FOR the last two weeks, the world’s eyes were focused on Glasgow as the city hosted the COP26 summit in which world leaders spoke about the need to take drastic action to save the planet.

Undeniably a serious topic that deserves a serious response and like everyone else I welcome the incentive by world leaders to do something. If anything, it is a start but it’s clear that more must be done.

Anyone who reads my column will know that I’m passionate about politics, passionate about progressive change and will always champion the cause for a more progressive and inclusive society and ultimately passionate about a better and more progressive Scotland.

This week I was asked by Mike Russell, former SNP MSP, and President of the SNP if I would support independence via twitter and I asked him if he could give me his 30 second elevator pitch as to why I should support it.

His response, as expected was more of a sound bite and rhetoric and whilst I don’t doubt Mikes commitment to the independence project the reality is that with no firm answer on the economy or what currency we will be using I responded and said with no answer on these important points I can’t support something that will jeopardise people’s prosperity which in my opinion is akin with that of Brexit as the narrative and parallels are all too similar.

If the SNP are serious about holding another referendum in the lifetime of this parliament they need to show the people of Scotland what a yes vote would look like and Mike if you are reading this I want to reiterate the importance of this- learning the lessons from Brexit and treating the people of Scotland with the respect they deserve- no more grandstanding, no more rhetoric has to be high on the agenda.

Over the years we have all heard the word progressive be used interchangeably in the context of a vision by all political parties or politicians but what do we actually mean by the word progressive. To me it’s about going forward, it’s about prosperity, it’s about advancing social mobility and ensuring that the next generation do as well as the previous generations, but the sad reality is that Scotland has been gripped in a deadlock of inaction, with a government that is obsessed with the constitution at the expense of improving the lives of the people of Scotland.

This isn’t a new phenomena that is associated with Nicola Sturgeon’s administration, this goes back to her predecessor and now leader of ALBA Alex Salmond, but the fact of the matter is that this is nothing more than project continuity with a clear focus on the only issue that matters to them which is that of independence.

As First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon does have a role to play in promoting Scotland but the Scottish Governments contribution to COP 26 was null and void and non-existent. Whilst Ms Sturgeon was engaging in polaroid politics and taking a selfie with every world leader in attendance at COP 26 it’s understandable as to why the commentariat are speculating as to Ms Sturgeon’s departure from Scottish politics and who will become her successor.

Answers on a post card for that one but the obvious candidates are long standing ally Angus Robertson, Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes and if I were a betting man, I would put money on Angus becoming Nicola’s successor, but getting back to the point about societal progress it is the people of Scotland who are starting to feel the impact of a lack of governance or progressive policy making from the Scottish Government.

Somewhat akin to the points made by former Scottish Labour Party First Minister Jack McConnell who argued that Scotland is “worse than it’s ever been” and that nothing has changed since the autumn of 2014 is right in his assessment. Scotland today is inward looking, divided with an underlying element of toxicity that is the equivalent of sectarianism on steroids that was amplified during the referendum on Scottish independence and sadly there continues to be an undercurrent where if you are a supporter of the union you are deemed to be anti-Scottish.

Don’t for one minute misinterpret what I’m saying here as for the majority of people in Scotland who approach the constitutional question from different sides do so in a respectful and dignified manner who engage in positive debate but in terms of practical policy making Scotland is at the point of being standstill and it’s becoming all too obvious across Scotland and the responsibility lies firmly at the door of the Scottish Government who through progressive policy making could reverse such trend.

Barrie Cunning is managing director of Pentland Communications and a former Scottish Labour Parliamentary candidate