Let’s just call it quits then. When the Supreme Court says there’s no lawful way out of a voluntary union, it’s evidently time for Yessers to give up completely.

True, it is marginally irritating that another part of the UK – never a state in its own right – has a better deal entirely. But Northern Ireland is a special case, so their partial EU membership and right to self-determination every seven years is none of our business and well above our pay grade, isn’t it? Even if they are just 20 miles across the Sheugh.

Besides, things are not so bad in the UK. Okay, there is a cost-of-everything crisis but no other country is having it easy either. Admittedly, having just returned from Iceland, where control over energy means homes are toasty, it’s tough to see our own renewables-rich country struggling badly. Still, the tough truth is that Scotland doesn’t have Iceland’s geothermal resource or active volcanoes which together deliver occasional eruptions and reliable warmth plus jobs and research in geothermal renewables and hydrogen.

Scotland possibly could have the same energy independence with subsea connectors to our energy-rich islands - still off-grid thanks to Westminster’s failure to upgrade cables for 30 years, during which time Hebrideans and Orcadians have endured depopulation and the UK’s highest rates of fuel poverty. But hey. Bygones.

Certainly, it’s disappointing that Westminster parties are vying to be kings of over-hyped, over-priced nuclear while Scotland could be developing marine energy for the whole planet, with full control over taxes and energy.  But let’s just hope and pray that Westminster – with all the receipts from energy taxation and licensing – does something more productive with Scotland’s renewable resources than it did with the billions from our oil and gas.

Meanwhile, every time the UK Government privatises health in England, the money available for Scotland’s NHS does decline. And no part of the NHS ever recovered from cuts in 2010, when the usual four per cent above inflation increase was slashed to one per cent … by that nice man Jeremy Hunt.  But let’s not mention it – especially now he’s Chancellor. After all no-one else does.

Unfortunately, the privatisation train does continue apace south of the border, with massive, dodgy contracts for ennobled cronies during the pandemic and no promise by Labour to return to public ownership or indeed to EU membership, despite the loss of cultural vibrancy, four per cent of GDP, millions of skilled workers and a future of shared academic research.

True – the solidarity rallies across Europe after the Supreme Court ruling hint at considerable support for Scottish self-determination, and a level of international profile not even experienced at the height of the referendum in 2014. That will indeed be squandered if Scotland the Brave becomes Scotland the Compliant, crawling contentedly beneath the cloak of invisibility worn by every other ‘region’ of the UK whilst voting to move in the same social democratic direction as our neighbours.

But maybe Scotland doesn’t need the international recognition enjoyed by Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Estonia and can bask instead in the reputational glow that comes with being British. 

Finally, leaving 50% of MPs, MSPS, councillors and voters without a platform, party, hope of change or sense of optimism is a problem, especially when a 2017 poll found Remain-voting Yessers were the most upbeat people in the UK – motivated not by cash but a mixture of hope, conviction and creative energy. Every nation has a mix of temperaments. It will be a loss for everyone if the most vigorous, self-starting, alternative builders and dreamers leave the stage. But they’ll get over it.

In any case, the capacity to go beyond the Westminster box isn’t confined to supporters of independence. UK Labour produced devolution itself and Scottish Labour FMs brought in free personal care and STV for local government which ended council fiefdoms.

Perhaps unionists will make a decent fist of running the dinghy that is Holyrood, since they so readily acknowledge its limitations. Maybe Labour will win south of the border, for a while. Maybe Scotland won’t miss the millions of people activated in 2014 by the hope of something better. Maybe when a court blocks a lawful route to indref2, the search for a political route should also be abandoned.

Perhaps such “realism” would be good for Scotland.

Or perhaps the genie is irretrievably out of the bottle and Yessers will no more walk away from a Supreme Court setback than supporters of the status quo ever called it a day after successive lost Scottish elections.

This impasse is political and must be resolved democratically.

Persuasion should be the name of the game until the General Election. Nicola Sturgeon’s de facto referendum has instantly become the most analysed part of that strategy even though it really is the least urgent.

Most urgent is discussion – beyond all the comfort zones.

On the Yes side everyone should be talking together outside party camps about what happens next. Ex-MSP Andy Wightman says the best referendum isn’t held until it simply endorses a settled will. But without a deadline, proposal, campaign or vote to prompt vigorous debate, how will voters decide?

Many Scots will sit forever on the fence – as is their democratic right – because the pros and cons of independence versus the status quo are rarely debated, with broadcasters taking the easy way during election/ referendum campaigns and letting both sides slug it out.

They could intervene, frame debate, fact check and analyse the big issues intelligently. But they certainly won’t bother without an impending campaign.

If there’s no civic assembly to kickstart a deep scrutiny of our options, and the Scottish Parliament could instruct this immediately, Channel 4 could resurrect its mid-90s People’s Parliament – where 100 demographically representative Mancunians replaced MPs over five summers, hearing evidence from experts before debating and deciding everything from community notification of paedophiles to the reunification of Ireland.

We need that big debate now. Because there will be no indyref knockout blow until the issues are actually resolved.

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