SEVERAL analyses have begun to form since Nicola Sturgeon made her latest independence pledge. All of them agree there is virtually no chance of the UK Supreme Court ruling that Holyrood can legislate on its own for a new independence referendum. Moreover, a referendum-by-proxy at the 2024 UK General Election is a risky business simply because it takes Scotland and the UK into uncharted constitutional territory.

Even if the vote for pro-independence parties is 50% or more we can be assured that a Conservative or Labour UK Government will use all the levers of the UK state to resist it. All of it, though, cheerfully ignores the fact that the next referendum on Scottish independence would always be a risk and one with much more riding on it than the 2014 edition: lose this one and it’s all over for independence for many, many years.

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There was never a point in the last eight years when the prospect of a Yes vote looked even reasonably assured. This was why the fabled 60% opinion poll mark, regarded as the SNP trigger to call for another referendum, was sophistry.

With the UK establishment parties implacable in their opposition to another referendum there were few other avenues left for Ms Sturgeon to explore. The prospect of an 11th straight independence vote in four different UK electoral jurisdictions – the last one an explicit Yes vote – is approaching the realm of international recognition. More crucially, if the UK’s political establishment continues to dismiss a referendum with the same condescension as the Tory leadership hopefuls have this week, resentment builds in Scotland.

Another narrative is emerging, conveyed by Scottish Labour types. This suggests that by making the 2024 UK election an independence plebiscite you run the risk of this extreme right-wing Tory Government being returned ahead of a resurgent Labour party who might lose crucial votes to the pro-independence parties in Scotland.

This might have been a concern if the political organisation Keir Starmer now leads actually bore any resemblance to the Labour Party. Boris Johnson was often accused of being principally concerned with securing personal power and then maintaining it to the exclusion of much else in the way of a nailed-down suite of policies.

Vaguely liberal and mildly aspirational, these were candyfloss pledges that evaporated at first contact. It’s why Burnley, in the north-west of England, has 30% more inflation than London and the South three years after Mr Johnson and his acolytes pledged to level up their new Red Wall constituencies.

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‘Two Flags’ Starmer seems to have only one strategy: ditch as many distinctive Labour policies as he can get away with so as not to scare the lieges in the Shires. Perhaps this was why Labour’s Lords this week were whipped to abstain on a LibDem amendment to the Schools Bill to provide free school meals to all households receiving Universal Credit. Their action caused the amendment to fail.

So, what if the Tories get in again in 2024? It’s not as if life would be much different under a Labour administration led by their value-lite political impostor.

The anger of the Alba MPs Kenny MacAskill and Neale Hanvey last week, which led to them being escorted from the Commons, was understandable. They’d just witnessed the most corrupted and degenerate PM in modern political history idly refuse to countenance a free vote on independence.

What was far from understandable – but entirely predictable – was the fact that not a single SNP MP spoke in support of them. Their own leader, Ian Blackford, had his own comedy expulsion last year, but Mr MacAskill and Mr Hanvey were, according to s Sturgeon, merely indulging in gesture politics.

She would know all about Gesture Politics: she is the Queen of the empty, risk-free stunt. If it’s not granting pardons to witches, it’s jeopardising the safety of SNP feminists by sounding a dog-whistle to violent members of her gender cult. And oh look: here’s my top ten books of the year, especially that one by my good friend, Val.

“Democracy cannot be the prisoner of any politician”, the First Minister said this week. This was an utterly meaningless and facile statement that looked as though it might even have started life as one of those inspirational quotes on Facebook accompanied by pictures of balmy sunsets.

Some gestures though, are mightier than others and well worth enacting. At the launch of her second paper on independence the First Minister was asked if SNP MPs might consider a boycott of Westminster after the two Alba MPs were thrown out. “No,” she replied. “People have elected our MPs to do a job at Westminster, and they do it well.”

No-one who has ever witnessed the SNP group bumble their way through the Parliamentary session thinks this shower do anything well. Mr Blackford should have been sacked over his inept and callous handling of the Patrick Grady affair. He and several of his closest lickspittles have presided over a vengeful and hostile environment within targeting women who insist on standing up for feminism.

Two of the SNP group, John Nicholson and Pete Wishart – aka “bumptious” and “hopeless” – opted to mock the two suspended Alba MPs. It’s more or less the sum total of their contributions at Westminster since they began living the good life in London. Indeed, so mesmerised is Mr Wishart by Westminster’s ancient accoutrements that he wanted to become Speaker of the House in 2019 to succeed John Bercow.

This is a position that requires you to wear a black satin robe, trimmed with gold lace and frogs. There’s a full-bottomed wig if you’re feeling a bit George III that day and, occasionally, a tricorne hat. Being Mr Speaker also requires you to resign from your party.

If Ms Sturgeon wants to go ‘all-in’ at the 2024 General Election then the stated intention that all SNP MPs would abstain from Westminster would signify implacable intent as well as convey honesty and integrity. It might be interesting to observe how deeply committed the SNP’s professional class are, shorn of the baubles and grand gestures of the Mother of all Parliaments.