IT’S been quite a week. The British Government has gone into meltdown, which is quite an achievement for a government which has hitherto been as solid as a Solero that’s been dropped on a pavement on a hot afternoon. There are clown cars which are better driven than Theresa May’s government.

The long-awaited Brexit plan was tossed unceremoniously to MPs as the minister responsible was about to speak, forcing the Speaker to suspend the House. We heard that the British Government is making contingency plans to stockpile processed food and to install diesel generators in Northern Ireland to keep the lights on in the event of a No Deal Brexit. The man responsible for Brexit negotiations has resigned on a point of principle, followed by the resignation of the Foreign Secretary on a point of career positioning.

We discovered that football isn’t coming home after all, having decided that it quite fancies staying in Europe. We can now look forward to lots of articles in the British press expressing outrage that England fans aren’t supporting their near neighbour France in the final.

Football hasn’t come home, but Donald Trump has brought his tiny little baby hands to Britain, and is currently using them to play golf in Ayrshire while half of Scotland tells him he’s not welcome.

There was, however, one tiny sliver of hope amongst the doom. We also had an opinion poll this week which gave support for independence at 47%. One of the most marked features of the division of opinion in Scotland about independence is that the older you are, the less likely you are to support independence, whereas the younger you are, the more like you are to support it.

According to this poll, only 31% of people over the age of 65 support independence, but a whopping 71% of 18 to 24-year-olds are in favour of it. Polling consistently tells us that Scotland is only remaining a part of the UK because older people want to stop younger people from determining the future of Scotland.

Yet the future belongs to the young. It’s the young who are going to spend most of their lives in it.

Every time that statistical observation is pointed out, you immediately get an outraged 75-year-old pointing out that they’ve supported independence all their life. It’s certainly true that there are many thousands of older people in Scotland who dream of Scottish independence, and it’s also heartening that this recent poll shows that there has been a slight increase in support for independence amongst the oldest cohort compared to how they voted in 2014. But the fact remains that Scotland is divided along generational lines.

As is usual with opinion polling, the headline figure of 47% support for independence excludes 16- and 17-year-olds. Given that younger people are far more likely to support independence, it is probable that real support for independence in Scotland is somewhat higher than the 47% in this poll.

I’ve been unable to discover whether this poll also includes EU citizens, who are not permitted to vote in Westminster elections. However, there are considerable anecdotal reports that because of Brexit, EU citizens in Scotland are now considerably more sympathetic to independence than they were in 2014. If that is the case, then the gap in Scottish opinion between support and opposition to independence is very narrow indeed. There is a 3% margin of error in opinion polls, that means support for independence and opposition to it are statistically tied.

No wonder Ruth Davidson is so opposed to another referendum. We haven’t even got a formal and official campaign, and support for independence is tied with opposition to it. Most people don’t engage with politics, so it’s hardly surprising that there has not been a huge shift in public opinion about the constitutional question.

Most people don’t think about things until they have a reason to, and since Brexit hasn’t happened yet, and since the devolution settlement is only threatened but the power grab hasn’t happened yet either, most people don’t have a reason to reconsider their views. That will only happen once an official campaign is underway.

Despite all the gloom and doom, despite the implosion of the British Government and the impending disaster of Brexit, there are reasons to be cheerful in Scotland.

The independence movement is going to enter a second independence referendum campaign with considerably higher public support than it entered the first one, and that’s despite an unremitting campaign of negativity, SNP-baddery, and woe about all things Scottish from the British nationalist media in this country.

The independence movement proved back in 2014 that it is the only effective grassroots campaign in Scotland. It was that grassroots campaign, that face-to-face work, that personal persuasion, which took support from independence from the 28% or so that it languished at in 2012, and transformed it into the 45% who voted Yes in 2014. The grassroots independence campaign did all that from a standing start, with no preparation, with no experience.

This time round we enter the campaign with almost half the population supporting independence.

We enter the campaign as seasoned and experienced campaigners. We enter the campaign with an established network of grassroots organisations. Independence is within our grasp. Independence, it’s coming home.