SPECULATION over the options that present themselves after the Commons’ meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal on December 11 is reaching fever pitch.

That’s hardly surprising given the number and range of options that will spring up in the aftermath of the vote is huge. As we discovered while working on our graphic on pages four and five of today’s Sunday National, we could have filled most of our paper with the different scenarios that will face us. Thankfully, we restricted the options to a more sensible number.

What’s certain is that we will be entering uncharted territory in which almost anything can happen.

That includes the almost unprecedented collaboration among the parties at Holyrood, all but one of which will be joining forces to sign a motion calling for an alternative to May’s deal and rejecting the notion of leaving Europe without any deal at all. That Holyrood motion will be followed by an SNP attempt to achieve similar consensus among the opposition parties – and presumably some Tory rebels – at Westminster.

For a party pledged to make Scotland independent it could be said that the SNP is going to inordinate lengths to protect the UK as a whole from the disastrous consequences of a hard or no-deal Brexit.

Is it right to do so? The most persuasive argument in favour of the SNP tactic is that it’s the right thing to do. We may want to be independent but we do not wish to see our neighbours suffer economic disaster.

More pragmatically, many fear that a hard Brexit will be so brutal that voters will be put off considering independence.

Many in the independence movement are becoming impatient for another referendum.

But if the SNP’s stance is successful it will have saved those living north AND south of the Border from catastrophe, established a worldwide reputation for statesmanship and increased national self-confidence as we again consider taking our future into our own hands.