trade block.

Electoral success can't mask the deeper strategic problems this has brought about. Many rods have been placed up the back of the independence movement. Does it now, for example, have a leg to stand on when there are calls for a confirmatory vote after a Yes vote? Even some independence supporting commentators claim that a Yes vote must hit sixty percent if it is to be viable because of the ‘Brexit shambles’. Others say independence will be nothing as chaotic as the Brexit. But this fails to acknowledge the institutional power of the British state, the City and so on, that will be wielded to impede and block the realisation of an independent Scottish state.

And there is another problem being studiously ignored by SNP strategists. If independence has become what feels like a single issue campaign for EU membership, there should be a rock solid plan for entering the EU upon independence. Yet, remarkably, the Growth Commission, talked up as the negotiating position following a Yes vote, would inhibit EU membership because the proposal for Sterlingisation with the UK would leave Scotland without monetary policy autonomy, as the Growth Commission report admits.

In 2014 a former EU economic affairs commissioner said: "As to the question of whether 'sterlingisation' were compatible with EU membership, the answer is that this simply would not be possible, since that would obviously imply a situation where the candidate country concerned would not have a monetary authority of its one, and thus no necessary instruments for EMU."

In the context of Brexit, the present proposal on currency is an even larger hindrance to becoming an EU member. The last three years should have, among a host of other things, normalised in the public mind an independent currency. Raise this matter, and you are met with a telling silence.

The ‘leave a light on’ sensibility evokes the EU as a moral force. But this forgets that it is above all else a trade bloc. One that has ruthlessly attacked wages, pensions and public spending. Between 2011 and 2018, the European Commission, made demands on suppressing wage growth 50 times, and on collective bargaining rights 38 times. The idea that the EU is a benevolent administrator of workers' right is a myth. These rights have been won by the trade unions, who at the present moment are in a stand off with French President Macron, the shining new hope of the EU.

The EU is not only undemocratic, in that its own structures are insulated from popular pressure and accountability, but also anti-democratic in that it erodes democratic structures of accountability elsewhere, particularly in member states. This doesn’t just include flashpoints like Catalonia, but its daily functioning. It is likely to get less democratic – and more militarised – as the crisis of Western politics and the global economy intensifies.

The new commission to ‘defend the European way of life’ set up to deal with immigration matters, directly mirrors the rhetoric of the far right. Since the early 1990s, 30,000 people have died attempting to enter fortress Europe. So we must dispense the notion that the EU will stand up for migrants. In 2014 Nicola Sturgeon said, ‘There are 160,000 EU nationals from other states living in Scotland…if Scotland was outside Europe, they would lose the right to stay here.” Post Brexit, this now needs to be turned on its head, with a new social contract for migrants guaranteeing their rights in Scotland regardless of EU membership.

Brexit has been used as a means to win independence. But it is a blunt instrument. Yes, we have seen a rise in support since Brexit. But these polling spikes appeared straight after the referendum result, and after Brexit day. The much vaunted middle class No voters around which the whole strategy appears to have been built is a highly unstable cohort, opposed to disruption. Remember, too, that around a third of Yes voters have changed position since Brexit. Yes leavers are significant, but ignored in the current approach.

The logistical problems outlined here force us to revisit the basis of how we relate to the EU. This is a reality with which the national political debate in Scotland has not yet caught up. But it is also an opportunity to recast independence as a vision that can transform the fortunes of the working class majority in Scotland, and that can centre the need for new democratic institutions that can meet the challenges of the 21st century. Scotland has a chance to lead the way, but only if the independence cause is promoted as something far larger than ascension to the EU.