Blair McDougall, head strategist of the Better Together campaign during the 2014 independence referendum, is writing exclusively for The Herald's Voices Live section.

Harold Wilson said seven days is a long time in politics.

Seven years then might feel like a lifetime ago when, in Nicola Sturgeon’s words we made a “once in a generation” decision to reject nationalism and continue to work with our closest neighbours.

Much has changed since then, on both sides of the argument. On the nationalist side the First Minister, who based her offer in 2014 on social democracy funded by “a North Sea oil bonanza” now finds herself embarrassed to back fossil fuels and with oil taxes having all but dried up. Alex Salmond, who we were asked to hold hands with as we jumped off the independence cliff, is now no longer welcome in polite political company.

New powers over everything from income tax to social security have made it more difficult for the SNP to exploit grievances that they could solve with the stroke of a Ministerial pen. A global pandemic has reminded us of the illusory nature of borders and has seen millions of us having our wages paid by the British state.

"If the UK is a genuine democracy, a referendum is the only thing that can happen."

Read the opposite side of today's special Voices Live with analysis from Blair Jenkins, chief of the Yes Scotland campaign.

For those of us who want to remain in the Union, elections and events have removed a whole generation of leadership. Many of the most able advocates for the Union are gone: Darling, Davidson, Alexander and Murphy... In their place new leaders work to establish themselves while Boris Johnson offers the opponent the SNP really want.

Above all Brexit has provided the excuse those who never really accepted the result to reopen the argument. But by basing their case on the folly of erecting a border with your neighbours they invite voters to question the contradiction at the heart of their argument: if a hard border with the EU is bad for jobs and trade then won’t creating the same border with England do the same? Of course, the impact would be far worse as we export three times as much into the UK union as we do into the European one.

Point out the inescapable economic damage of leaving our biggest market and the response from the Scottish nationalists who lost their referendum is identical to those of the British nationalists who won theirs in 2016. They seek to turn an economic decision into an emotional one. Those of us who view Brexit as a cautionary tale, rather than something to be emulated, are accused of lacking faith in Scotland, or worse of not even being Scottish at all.

READ MORE: Independent Scotland faces 'difficult' cuts, warns thinktank

For all the change, one thing remains the same. The SNP leadership still view this primarily as a test of faith, while undecided see it as a test of facts. That’s why it’s remarkable that so little work has gone into explaining how we would replace the things that would be lost on leaving the UK.

The SNP have acknowledged that three central claims of their campaign no longer stand: oil taxes won’t replace our share of UK funding; we won’t be in a currency union with the rest of the UK; and we will need a border between us and England. They expect credit for acknowledging these challenges, but seven years later they still can’t show us their homework.

Faced with losing our £10 billion a year share of UK funds, equivalent to the entire Scottish hospital budget, they offer euphemisms about ‘difficult choices’. Unable to admit that leaving the UK means the costs establishing a new currency immediately, they suggest ten years of Scotland operating without a central bank – a particularly brave position given our vaccines and our wages have been funded by the Bank of England printing money these last few months. On the border they talk of replacing real customers in the UK with imaginary customers in the rest of the world.

If there were answers, we’d have heard them by now. There aren’t. Little wonder Sturgeon wants the debate to be about the right to hold a referendum rather than her responsibility to be honest about the cuts and chaos she would have us choose.

In truth what is stopping Scexit isn’t a UK Prime Minister but the Scottish people. Despite their total dominance of politics, despite 15 years of every resource of the Scottish Government, and despite everything the Conservatives have gifted them, voters remain stubbornly unconvinced. Just two out of the last twenty polls show we would vote for Scexit.

We’ve had a pandemic, an economic crisis and a decade when world politics has been lead by people who distract with ‘us’ and ‘them’ divisions. People are weary and wary. We’ve seen what happens when nationalism wins and are reluctant to accede to years more of conflict. Most of us would like even just a few years with politicians working together to fix real problems rather than fixating on imagined differences.