I THINK we have established that elements of the hysterical campaign to destroy Jeremy Corbyn were present in 2014 in the Better Together campaign to preserve the Union.

Every day when the leader of the Westminster Labour party comes to his work he must think he is in the midst of his own version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Where he expects his party’s MPs to be he sees only a slavering pack of people who hate him and are dancing to the Conservative Party’s tune.

Manufactured stories about Mr Corbyn being an anti-Semite and an implacable bully or of Watergate-style late-night break-ins have been disseminated by Blairite Labour MPs who think their careers might be in jeopardy.

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It was like this in Scotland in 2014. Where once we would have expected to see a Scottish Labour Party we instead observed a barely-functioning organisation that didn’t know its own members and had stopped listening to them.

If they had been they would have desisted from participating so gleefully in a Tory-led campaign of disinformation to save the Union. Each blithe scrap of propaganda uttered by Gordon Brown, Jim Murphy and Alistair Darling about the broad shoulders of the UK protecting pensions, the NHS and shipbuilding jobs was eventually rendered ridiculous and naive.

What has happened in the UK since the worthless promises of the Unionist side during the independence referendum has strengthened the Nationalists’ case further. All that remains, it would seem, is to name the day of the second referendum and begin to make the case again.

Thanks to Messrs Brown, Darling and Murphy in wrecking Scottish Labour, tens of thousands of their voters migrated to the SNP. These, added to the fall-out from Brexit, the £205 billion Trident bill and broken promises on the Clyde ought to ensure that the task of evangelising the six per cent of No voters required for victory in the next referendum will be much easier.

If only it were so simple. Of course, that figure of six per cent pre-supposes that the Yes side will hang on to its entire 2014 support: a figure that includes many who had never before voted for the SNP and who may have been critical of its record in government since. They are not Nationalists by custom and practice and probably had arrived at a point where they simply felt "why not?" in respect of Scottish independence. They are Nationalist-lite and it wouldn’t take much to persuade them to ditch their support for Yes next time around.

And let’s behold the nature of the crucial six per cent. These people will be moderates in their political beliefs, assuming that they have any great interest in party politics or the constitutional debate at all. As such, they will only be reached by moderate language and reasonably-argued positions. This is why I despaired of the events that led to my friend and Herald colleague, David Torrance, quitting Twitter earlier in the week.

Lest anyone be in any doubt, he is capable of looking after himself on and off the park, as it were. He wasn’t running away from this turbid and sometimes rancid form of social media; rather, it had simply become a lot less fun and occasionally deeply unpleasant and personal. Nor should anyone be in any doubt that he and I hold some views which are diametrically opposed to each other’s.

I fervently disagreed with his splicing together of the nationalism of Donald Trump and that of Alex Salmond. I also parted company with him when he talked of the "Ulsterisation" of Scottish politics. Nevertheless, they were valid points and articulately argued. They were his opinions and they were carried on the Opinion Pages of this newspaper.

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I acknowledge that many of us who use Twitter also exist in a tiny political and media bubble where it is easy to delude yourself that what is posted on it can, in any significant way, influence the tides of UK public opinion. Less than 10 per cent of the population use it, including many who simply see it as a way of scanning the news headlines or posting footage of cats playing football.

Yet, in the broader spectrum of political debate I have observed some of the same absolutism and refusal to engage with opponents at the top of the party and amongst its many state-funded advisors, both special and common. Why should they engage and compromise, they say. After all, no political party has ever maintained such a huge electoral mandate in Scotland over such a prolonged period. They have earned the right to bulldoze aside all other suggestions and concerns. Haven’t the Tories been doing that for years?

They need to be reminded though, that many of us who voted Yes first time around and are minded to do so again resent the strong implication that to criticise the SNP is to participate in a vile Unionist stratagem. Behave yourselves.

The SNP’s response to the incompetent Named Person scheme was pathetic and lamentable. How many of those who harboured reasonable concerns about the Named Person might otherwise be open to persuasion in the event of a second independence referendum? They will be far more difficult to reach if they are being accused of pandering to paedophiles or of being fundamentalist Christians (in smart, enlightened, diverse Scotland confessing to being a Christian is a hazardous enterprise).

Many inside the political and media bubble, me included, obsess about the fabled BBC Scottish Six, an hour-long Scottish nightly news programme. How many others do? If there is a slight anti-independence bias at the heart of the state, Westminster-funded broadcaster I wonder if it is visible to the naked eye of the vast majority of non-affiliated moderates who comprise the overwhelming majority of the Scottish electorate. I very much doubt it.

And when we talk about the need to de-couple from the UK because Westminster is dominated by a small cadre of self-serving Bullingdon types we need to be careful. Again, I’m as guilty of this as anyone. The majority of moderate opinion in Scotland does not hold that we have been annexed against our will by an implacable foe that is trampling over our human rights and kidnapping brides on their wedding nights for the purpose of forced concupiscence. Rather, they think that England is a benign, if slightly annoying, big brother who occasionally likes to pull our pig-tails.

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These lazy moderates have an annoying habit of having decent jobs; nice houses; a car in the driveway and two weeks every year in Torremolinos. The Unionist side might have insulted its intelligence in 2014; the Nationalists shouldn’t be doing it now.