THE National and myself are going in rather different directions today, over that Question Time programme featuring the fourth appearance from Ukip candidate and serial questioner Billy Mitchell.

Sure – the whole episode raises big questions about Question Time production methods and a Scotsman column I wrote on the subject earlier this week got a lot of retweets.

But so did another wee observation posted yesterday: “Folks I note a lot of arid pointless arguments have been provoked by No diehards since my piece about Question Time. They suck the energy from you and arguments get nowhere. It’s good to respond to sensible critics. But there is an option to just ignore the bams.”

READ MORE: Question Time secretly cut full SNP answer to Unionist ranter

Can I take a step further and suggest it may be time to walk away from the whole Question Time debacle and re-engage with the massive political issues surging around us?

Firstly, there is (almost) nothing new to say. Tuesday’s National did an excellent resume of the questions BBC Scotland and producers Mentorn need to answer about inviting a former Ukip candidate on four times and encouraging him to unload an anti-SNP tirade on each occasion. I’d chuck in some other questions about the kind of balance programme makers are actually trying to achieve – and why?

READ MORE: Our questions for the BBC over Billy Michell's Question Time invitation

Is the main requirement for a Question Time in Scotland a balance between Remain and Leavers – even though Scotland voted overwhemingly Remain?

Has the Indy v Union balance been consigned to the dustbin despite the constitutional issue dominating everything and the two sides still level pegging in the polls?

And what about place? If venues are just backdrops, not real living places with voting histories, particular interests and outlooks – why travel about? Is Question Time just a secular version of Songs of Praise minus the hymns – singing from the “authorised version” every week with only the vaguest of nods to the actual earthly location?

The National:

If place doesn’t matter and just provides producers with the weekly headache of establishing a “safe” audience – according to British voting patterns long since jettisoned here – then why not just bus locals into a London studio and give up the pretence of reflecting actual places in all their glorious diversity?

READ MORE: SNP MP slams BBC for misrepresenting Motherwell on Question Time

Of course, BBC Scotland does still seem to be denying that it actually planted Mitchell in the audience – which does them no credit and maintains the tradition of evasive responses to legitimate complaints during the indyref campaign five years ago.

All of this is noted. But there’s no greater likelihood of a reply through further repetition.

Fascinating as the prospect of more juicy revelations may be, the ball is now squarely in BBC Scotland’s court and no amount of extra pelters will encourage a quicker response or a more profound change of policy. So why keep throwing precious energy their way?

The longer serious-minded Scots spend hooked on the exquisite angst of Question Time, the more our minds get fried, the more issues get replaced by (irritating) personalities, the more the medium becomes the message, the more the media becomes our obsession and the more we lose focus.

Dinnae get me wrong. It seems I’m now an ex-broadcaster thanks to my decision to publicly support independence in 2014 – and that’s more than mildly annoying. I’ve heaved all over Scotland in the last year showing the Phantom Power documentaries about our Nordic neighbours which might be shown on TV in Norway, Iceland and the Faroes this year but not Scotland. Could that be infuriating – yes it could. But the Faroes film has had 160,000 views online and 40 screenings across Scotland with lengthy analysis in Q&A sessions.

I’m not sure if any documentary broadcast by BBC Scotland has had more exposure. I’m fully aware that most viewers are independence supporters, but that’s also fine.

A movement needs consolidation, support, new arguments, an international perspective and connection. If the films – free of the constraints and editorial control necessarily imposed by a BBC commission -- have helped broaden arguments and deepen knowledge, then I’m happy.

Still at every screening, a member of the audience gets angry about the fact BBC Scotland won’t show them. Please – dinnae! There’s a glass half full waiting to be drunk, if only Scots can stop searching for the glass half empty. I ken it’s breaking the habit of several lifetimes. But let’s not get diverted into a knee-jerk negativity or a clickbait frenzy over Billy Mitchell.

It’s not why we’re here.

The purpose of the Yes movement is to promote the case for independence, build a better Scotland right now and stay connected with progressives across the world. Staying on track demands a lot from supporters – and the main thing is focus.

The National:

So here’s a different way of looking at the Billy Mitchell debacle. It is already a success for the Yes movement. The Union-supporting, mainstream media have taken up the story – not least because the extraordinary social media skills acquired by Yessers meant pictures of his previous outings appeared within minutes of the ex-Ukip candidate’s appearance on screen in Motherwell. That’s quite an achievement. If Billy Mitchell ever appears again, it’ll be a miracle. On the other hand, Wings over Scotland tweeted that he’s been asked onto Nicky Campbell's Big Questions panel – one of very few recent BBC invites.

The Rev says he can’t make it – it’s not clear if that means this time or never. But an invitation for one of Scotland’s most prolific and most controversial Yes bloggers is significant. Who knows - maybe the new channel's Debate Night will be next. So let’s stay vigilant but not addicted to every move Aunty makes and get back to the big issues that brought this movement together.

So let’s stay vigilant but not addicted to every move Aunty makes and get back to the big issues that brought this movement together.

Resist. Reset. Cleanse your palate after supping the political equivalent of Chicken Madras and get your tastebuds primed for more nuanced and subtle flavours. The kind that accompany the real, big life-changing issues of Brexit, climate change, independence, poverty, Universal Credit, international migration policy and campaigning for peace.

We must stay alert, to seize the moment.

Take for example, the latest news that chief British Brexit negotiator Olly Robbins was overheard by ITV News in a hotel bar suggesting that Brexit could be delayed for 21 months if Mrs May’s deal doesn’t pass through the Commons.

What might that mean for independence?

In a series of tweets, Kirsty Hughes, director of the Scottish Centre on European Relations has suggested a long Article 50 extension could open an opportunity for a new indyref push with “a better chance of a smooth transition into the EU or an association agreement.”

That’s interesting. Not as titillating as the latest revelation about Question Time -- but potentially far more important.

Like all the other big questions that get no attention while we’re all busy venting at Aunty. Is the SNP developing a strategy around a Brexit delay – or a strategy to convincingly expose Theresa May as a liar in a way that won’t be retracted next time? We should know, we should be debating this and getting ready to make the most of what’s about to unfold at Westminster.

Boring as it is. Inaccessible as the language is. Contemptuous as the main parties are towards the SNP – history is in the making right now.

Let’s focus on that and let Billy Mitchell return to flute-playing obscurity – the subject he really knows best.