‘I HAVE devoted myself to the cause of the people. It is a good cause. It shall ultimately prevail– it shall finally triumph.” These were the words spoken from the dock by the 18th- century political reformer Thomas Muir as he was tried at the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh, in late August 1793.

Now, the reformer is the everyman. The referendum of 2014 ignited a complete political energisation of the Scottish people.

Sometimes those living through change are the last to see how complete and extensive it is. That applies in particular to the forces of reaction.

Take, for example, yesterday’s headlines in our deadwood Unionist media, who wheezed that support for Independence was “only at 48 per cent”. Only 48 per cent? When I fired the starting gun on the 2014 referendum support for independence was at 28 per cent!

The Yes campaign enabled people to ask themselves what it meant to be Scottish in the modern world. Our detractors scuttled to attack this notion and, using the full panoply of state power, the referendum was lost for Yes.

But strong ideas stand the test of time. And the people do not forget. The credibility of the Better Together construct collapsed within hours of their victory. In contrast the Yes campaign propelled the SNP to a historic success in the General Election and again to victory in the Scottish elections of this year.

Two years on and it is the Brexit vote, “full English Brexit” as my young colleague Callum McCaig MP memorably described it this week, which has provided the ignition spark for a new referendum.

However, Brexit is only the spark. It is one of a range of issues which show two nations diverging dramatically on their collective judgement as to the best future.

Westminster is steering a kamikaze course towards political isolation, spendthrift militarism and inevitable economic decline. The Government is preparing to commit zillions to Chinese nuclear power stations, refurbishment of the Royal Palace of Westminster, a “fast rail” to the middle of England on top of £200 billion on weapons of mass destruction.

Meanwhile the English health service is in terminal crisis with no sign of the promised Brexit millions coming to its aid anytime soon.

The next test is coming. Of that I have little doubt. I am sure First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is sincere in wishing to discharge her mandate and her promise of seeking to keep Scotland within the single marketplace of Europe. Indeed, it would be possible to construct a way to do that while staying within the state of the United Kingdom.

However, there is no sign at all that the Westminster Government has even the vaguest notion of its own overall strategy, never mind summoning the statecraft and the flexibility to meet Scotland’s requirements or even acknowledging Scotland’s entitlements.

Therefore, matters will likely come to the touch once again. If I have to guess a date then I’d say that it is likely to be the autumn of 2018. And even on that two-year timescale there is much to be done. In the first vote, what began as a Scottish Government initiative transformed into a popular campaign. We should never forget that inspiration.

As the Electoral Reform Society recently noted, the Scottish referendum was an exemplar of democratic participation in contrast to the shameful distortions of the Euro referendum.

The example set by our peaceful democratic debate hasn’t just transformed our national conversation but should give hope to a world where people wake up in once-great places turned warzones, such as Mosul and Aleppo.

However, indyref2 can’t just be the same. As Leicester seem to be finding out in the Premier League, much to the regret of this romantic football fan. You can’t roll out the same tactics and trust them to be as effective as before.

We should start by understanding that the coalition which will drive us to success goes far beyond political parties. Of course the SNP is the Government and we must utilise the little state influence that we have including the authority and legitimacy of our national parliament.

Of course the Scottish Government should again publish a White Paper with comprehensive detail on the way forward. Scotland would have little time for the paper-thin vapours of the Brexiteers or of a Trump.

However, this time our prospectus should not be frightened of listing options of genuine policy choices that an independent state might wish to pursue.

To take a personal example, our presentation on key issues such as the currency should be much more like that which I laid out in the second television debate, rather than the first!

And this time round, the stakes are higher than before. Scotland faces a serious threat to our national interests, a much more direct and serious threat than Westminster’s grip.

We have been a European nation for nigh-on 1000 years. In this millennium we want Scotland to be socially just, economically prosperous and outward looking.

We want a country and a society of which we can be proud. That is unlikely to be available within the United Kingdom. It could be claimed in an independent Scotland.

I should offer a rejoinder to the scoffers who would say it’s yesterday’s argument. They are all of them, wrong, for “yesterday’s argument” happens to concern Scotland’s future.

Why they can’t absorb this most salient detail is anybody’s guess, but pro-independence campaigners must prepare for this caustic rhetoric once more, and avoid allowing it to dim the way forward.

Let them whistle in the wind.

Sometimes there are moments which capture moods far beyond the clatter and din of the political battle. One such in 2014 one was the singing of the Hamish Henderson anthem Freedom Come Aa Ye by the South African singer Pumeza Matshikiza at the opening ceremony of our Commonwealth Games.

It was a galvanising moment when I realised that all was possible.

“Sae come aa ye at hame wi freedom / Never heed whit the houdies croak for Doom / In yer hous aa the bairns o Aidam / Will fin breid, barley-bree an paintit room.”