WE do not yet know the final results of all Thursday’s various elections across the UK. In Scotland, however, there has never been any serious doubt about which party will gain the most seats and form a government: the question has been whether the SNP can obtain an outright majority. We will not know that until tomorrow evening but there does appear to have been a marked increase in tactical voting amongst those who don't support independence.

The scale of the Conservatives’ win in Hartlepool – a seat held by Labour since its creation – with a majority of almost 7,000, coming on for double their opponent’s vote, consolidated its convincing general election result, as did early acquisition of control in several councils in what was until recently solid Labour territory.

Boris Johnson is obviously strengthened by these results, while Sir Keir Starmer now faces competing calls to move his own party back to, or further away from, his predecessor’s stance. The English results may spell trouble for Scottish Labour and an opportunity for the SNP.

The full results may hint at whether the last election’s realignments in England look solid, with the newly interventionist, free-spending Tories winning over non-metropolitan, working-class voters, and Labour confined to London and the graduate middle-class in a couple of other big cities and a few liberal outposts.

What look certain are convincing wins for both the Prime Minister and Nicola Sturgeon. That will be advanced by pro-independence voices as evidence of a gulf between Scottish and English aspirations.

The weight of expectation means that if the SNP narrowly fails to gain a majority, the immediate prospect of another referendum may diminish, but calls for one will certainly not. However, the SNP should not make such a vote Holyrood’s priority, even in the unlikely event that Westminster accepts it as a mandate and grants the power to introduce it.

The consensus, even among most of those unwaveringly committed to a second referendum – indeed, the position professed by Ms Sturgeon herself – is that building recovery from an unprecedented economic, social and human crisis must take precedence over all else.

The Conservatives and the SNP may appear to differ on almost everything, but while both enjoy solid mandates to govern, it is vital that they find a way to work together that builds up the chance of real improvements for ordinary voters. No matter their antipathy on the issue of the Union, other areas of policy that require effective action are broadly similar, and would benefit from productive co-operation.

Rather than railing at Westminster, the Scottish Government should acknowledge that there have been shortcomings in a host of areas that have been entirely under its control, such as education, health, drugs policy, public procurement – notably over ferries – and that they need urgent action. That will involve responsible finances, and working with business to fashion a programme for growth and to safeguard jobs. Similarly, the Westminster government must treat their Scottish counterparts with the respect they deserve.

Despite the prevailing view of him in Scotland, growth is what many English voters hope for from Mr Johnson, especially in Northern constituencies: investment in infrastructure, increased health spending, support for companies, a coherent trade policy for the post-Brexit period, serious reforms in housing, restoring trust and “leveling up”.

Whether that faith is well founded remains to be seen, but the UK Treasury is spending at a staggering rate, especially for a Conservative administration. Here, of course, it will be the First Minister who decides how to direct those funds to bolster recovery. Constructive co-operation, not point-scoring, on both sides will be essential to bring that about.

No one expects aspirations or conflicts over constitutional issues to melt away. Advocates and opponents of independence ought to make their respective cases. But even the most ardent adherents of either position should recognise that most voters – and the blunt realities of our circumstances – demand that practical measures to improve people’s everyday security take priority over ideological stances, however dearly held. There are uncertainties and challenges enough to be going on with, on which lives and livelihoods depend; other big questions will not go away, but they’ll keep for a wee while.