IT is coming up to a year since Scotland – as the Yesser talking point goes – was ripped out of the European Union against its will.

Brexit, to borrow from another slogan, has been ‘got done’. The process of leaving is over. The consequences of doing so are not.

Economists talk of a long-term drag on business, on recessions which are deeper and recoveries which are shallower.

Defence and diplomatic types worry about the loss of UK influence – and the bloc’s significant security guarantees and crime-fighting opportunities.

And politologists warn that the territorial integrity of the now century-old United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been put in doubt.

We have all heard the story: Brexit, it says, might culminate in a united Ireland and an independent Scotland.

READ MORE: Foreign affairs

We will see. Nobody, of course, has a crystal ball. But pollsters have plotted a movement in their spreadsheets: there are Scottish swing voters who have been nudged towards Yes by the EU exit.

So the SNP, in particular, is eager to parade its pro-Europe credentials. Many of its leaders – and its voters – are sincere believers in the European project, in the idea of nations clubbing together. They are nationalists who echo traditional unionist values – and spread their appeal beyond their old base as they do so. Smart, right? Maybe.

Because there is a problem with Scotland’s on-your-sleeve Europeanism, a big one.

Scots – across the constitutional divide – can sound passionate about the principle of EU integration. But, if we are really honest with ourselves, we are not remotely interested in its detail. Not many of us are anyway. Our Europhilia, I’m afraid, can be skin-deep.

Scots, by and large, do not keep up with what is happening in the EU or in its member states. Neither do our politicians.

This is also the view of Anthony Salamone. He’s an analyst who focuses on Scottish foreign policy, especially EU relations.

Writing in the online magazine he edits, The Political Courant, Mr Salamone this week bemoaned the “largely lacklustre” state of the European debate in Scotland.

The conversation, he said, remains framed around independence. “Scottish politics,” he wrote, “generated stunningly little substantive discussion on the actual developments and policies of the EU, let alone reflection on their implications for Scotland or production of articulate positions on them.”

READ MORE: Why Scotland needs a foreign policy

The SNP, Mr Salamone added, has held fast to its positions that it wants good relations with the EU – and for an independent Scotland to join the bloc.

Yet over the last two years the party and the government it leads has done nothing substantive to develop those aspirations. There have been no major speeches, said Mr Salamone, no grand strategy documents.

OK, there has been a pandemic, but, still, the analyst has a point. How come? Well, because Scottish politics has been as dumb about the EU since long before Covid.

Who can forget the sheer intellectual laziness of Alex Salmond as tried to bluster through the technical complexity of EU membership for an independent Scotland? He was embarrassing. So, mind you, were his opponents, who shamelessly and often absurdly exaggerated the hurdles to re-entry. And that was before the preposterous lies about the EU splashed on the sides of buses two years later.

Have things got better since? I am not sure they have.

It feels like we are all going round and round on the same constitutional carousel, with the same tinny, carnival clown music blaring over the tannoy.

Take recent efforts by the Scottish Government to expand its presence, its “visibility”, in the EU with new de-facto embassies in Copenhagen and Warsaw.

This move provoked a braindead online “debate” about whether it was legitimate or not. I think that empty noise of a row suited the decerebrates on both sides of our politics. Because it meant they did not have to come up with ideas for what our diplomats should actually be doing. Indeed, MSPs, opposition or government, rarely have anything substantive to say about foreign policy at all. As, Mr Salamone noted in his paper, the Scottish Government’s existing international actions, all well within the remit of a devolved polity, get “minimum scrutiny” in Holyrood.

His view: our representatives should stop repeating their story – Brexit, yadda-yadda, independence – and start engaging with what is happening within the EU. Scottish documents, he added with a painful dig, were “saturated in overoptimism on Scotland’s relevance”.

There are, of course, Scottish politicians and officials who know about the EU and Europe and who have the kind of cultural and linguistic hinterland needed to do so.

Some are in the SNP leadership. But Mr Salamone stressed they were a minority.

“Most participants in Scottish policy-making have comparatively minimal socialisation to the politics, institutions and functioning of the EU – at European level and within the member states,” he wrote . “The inevitable result is a monochromatic interpretation of the union, normally in excessively rosy fashion, seemingly in ignorance of its profound internal debates over values, policies and future direction.”

In other words, nationalist leaders are wide-eyed and bushy-tailed about Europe but do not know much about it. And they are failing to pick up on developments on the continent that could be really important for Scotland, whether we ever get back in the bloc or not.

How do we fix this? We should start by acknowledging the problem, and thinking about what we say about our continent and its people.

SNP leaders, especially Nicola Sturgeon, have won plaudits for the welcoming way they speak of – and to – EU nationals. But they only look good by comparison with the thinly veiled xenophobia of some UK nationalists.

As Mr Salamone points out, SNP politicians talk of “European friends”, not “fellow Europeans’. That is not the language of Europeanism.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.