LAST October, at the SNP’s conference, the First Minister asked her party for patience, promising them an update on the timing of a second independence referendum once the “fog” of Brexit had lifted.

If anything, over the past six months, the fog of Brexit has become thicker and thicker and thicker.

Yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon could hold off giving that update no more.

She started up her big Yes foghorn, and switched on the beacon in her lighthouse of freedom, and in effect kickstarted the campaign for indyref2.

But the problem for the First Minister is that the haar is still here.

And that means the timing of a second independence referendum is currently in the hands of Theresa May.

Not because of a Section 30 order or the transfer of powers, or anything like that – May will likely be long out of No 10 when that request is made again – but because Sturgeon has very firmly linked the vote to Brexit.

Simply, if the UK leaves the EU then Scotland will vote on leaving the UK.

“My party was elected with a mandate to offer that choice within this parliamentary session should Scotland be taken out of the EU against our will,” she said.

Sturgeon added: “To rush into an immediate decision before a Brexit path has been determined would not allow an informed choice to be made. However, if we are to safeguard Scotland’s interests, we cannot wait indefinitely.”

That means that the preparatory work will start now, and that includes the plans for primary legislation that would “set the rules for any referendum”.

In effect, last time Holyrood secured the Section 30 order and introduced legislation – this time Sturgeon wants to do it the other way round.

Other preparatory work includes the creation of the Yes.Scot campaign, the new snazzy looking website up and running and fundraising within minutes of Sturgeon’s speech.

There are still some huge questions here, including, crucially, what happens if the UK doesn’t leave the EU.

There are days when that’s unthinkable, and days when it seems the likeliest outcome.