IN an unusual year of no scheduled elections, my thoughts turned there this week. Visiting Westminster on Tuesday, with the Tories reeling after a series of significant Brexit related defeats, the prospect of an early Westminster election was evidently weighing on nervous Scottish Tory MPs.

Unlike the dispirited Tory MPs, my SNP colleagues who take to the green benches were in fine fettle. There was a real buzz when the news broke about the Advocate General’s opinion that the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50. Our clear preference is to remain in the European Union. This position reflects the will of the people of Scotland; either the 62% of voters in 2016 or 70% now, if polls offer an accurate indication.

We have argued for a compromise of membership of the single market and customs union if membership of the EU is off the table – as it seemed to be for some time – but right now, particularly since the Advocate General’s view has been made public, staying in Europe through another vote is a real prospect.

Theresa May’s deal is bad for Scotland and bad for the UK, and rejecting it must not mean leaving without a deal.

The Prime Minister is trying to frighten people into accepting her deal by fooling the public into thinking that the only other option is no deal. Reports, as I write this on Friday afternoon, are that her team are upscaling the worst-case scenario of what a no deal will mean, including chaos at the border and the potential for shortages.

But the SNP continue to challenge May’s frying pan or fire scenario. That’s why the SNP amendment to Tuesday coming’s so-called “meaningful vote” calls on the UK Government to request an extension to the period of negotiation under Article 50 to ensure the UK doesn’t crash out of the EU without a deal.

This week also marked the point that the next Scottish parliamentary election became closer than the past one. Watching the downcast faces of the beleaguered Brexiteers of the Tory MSPs in Holyrood, left isolated as all other parties united to reject the ragbag deal being kicked all over the Commons as they spoke, there is a palpable change in their mood. The arrogance and smugness so evident in recent times is giving way, if not to panic, certainly to anxiety, as the dangers of Brexit hit home with increasing severity.

We also saw the election of Scotland’s newest councillor, Alex MacInnes. This SNP gain in Strathpeffer is a symbolic result for the party and for all that want an independent Scotland. Alex is well liked locally and this is also notable as a damning indictment of the Tories’ Brexit.

Another highlight this week was watching Question Time. Or, to be more precise, watching SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford on Question Time. Ian, in his own understated style, dominated the hour-long discussion.

Making Scotland’s voice heard, not only at Westminster but across the UK broadcasting network, is a challenge, and we continue to demand a better share of time and space on screens and the airwaves.