THE First Minister’s statement to the Scottish Parliament will, in time, be seen as one of the most important moments in Scotland’s democratic progress, our “journey begun long ago, and which has no end” as Donald Dewar put it 20 years ago.

The statement did three important jobs, as I see it. First, it recognised that work needs to be done urgently to allow decisions to be taken purposefully and timeously as the reality of Brexit clarifies. As a result, framework legislation on a second independence referendum will be piloted through parliament now before a Section 30 order “permission” is then sought.

As a result, Holyrood will know exactly what referendum it seeks and how it will work at the same time as understanding the precise nature of the self-harm the United Kingdom Government and parliament chooses to deliver through Brexit.

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It is more than perfectly reasonable for the Scottish Government to undertake this work and put it to the parliament for approval. It is its duty democratically and in the clear national interest given the chaos and harm Brexit is causing and will cause.

At the same time, however, she has also made clear that it would be a mistake to rush our collective fence before knowing more about what emerges from the Brexit fog. It would also be a mistake to progress without a clearly legitimate underpinning to the democratic choice being made.

To continue to thwart this simple question of choice would be a grievous error by the UK Government but we cannot rule this out. But in the court of Scottish public opinion it would not stand.

In the meantime, the role of the SNP and other advocates of the case for independence is to construct a clear prospectus that navigates the risks of whatever Brexit route is chosen to secure the national interest of Scotland. This will mean a clear vision of how the transition is managed and the work that will be needed to create the sort of Scotland most people would wish to live in.

At the same time the First Minister’s statement also recognised that many politicians will continue to oppose independence. And in doing so she marks a key shift of tone that most citizens of Scotland will welcome from our politics.

She said: “The fact that we do not agree on Scotland’s ultimate destination should not stop us travelling together as far as we can”.

So, let the parliament work on how to build Holyrood up and find the highest possible agreement on how far we can go to take responsibility for our own futures as our parliament matures into its 21st year.

The third job it did was to make clear that she has her eyes and mind wide open to the lessons of the inter-generationally bad example Brexit has offered on how not to do reform.

Scotland will only progress when a new “settled will” is formed that can secure the support for our next step and ongoing consent for its implications. The transition will need to be managed in a way that gives all a clear stake in creating the new country and securing our position within the community of Europe and the wider world.

Entrenched and partisan politicians struggle to compromise and tiptoe on to the continent of common ground that is the reality of most citizen’s perspectives. The chaos at Westminster demonstrates the price that this exacts when politicians can’t even find agreement within their own Cabinet.

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So, the idea of a Citizens’ Assembly is exciting to help engage the broader community and draw the partisan heat out of a debate that will set our course for generations to come.

The days of having to thole the excesses of Westminster self-harm or seek to alleviate the symptoms are coming to an end. The responsibility of dealing with our own problems and securing our own opportunities is a major step. It will take effort and hard work and, yes, compromise.

It always does. It will be worth it. Very much worth it.