AS your pencil hovers over the ballot paper on Thursday, will you pause before making your choice?

Will there be a nagging doubt in your mind that the candidate and party you are about to commit to isn’t going to fully embody all your ideas, hopes and dreams for the next five years?

If not, then you’re fortunate.

But, as I suspect is the case for most of us, putting your cross in the box will have involved a fair amount of weighing up of pros and cons as a compromise is reached.

Politics is often described as a dirty business, but for those of us paddling at the edge of the cesspool the waters can be just as muddy, especially when claims of corruption, double standards and incompetence dominate the news.

However, this election has been billed as “the most important ever” and it’s true the octopus arms of the independence debate have smothered all in their embrace.

Even though constitutional matters reside at Westminster, issues such as schools, health and transport, which are actually devolved, have taken a backseat as the election assumes the mantle of a de facto vote on Indyref2.

But where does this leave those voters marooned in the middle?; those who want a Scottish-based party looking after their interests but are reluctant to back a party intent on a headfirst rush into another Yes/No showdown?

Economic upheaval, currency questions, border issues and social division amid the Covid recovery are just some of the uncertainties presented by a radical change they just can’t stomach.

They may even like the idea of independence, but don’t want it tomorrow or even within the next decade.

To go in all guns blazing demanding Indyref2 now may be too risky, too soon and could blow the gaff for a very long time.

But voting for a London-based party may not seem an attractive alternative either.

Slapping the word Scottish on the title doesn’t save a party from the sobriquet of “branch office”, controlled by masters 400 miles away.

You may not feel comfortable tying yourself to their unionist mast.

Indyref2 has warped this election into a binary choice that otherwise would have been dominated by everyday politics.

Scots face another constitutional vote in all but name and that in itself may be a compromise too far.

All of which begs the question, where do those waverers go – those who identify as Middle Scotland, who are economically cautious with a social conscience and aren’t willing to take a gamble at the worst possible time?

For them independence would make sense after, not during recovery.

Do they hopscotch between unionist parties until they think the time is right for independence and back nationalists?

Or is there room one day for an SNP-lite party, an antidote to Salmond’s Alba? A business-savvy party, free from the shackles of a London party, that doesn’t automatically see constitutional change as the only viable option for success.

It may be too late for Thursday, but maybe when you slip your paper in the ballot box next time around things will have changed.

You might even have the chance to feel a little less compromised. Who knows? Only time will tell. 

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald