WE are governed by a legislature in Westminster which holds that it is infinitely worse to say that a flat-out liar is a liar than it is to tell big fat lies in the first place. This pretty much sums up everything that is wrong with British politics. Theresa May regularly stands up before the House of Commons and performs a riff which has even less truth content than a vegan bridie has meat, but don’t you dare call her a liar. That would be wrong.

Meanwhile she asserts that her Brexit strategy doesn’t consist of running down the clock so that MPs have a choice between her deal or staring into the abyss of a no-deal exit, when it’s blatantly obvious that that is the only strategy she’s got.

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The closest she has to a plan is kicking the can down a rapidly shortening road. There is nothing remotely approaching a short term plan for the UK, never mind a medium term one. And British politics has always been notoriously averse to long-term planning. That’s precisely what has got us all into this mess in the first place. It is a marked characteristic of British nationalism in Scotland that it is unremittingly negative and sour faced, bereft of anything that approaches hope, vision or a dream of a better country.

It’s all what currency are you going to use? (That would be the pound.) And never any inspiration or plan on how to spend a British currency to make all our lives better.

What we are dealing with here isn’t merely the crisis of Brexit. It’s bigger than that. It’s worse than that. The real issue facing Scotland is the collapse of the British political system into an elective dictatorship where the dictator’s sole priority is to ensure her political survival from one day to the next. The overriding concern of Theresa May is to avoid going down in history as the Conservative leader who betrayed the right wing and split the party.

The National: Theresa May is concerned only with political survivalTheresa May is concerned only with political survival

The interests of the Remain wing of the Conservatives are not important. The interests of that half of the UK population which voted to remain are not important. The interests of Scotland don’t even figure on the map.

We have now reached the point where there is little useful or novel to be said about Brexit other than holding one’s head in one’s hands and howling into the void, unheard, unnoticed, ignored. It’s all a very far cry from the glorious future that Scotland was promised awaited it in return for a No vote in the referendum of 2014. This is a crisis in which Scotland is powerless and voiceless.

I’ll always be a supporter of Scottish independence. For many years I’ve believed that this country’s future either lies as an independent state or a vassal subsumed into a right wing British nationalist dystopia. That dystopia is now staring us in the face. It’s nasty. It’s chaotic. It’s governed by mediocre non-entities like Gavin Williamson who don’t know the difference between strength and posing. It’s a country which practises casual cruelty as policy –that can be the only explanation for Universal Credit. It’s a country which demonises compassion and worships at the shrine of xenophobia. But above all, it’s a land where the disconnect between its conception of itself and the reality is a yawning chasm that not even Boris Johnson’s bridge fantasties can traverse.

Like most in the independence movement, I have waited patiently. I have trusted that the Scottish government has a plan to get us out of this mess, where the British government so clearly doesn’t.

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I have kept the faith. This land is full of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, all with the dream in mind of the better, kinder country that we can build. It’s hard work. It’s thankless work. We’re subject to online abuse from British nationalist trolls. We are faced with a Scottish media which silences us and marginalises us. And yet we keep working, we keep spreading the message. We’re not doing this because we want the SNP to govern in a devolved administration. We’re doing it because we want an independent Scotland.

We are all waiting for the announcement that Nicola Sturgeon promises to make soon about her thinking on an independence vote. And it has to be said that this independence movement, this grassroots campaign that so many of us have sweated so hard to build and to nourish, its patience is limited and its faith is not infinite. We’re strapped into the back seats of the Brexit bus and it’s heading off a cliff. We need to know, and we need to know soon, that there is a way out and that the escape door is unlocked.

Not everyone who voted SNP in the last Holyrood elections did so because they want the SNP to govern a devolved parliament.

Many of us lent our votes to the only party which promised us an independence referendum if Scotland was to be dragged out of the EU despite the commitments of the Better Together campaign that the only way to retain our EU membership was by remaining a part of the UK. If the SNP doesn’t use its mandate within this Scottish parliamentary term, many of us will think twice about voting SNP again.

So when Nicola makes her announcement in a few weeks time, if she doesn’t spell out a clear path to an independence vote within this parliamentary term, or if that fails then promise that the next Scottish elections will be a plebiscite election on independence, the disappointment within the grassroots movement will be immense. There are already very many people whose faith and trust in the SNP is wearing thin, people who have worked hard and have sacrificed their time and energy to build this grassroots movement.

Theresa May has been kicking the Brexit can down the road, but she’s running out of road. The SNP administration in Holyrood is also running out of road down which they can kick the independence equivalent. If the SNP can’t or won’t deliver, many within the grassroots independence movement will look to other vehicles for their dreams.