IF you had fought hard for Yes in 2014 the drama and euphoria of the campaign might have made you feel that Scotland was already an independent country. You were never going to let the small matter of the actual result – a piffling thing, admittedly – stop the fun. The post-referendum elixir was a heady brew that could actually make you think that independence was ours. And when the result of the Westminster elections eight months later was announced it seemed the celebrations would continue for a while yet. With 56 out of 59 Scottish seats at Westminster falling to the SNP it seemed inevitable that a second referendum would be around any minute.

The prospect then of a long stretch between the first and second referendums was a distressing one for many independence campaigners, especially I think among those who perhaps had never been involved in political campaigning before. Many new SNP supporters I talked to in the course of the campaign and afterwards had described their support for independence in messianic terms. Their conversion had been Damascene and they had begun the task of evangelising work colleagues, and family members. The struggle for Scotland’s soul was fought in book-clubs, walking groups and pubs. My own dear 80-year-old mum, an avowed Unionist, was persuaded away from her perfidious beliefs by my two daughters who felt that her conversion was a sacred cause. She still has the Yes stickers in her window and asks me every week when the next referendum will be.

Having gone through these life-altering, almost religious encounters, it’s entirely understandable and predictable why you would want to repeat them as soon as you could. It seemed good to be alive then – defeat or no defeat.

Here we are though five years later and elections and referendums have come and gone at a bewildering rate and, for the first time in UK political history, a significant portion of the population now knows what those four people who bustle through the divisions at Westminster do. Mr Speaker, John Bercow is so popular he’ll soon be hosting game shows and the BBC is already wondering how they are going to replace Andrew Neil. In American politics every day is a pantomime as the delinquent in the White House comes more and more to resemble the Manchurian Candidate. In Scotland the numbers for independence remain stubbornly defiant and other surveys indicating that a clear majority of Scots would prefer independence than exiting the EU with no deal.

At next month’s SNP Spring conference Nicola Sturgeon and her ministers will encounter squalls if they attempt foolishly to silence the increasingly siren calls to strike early for a second referendum. There are several sources for such optimism. As well as the numbers for independence averaging about 50% (the Yes campaign started with 28% in 2013) recent major oil discoveries have settled any fears that these reserves will have an advantageous impact on our post-independence economy. Independence supporters are fond of saying Scotland is the only country in the world which discovered oil and became poorer.

It’s also the only country in the world with an entire class of media and political commentators who say that oil is nothing to write home about and that it’s actually a burden. Happily though, the BBC, after several years, have stopped using the annual GERS numbers as a propaganda tool for the Union and started introducing some long overdue nuance to this hazy snapshot of our economy which fails to factor in, ahem ... independence and its different spending choices and priorities.

The case for striking out early for a referendum is further buttressed by the serial and endemic incompetence of the Labour Party in Scotland. Surely, they will begin to make a recovery soon. They won’t though; not when they always seem to choose the janitor to run the school.

And then there is Brexit, the great gift that many nationalists believe just keeps giving. Highlights from this week’s Westminster convulsions should be gathered up by the SNP’s social media specialists and retained for use across all platforms when the time comes. Two very clear patterns emerged this week and neither of them is pretty. It’s clear that Theresa May is becoming increasingly detached from reality and, I fear, to the detriment of her physical health and perhaps more. Her party has been given over to the whims of its howling whim and other night-time creatures.

Each time her ministers face the microphone you find yourself trying to decipher if this is a serious comment about breaking the Brexit logjam or an early attempt at a leadership bid. Meanwhile, the Scottish voters who opted to remain in the EU are reminded every night that their fate is in the hands of a gang of political flat-earthers from Ulster. At one point Andrew Neil, while interviewing Nigel Farage in Brussels, seemed to be suggesting to him that he might want to speak to his far-right compadre, Matteo Salvini, the deputy Prime Minister of Italy. If Italy vetoed Britain’s Brexit extension plans then a no-deal scenario could present itself. I swear I could hear chops being licked.

The other pattern is an old and continuing one: the contempt of Westminster for anything remotely to do with Scotland. Jeremy Corbyn dismissed any talk about Scotland being dragged out of Europe against its will and inevitable calls in the face of this for a second referendum as “an irrelevance”. The BBC now routinely refuses to permit coverage of SNP responses following important Commons votes on Brexit. Throughout the entire Brexit process, Mrs May and her ministers have treated the Scottish Government with disdain and ignored them at every opportunity, even when it has suggested routes that might help her. One observer told me that attempting to discuss anything with the UK Prime Minister is like sitting at traffic lights that will always be fixed at red.

Let’s not be impatient; Scotland can afford to wait a little while longer for a second referendum. This cast of political freaks and curiosities will remain with us for a while yet and, as this week has shown, they will think nothing of bring the UK to its knees if it suits their narrow agendas. That will be the time to strike.