IT’S not now or never. The journey towards an independent Scotland has been a long and winding road and accommodates many shades of opinion on tactics and timing.

But the case for firing the starting gun imminently on another referendum has surely never been stronger; the arguments never more persuasive. Are there still reasons for caution and delay? Always. The question is: does hesitancy now really help the cause?

READ MORE: Stephen Gethins: Scotland should choose its future after Brexit

Of course there are essential logistics to be considered and many technical and constitutional hazards to be navigated. Last week I was in a radio conversation with Blair Jenkins, who led the Yes campaign in 2014. His view is that the mandate to hold indyref2 as outlined in the SNP manifesto does not become watertight unless and until we are assured Brexit will happen.

We need to wait at least until that particular fog bank has cleared, he suggests, and, in any case Nicola Sturgeon, pictured below, is in a position to know best. I share his respect for the First Minister, but need her Government to hear the ever-more urgent drumbeat in the streets.

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The question of Scotland’s membership of the EU and how best to secure that in the future also looms large. Again, will a strong grassroots campaign towards a second referendum hinder that process, or might it give our European friends further evidence of commitment?

This is not to argue that the EU is a perfect construct, or that reform is not essential. Its founder members are among those now having to cope with the same disillusion about inequalities which fuelled a fraudulent Leave campaign in Britain.

READ MORE: Kirsty Hughes: What would a no-deal Brexit really mean?

But in terms of peace, prosperity, a trading group with global muscle, and free movement of workers essential for the Scottish economy, it is irreplaceable.

At the time of Scotland’s Claim of Right, the late Canon Kenyon Wright was asked what would happen if Margaret Thatcher said no to devolution, and famously responded: “We say Yes and we are the people.”

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I apply much of the same sentiment to the prediction that Theresa May would again veto the Section 30 order granted by David Cameron, pictured above, to Alex Salmond in 2012. The order which underpinned a legally binding poll.

But there is no legal impediment to holding a consultative, advisory referendum. Indeed the Brexit vote – hailed now as the sacred will of the British people – was also advisory. In fact while 17 million people voted Leave, 47m did not – because they didn’t or couldn’t cast a vote, or voted Remain.

To launch a new referendum campaign would harness the manifest enthusiasm of a growing number of Yes voters, weary of hearing “not yet”.

From the 10,000 who marched All Under One Banner in Dumfries, the 30,000 in Dundee and Inverness, and the 100,000 last October in the capital, pictured below, an obvious appetite for action is out there.

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Their enthusiasm is vital to a new campaign; what might dent it more than anything is the thought of that momentum not being harnessed. To build on the nationwide appetite for change, we need a clear signal and a clear timeline from the Scottish Government.

It’s not about personalities and it’s not about splits, whatever the more fevered imaginations in the media might suggest.

IT’S about a recognition that at a time of great peril for our country, and a time when a lame duck Prime Minister and her shambolic administration are too preoccupied with internecine warfare to offer leadership, we will never have a more propitious moment to offer a coherent alternative.

There are those fearful of indyref2 not giving a positive Yes vote in sufficient numbers. They point to largely static polls. My belief is that what will shift these polls upwards is the sound and fury of Scots tired of being ignored, patronised, and serially fed false promises.

Fearful of their children and grandchildren’s future being mortgaged by a UK Government for whom they didn’t vote, and whose values are alien. Just this week Scottish Tories, that ragbag, tiny army at war with itself, opined that Scotland should be excluded from any future trade talks. The UK should negotiate on our behalf. That’s gone well so far, eh chaps?

Well enough already. Time for self belief. Time to regain self respect. Time to take our destiny into our own hands. Should we fail, we will have given it our best shot. If we succeed we will have avoided a horrendous, unnecessary, self-inflicted wound.

But if we don’t even try, what are we going to tell that next generation? Sorry. We were just too feart.