Pro-Union politicians are utterly obsessed with talking about independence and in the process, are playing right into the hands of the Indyref2 movement.

In part, this obsession has led to the SNP being let off the hook for its failures in government as was reflected in this weekend’s election results and perpetuated by every media outlet across the country zoning in on constitutional questions.

Over the past few weeks, the majority of pro-Union politicians have used every sound clip offered to them to exclaim their anti-independence thoughts rather than explain how they propose to get this country back on its feet and how they could work with the Government to put recovery first.

With all eyes focused on the constitution, it has worked in the favour of the SNP who have managed to be elected to Government with a record number of votes, despite their failings over the past 14 years in charge.

The First Minister herself admitted during the campaign that she had taken her “eye off the ball” as Scotland racked up the highest drugs death in Europe. But there doesn’t appear to have been any rebuke for the drugs deaths crisis, their failed education record, missed hospital waiting time targets, rising child poverty rates, the exam results scandal, or failures in local policing.

The next Scottish Government has an opportunity over the next five years to make amends for past failures and getting caught up in an independence campaign will only take the SNP’s eye off the ball once again.

However, the SNP did not win a majority in the election and as a minority government will require support from other parties to pass budgets and any major reforms.

The Scottish Greens will likely prop up the SNP in future policy discussions, but this will require

policy trade-offs in return for budget support.

With COP26 firmly in the sights of both parties as an opportunity to showcase Scotland as a leader in tackling climate change on the global stage, will the Scottish Greens be willing to lend support to independence which could risk the SNP taking its focus off meeting its emissions reduction targets of 75% by 2030 – which it has done for the past two years in a row.

They have already said they want bold action from the Scottish Government and now they are in a position to bargain for this.

Read more: Indyref2 and a blinkered green agenda could harm Scottish farming's future

During Sunday’s Andrew Marr programme, a suggestion of next spring to hold another referendum was put to the First Minister, to which, of course, she said she was contemplating. Nicola Sturgeon hasn’t officially committed to a timescale, other than the first half of the next parliamentary term, but it would appear that the media is setting the ball rolling by proposing such a timeline. As much as I have criticised the SNP for pedalling talks of Indyref2 during a pandemic, journalists are also guilty of fuelling the debate and diminishing print space or airtime for more immediate and pressing issues.

Over the past week I have been moving into my new house, which has involved many hours of deep cleaning whilst tuned in to my radio and coverage of the election.

Hats off to BBC Radio Scotland team for managing to fill three days’ worth of election coverage with very little to report on other than the one major news story: would the SNP gain a majority?

Although they covered results and reaction across the entire country, the main topic on every reporters’ lips was whether the SNP would have a mandate to hold another referendum. So, for every listener tuned in, we are being told that this is the discussion we need to be having, this is the headline we should all be taking away.

In between googling tutorials on how to sand kitchen worktops, I checked in to the community Facebook page for my local village and was struck by the fact that none of the members were remotely engaged in discussions over the election, let alone independence. Like many other communities across the country, this village is still in the grips of a pandemic, so quite understandably, most posts and discussions revolved around Covid advice and best practice, information about the local youth club reopening, as well as a series of church services.

Read more: Scottish election: Indyref can't continue to dominate the next five years — there are bigger issues

Members were posting about fitness camps and slots which had come available for hairdressers and beauty salons. Local businesses desperate to rebuild and get customers in their doors.

Economic recovery is what matters to so many, yet we are so embroiled in constitutional questions that we lose sight of the ramifications the past year has had for so many businesses and individuals who have lost their jobs and families living below the

poverty line.

There is no denying the fact that there is indeed an appetite to reopen the debate around independence, the recent vote shows an almost 50/50 split down the middle, but I do not believe it should be up to the media to frame the discussion.

There is a huge job ahead for the next Scottish Government to deliver on a national recovery and all opposition politicians and members of the press must be focused on holding them accountable for the measures they are taking to get the country back on its feet.

Let’s not do Alex Salmond’s job for him by inadvertently holding the SNP’s feet to the fire over independence but instead hold their feet to the fire over the nation’s recovery from the pandemic.

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