THERE’S few rational folks in Scotland who wouldn’t agree that politics here has got a little crazy over recent years. As dog days set in following the 2014 referendum, Scottish politics became more harsh, more ugly. Brittle, fringe voices started to dominate – often from online, but frequently egged on by both nationalist and unionist politicians. A nasty strain of populism appeared. Every issue became refracted through a constitutional prism. Conspiracy theories crept out from their cellars. To the detriment of the entire country, political parties suborned bread and butter issues to the question of independence. Everything appeared wrapped in either a Saltire or Union Jack. This new normal is distinctly unappetising for many voters in Scotland today.

But if you think the last few years have been crazy, you ain’t seen nothing yet. This week has given a good example of just how unhinged Scottish politics is about to become. Let’s take the Russia Report. At heart, it shows the Tory government is utterly unfit for power. It’s incapable of defending the UK. Not only that but the party is floating on a sea of Russian roubles. Westminster has lain down and let Russian oligarchs use it as a doormat to Britain where they can launder dirty money.

Then we come to Brexit. In the report’s wake, we now know the UK Government actively avoided looking at any evidence that Russia interfered in the vote. That’s not just gob-smacking – it’s so egregious it would dislocate your entire jaw. What on Earth was the report’s intention if not to investigate Russian meddling over Europe? It is the "Russia" report after all. The giveaway is in the name. What else was it going to investigate? Putin’s latest bare-chested poses for the Kremlin Christmas calendar?

The fish in my fish-tank know Russia had its sticky spooky fingers all over Brexit, particularly when it came to online manipulation and disinformation.

The report shows the UK Government to be a cabinet of liars – or rather idiots who are bad liars, and think we’re too stupid to see their lies. Actually, make that lying idiots who’d let a hostile foreign power meddle with UK democracy as long as it served its own petty party political ambitions, and helped grifters and mountebanks like Boris Johnson get power.

Here’s where the Russia report plays into the growing craziness of Scottish politics, though: the big leak to the press before the publication of the report was that Russia had interfered in the independence referendum. Forget Brexit, put the weight of the report on to Scotland – that was clearly Downing Street’s strategy.

Evidently, most rational and informed folk accept Russia was trying it on when it came to the 2014 referendum. Why wouldn’t it be? But to focus on interference in Scotland and not look into Brexit is nothing but straight up manipulation of intelligence and security.

This all shows what way the wind is blowing. With a new Tory unit set up to fight independence, rest assured there will be more stupid dirty tricks. Only a dummy would think otherwise. That means Scottish politics is going to get weird. Downing Street isn’t scared to use any cynical ploy.

But the craziness isn’t all on one side. Far from it. While the independence movement could easily bask in the lunacy of London, saying "see, this is what we want to save you from", some elements of the nationalist fringe have decided to don a crazy suit themselves. Support for independence is now the majority position and the SNP is storming the polls as the public responds to coronavirus – but why rest on good fortune when you could trash everything?

Why not hold a rally outside Holyrood, with figures like former SNP MSP George Kerevan, and tell the world that the Yes movement “cannot be patient any longer”. Why not have speakers say that it’s time to “start getting angry”? That’s not going to put off potential Yes voters, surely?

Why not call for Union Street in Aberdeen to be renamed Independent Street? That doesn’t look daft.

Why not have an organiser of the nationalist marching group All Under One Banner say that “managing Covid should run parallel with fighting for independence”? That’s the same marching group where signs denouncing "Tory scum" unfurl at rallies. A tactic designed to win over soft unionist voters, I’m sure.

Why not start talking about Scottish "freedom"? Free Scotland from what, actually, is my question? I support independence and it’s not because there’s some colonial army of English occupation in Peebles, it’s because I think Scotland can do better on its own than it currently fairs as part of the Westminster system.

But it doesn’t stop there. Why not start a new political party and use it to drive a wedge between the independence movement? And why not have that new political party, Alliance for Independence, linked to the craziest fringe of the entire Yes movement? A regional AFI organiser was behind the much denounced protest at the border where Yes supporters wore hazmat suits and shouted “plague carriers” at visitors crossing from the south.

That ought to work. If there’s anything likely to reach out to a hesitant voter, then this must surely be it. And just for good measure, why not throw Tommy Sheridan into the mix and make sure he’s involved in this brave new political party too.

Done deal. There’s no way independence is going to risk any damage from that catalogue of tactical brilliance.

The bottom line is this: Boris Johnson’s government is dangerous. It would trash anything and everything for the sake of one objective: raw power. So how is this dangerous government likely to treat Scotland as the independence debate intensifies in the coming months? Get ready for a dirty fight, that’s all I can say.

Meanwhile in the indy corner, the wild, conspiratorial base is getting out of control, and risks damaging the entire Yes movement with its absurd, juvenile antics. The Yes movement has to get itself in order and keep the extremists in their box. Politics cannot be a matter of "crazy versus crazy". The independence movement will only win with reason, openness and persuasion. Anything else is mere posturing, designed to serve the posturer rather than the country or the ideal.

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