HAS the Commons finally awoken from a deep decades-long slumber to take back control from Theresa May and her fatally wounded government? And is that good or bad news for independence-supporting Scots?

Maybe a cautious Yes is in order on both questions. But really, fa kens.

Sitting 10 minutes from Westminster, on a very rare trip to the Big Smoke, it’s no easier to keep up with rapid developments than sitting back home. But as I write, MPs have just inflicted the third defeat on the Government in 24 hours – and the collegiate, co-operative, cross-party nature of these successful parliamentary assaults is just as significant as the constraints they now place on Theresa May’s government.

The latest amendment by Dominic Grieve, for example, forces the Prime Minister to present a new plan within three days – rather than 21 days – once her blindfold Brexit plan is finally defeated on Tuesday. The Tories have already attempted to shrug this defeat off saying the Prime Minister always planned to make a statement straight after the meaningful vote and would never have taken the full three weeks, anyway.

Aye right.

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Timing matters vastly of course, because the closer we get to March 29, the less chance that any decent alternative can be proposed and debated. And if MPs are forced to choose between Theresa May’s deal and no deal, jumping off the cliff could just happen by default – with backstop-opposing DUP MPs pushing any reluctant flyers over the edge.

So speed is of the essence, and while it’s extraordinary that so many sensible Tory and Labour MPs have dithered until now, their last-minute awakening is almost impressive to witness.

Until now, the two big Unionist parties which constitute the Government and the official opposition have basically abdicated all responsibility for resolving David Cameron’s Brexit mess.

It was up to the private individual, Gina Miller, to win MPs the right to have a meaningful vote and she has had to tolerate abuse and death threats for having the courage to go where MPs feared to tread.

Then it was up to a tiny legal pressure group, and six Scottish parliamentarians, to win MPs the right to unilaterally revoke Article 50 without the permission of the EU, and halt Brexit. Even though four of the six – Andy Wightman MSP, Joanna Cherry MP, Ross Greer MSP and Alyn Smith MEP – don’t actually want to remain part of the state they were trying to protect. Is that selfless, valiant or plain daft?

Of course, it’s true that energy spent saving Britain is energy not spent directly pursuing independence. And opinion polls do suggest that support for becoming a new country grows as the prospects of life in Brexited Britain look more bleak, damaging and chaotic.

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But there’s another way of looking at it – beyond the moment of independence (because sooner or later that will happen) to the conditions that will face the new bairn at birth. With a damaged economy as our nearest neighbour and a totally different set of trading conditions on the island of Britain – an island we will always share with England and Wales – those conditions will not be ideal.

In part because a frightened, angry and resentful set of Westminster politicians may be out to wreak vengeance. We have to minimise the chances of that because the way negotiations are conducted will be all-important. If talks reflect the traditional British way of doing things – standoffish, combative, self-harming, dogmatic and partisan – the new Scotland will suffer.

Life will be far easier, and the lengthy process of negotiation more civilised and therefore less scary for Scots, if both sides know and respect one another because they have so recently established common cause to halt Brexit.

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That seems to be happening. The sheer awfulness of Brexit and disarray of party leaders has forced MPs across party political divides to become brothers and sisters in arms. Okay, it’s temporary. Admittedly it’s easy to overstate. Actually, the sight of SNP MPs openly working and negotiating with members of Unionist parties is an uneasy one. Yes campaigners have memories.

But these eventful weeks and days may create something longer lasting and more significant – a new cross-party unity government ready to work towards a second referendum on European Union membership and run the robust, lie-busting but unashamedly pro-EU campaign David Cameron should have run three years ago.

I ken – it’s risky. Far easier for all concerned to hold their positions and go down with the ship. Or in the case of the SNP, to launch the lifeboats and hope that Scots are finally ready to leave the choppy waters of Britain behind as opinion polls seem to suggest.

But sometimes it’s better to be right than righteous – better to co-operate than to stand in lofty judgement, and better to create a social, political and economic atmosphere of guarded optimism,

not blind panic. A last-minute recovery of common sense and a rejection of dogmatic extremism at Westminster – led by independence-supporting politicians – might encourage more Scots to back the creation of a new state with these forward-looking, capable politicians along with their MSP colleagues at the helm.

Of course, it’s important not to put all of Scotland’s political eggs in one basket.

The level of nonsense Tory MPs have been prepared to tolerate before finally breaking ranks is quite unbelievable.

The bizarre “no ferries” story, for example, took several more leaps this week after the tenacious Joanna Cherry MP established that tenders from suppliers other than Seaborne Freight had not been invited as normal because the circumstances – a no-deal Brexit – were “unforeseeable”.

Yip – the government led by a woman who has long maintained that “no deal is better than a bad deal” could not foresee a no-deal Brexit.

This unacceptable nonsense and much more has been tolerated by Tory MPs for months – while Labour has dithered and failed to shine the light effectively on the myriad examples of government ineptitude.

“Hell mend them” comes to mind almost unbidden.

But shunning overtures from other progressive MPs may not be the best way to disentangle Scotland from the Union. If Theresa May’s ropey deal is finally voted down and Labour wins a vote of no confidence with the backing of Tory rebels, Jeremy Corbyn could still fail to win the two-thirds majority required to overcome the Fixed-term Parliaments Act and force a General Election. But another government could be formed by a cross-party group of People’s-Vote-supporting MPs presenting a viable alternative to the Queen within 14 days.

This cross-party contingent might include people like Dominic Grieve, Justine Greening, Hilary Benn, Chris Bryant, Stephen Doughty, the LibDems, Plaid and the Green MP Caroline Lucas, seeking a six-month extension of Article 50 from the EU so a People’s Vote can be arranged and (if Britain votes Remain) Brexit can be halted, before a new General Election is held in which the SNP must fight on an independence platform.

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It’s a high-risk strategy – no doubt. It contains a lot of “ifs” and obvious dangers for the SNP. But Nicola Sturgeon has advocated joint working in pursuit of a second vote and SNP parliamentarians have helped win the legal right for MPs to finally halt Brexit. It would look odd to abandon the cause now – especially when the SNP could have ministers in a unity government, including the post of Scottish Secretary, and perhaps the promise of a Section 30 order.

It’s still not a likely scenario, but it is possible.

Of course, old self-destructive habits could still prevail, leading Labour and Tory MPs to dither, drop the ball and let Britain crash out of the EU in March. In that case, it’s game over and Scots must strategise for a rapid departure from the Commons and the Union.

But we are where we are – and we aren’t at Armageddon yet. So should Yessers fear an emboldened, revitalised Commons? It’s hard to be certain about anything these days. But I’m prepared to trust the judgement of MPs at the chalk face. If they believe co-operation is possible, we should back them. A new country is only possible if we leave old thinking behind, and that process may have begun in earnest this week on the green benches of Westminster.