BASED on the findings of polls I conducted throughout the first independence referendum, an array of conclusions became apparent. One of these was that many of those who voted for Scotland to stay in the Union did so chiefly because it guaranteed continued membership of the European Union. In accordance with the regulations that govern polling of this nature I must declare that they were taken from a sample of 11 or 12 people in pubs across the West of Scotland. As such, I must declare that these findings defy most acceptable and approved systems of scientific analysis. Nevertheless they were undertaken cleanly and honestly and no drinks were offered by means of a bribe. There were no algorithms involved and no dodgy Facebook adverts. Crucially, there was absolutely no involvement whatsoever by any company with the name Cambridge in its title.

All that being said, however, I think I can predict with a fair degree of confidence, based on similar polls conducted over the past few months and in similar venues, that matters pertaining to Europe – specifically Brexit – will have a material effect on the next Scottish independence referendum. A sample question on my questionnaire is this one: to what extent has Scotland been violated during the period of Brexit negotiations: a) royally, b) completely, c) utterly, d) completely and utterly. As you can see there was no attempt to skew the questions in the direction of a desired outcome. I’m pleased to add here that my admittedly rudimentary approach to polling has been vindicated by results in more extensive polls conducted by perjink polling companies. These conclude, by varying degrees, that a no-deal Brexit or a hard Brexit would both increase support for a second Scottish referendum and indeed for independence itself. The traditional and ancient Scottish polling method of soliciting the views of “a blind man and his dug” would have told them the same thing.

READ MORE: Indyref2 will be about whether we want to sink into the swamp with England

Certain aspects of Brexit have led to speculation within the wider Scottish independence movement about what outcome would best suit the Yes cause. Predictably, the idea that a soft Brexit or the scrapping of Article 50 will spike the guns of future Yes arguments has begun to gain some credence. Thus, Nicola Sturgeon would be best-advised to seek a second referendum as early as possible. The thinking behind this seems to rest entirely on an emotional response. It suggests that everyone would be so relieved in the event of Brexit being cancelled or us remaining in a customs union with the EU that the desire for independence to lift us out of the mess would be less compelling.

This, though, is to dismiss the ways in which Scotland and its interests have been thoroughly ignored during the past two and a half years. The UK Government has been so contemptuous of Scotland and its democratically elected government during this time that the final Brexit outcome has become a secondary issue. Less than five years after Scotland was told by Labour and Conservative Unionists in England that it was a much-valued component of the UK, this country has been reduced to the role of political serfs during the biggest challenge facing it and the rest of the UK since the Second World War.

Thus, the UK Prime Minister has excluded the Scottish Government from any meaningful role in the Brexit negotiations, presumably because to do otherwise would be a tacit acknowledgement that some different dynamics apply to Scotland and that Brexit might affect it in different ways to the rest of the UK. Such an attitude has been re-inforced by an ugly symphony of cat-calls from assorted Tory delinquents for Scottish MPs to “go home”. These have been taken up by the Robinson and Farage mob outside Parliament shouting “traitors to England” to various SNP politicians, including the First Minister of Scotland.

The National: Ruth Davidson

After the 2017 Westminster election an emboldened Ruth Davidson charged her enlarged group of Scots Tory MPs to “protect Scotland’s interests”. Since then, their indolence and an embarrassing absence of anything resembling intellectual rigour or political integrity have been greeted with contempt by all sides at Westminster. Earlier this year, it was reported that they are anxious to ensure that the Scottish Government will not be permitted any meaningful role in any trade negotiations following Brexit. The favoured response among some Unionists is that Scots participated in the EU referendum as part of the UK and, as such, will be adequately served in pre and post-Brexit negotiations by representatives of the UK Government. Such a response implies that devolution never happened or that it is simply not taken seriously by Westminster.

Another strain of this type of thinking suggests that everyone will be so thoroughly fatigued by the grim Brexit pantomime that the appetite for a second independence referendum will be profoundly diminished. I really don’t get this one at all. If people are exhausted by the process of Brexit now then what will they be feeling when it transpires that the darkest forecasts of the effects of Brexit were all true after all?

READ MORE: Kevin McKenna: Should the First Minister have more selfie control?

A briefing paper published last September by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation provides a taste of what is to come: “Child poverty is set to increase across the country, and to affect poorer areas of the UK worst. This rise pre-dates the Brexit vote and is driven by domestic decisions about housing, social security and the labour market. However, many of the worst-hit areas are also highly exposed to changes in trade with the EU and any loss of regional funding. There are increasingly strong risks of price rises, falls in real wages, lower employment and lower tax revenues as the UK-EU trading relationship becomes incrementally more distant.” So, it’s entirely reasonable to infer from this that any sense of ennui over the protracted and chaotic nature of Brexit will be superseded in time by distress at rising rates of real poverty in those parts of the country already suffering these. In Scotland I’m confident that referendum fatigue won’t be a factor when you can’t feed the children, your wages are being cut and your workplace rights have been diminished.

Reports have emerged that this month’s SNP conference in Edinburgh will be riven with division on how to proceed on the currency of an independent Scotland. It follows criticism of Andrew Wilson’s Sustainable Growth Commission as being too corporate and conservative. Some individuals and groups within the wider Yes movement convey a sense that independence alone won’t be good enough unless it conforms to their own agenda.

The conduct of Brexit and its consequences have given the nationalist movement a once-in-a-generation gift. This is not the time to start inspecting it and de-constructing it in a laboratory. The arguments can start once we get independence over the line.