BELIEVE me, I know all about morning television. The soft furnishings, the militantly pleasing colours, your face literally aching from its permanent smile. The researchers chopping away at your massively subtle perspective (book/politics/album), until it fits their news grid for the morning.

The twitchy alertness of the news presenters, caffeinated out of their gourds, trying to balance journalistic rigour with holiday-camp bonhomie. The green room collisions, whether it be with basketball players, misery memoirists, urban gardeners. Or some unidentifiable reality TV star, sleek as a seal.

And out there, on the other side of the broadcast, an island’s peoples haul themselves towards the daily grind, with you and your bloviations as their background burble.

Let’s be honest: it’s not going to be your finest hour. But as Gore Vidal once said, there are two offers in life that you never turn down, and one of them is the chance to appear on television.

In Gore’s day, the media was one great shiny screen, a cathode spectacle that conferred power and significance on anyone – even imperious anti-imperialists like Vidal – that got into its circuits. All the citizenry’s eyeballs were trained at that spot – although it was never guaranteed as to whether they would be fully attentive, or hypnotically glazed

Nowadays the media spectacle is smashed like a mirror, angles and fragments everywhere, all manner of miscreants running off with the shards. But mainstream TV – and the most mainstream TV is morning TV – still has enough glow and heft to be one of the bigger and most controversial chunks that might thud into your distracted mind.

For those of us with a big cause – for example, the achievement of Scottish independence – how you behave in these circumstances, whilst giving good couch, is worth considering. Particularly in our current social media environment, precision-engineered to thrive and profit from the production of controversy. Do you throw red meat into its mincer, or something more subtle?

This week’s controversy over the discussion on the midmorning Jeremy Vine show on Channel 5, in which the most embarrassing “too poor, too wee” cliches about contemporary Scotland were rattled off by a series of empty heads, certainly wouldn’t have surprised the programme makers. News topics, and panellists’ bugbears, are carefully aligned beforehand.

And because nobody at the money end loses in the click wars, one must expect that the producers knew about the possibility of legions of computer-literate cybernats ready to angrily spread the clip (and the brand) far and wide on the net. Ka, and furthermore, ching.

But just let me raise a small hand here: even on these shows, it doesn’t always have to be this way. The question, in this climate, is whether subtleness even registers.

I was on the very same Jeremy Vine show a few weeks ago. I joined a tremulous therapist and a women who’d fallen out of love with her famous sporting partner.

I’d actually been invited to speak directly about independence, although the topic was bumped down from the top item (replaced by our musings on have-a-go vigilante homeowners). But I would have said Mr Vine’s questions were informed, disciplined and didn’t involve any consideration of “whether the Queen would be upset” at indy (part of this week’s horror show).

READ MORE: Jeremy Vine show criticised as guests take aim at Scotland

In fact, my experience on the Vine show was a useful Petri dish in which to test indy campaign rhetoric. I found that my appeal “how can you ever have too much democracy?”, responding to the charge of general referendum fatigue, went down pretty well.

And it was gory, but instructive, to watch Vine flay a poor Scots-Nat caller on her sanguine attitudes to the Scottish currency question. It crystallised my own position on the importance of the message that we’ll plan for a separate currency from the moment of indy. Tough, grown-up, but at least unambiguous.

By the end of our segment, the woman who’d fallen out of love with her famous sporting partner turned to me and robustly endorsed “the right of the Scottish people, having voted to stay in Europe, to go their own way if they want to”. And then it was hard into the third commercial break. But a wee internal victory lap for me.

But did this fruitful, productive exchange hurtle round the social media accelerator as a hot meme? Of course it bloody didn’t. That’s enough for me to just about recuse myself from frontline indy media duties. I’m not in the mood, or life-stage, to send incendiary zingers round the networks. Thoughtful politeness is the best I can manage, these days.

The mechanics of the media war won’t go away, though – and it’s interesting to see how political strategy adapts. There’s no doubt that Ian Blackford, the SNP’s leader in Westminster, is cranking up his Parliamentary rhetoric on Boris Johnson’s “racism” and “sexism”, in order to send sizzling memes into the digital melee.

Does it sit all that comfortably with this embodiment of old-school Highland courtesy? Not to my eyes.

But when we finally get into the indyref2 zone, or maybe the snap General Election that a Boris Johnson leadership might trigger, it’s not just the temptation to break taboos and crank up the effect that I’m worried about. It’s the fact that the social-media systems we will inevitably use are expressly designed to profit from extremism and vituperation. Lines may be crossed, because the forces pulling us over them are so strong. Mindfulness, please.

I’LL close by quoting two examples that are hardly viable alternatives. But they at least show you can take the high road in media politics – and not end up in failure and defeat.

Check out, firstly, Change A View – the new website based on the wildly (and globally) successful Reddit site. It’s run by a young software expert born and living in Inverness, Kal Turnbull. Kal’s aim is to encourage online commenters to persuade (rather than abuse) their opponents – who, if their minds are changed by a discussant, can award them “deltas”. This makes a high-scoring game out of sweet reason. It’s a clever incentive. Sounds geeky? Remember how brittle and forced the early Facebook sounded. Maybe this could be integrated into some of our “national conversations”.

And if you want to be utterly inspired, look at the successful election of an anti-Erdogan candidate for the mayoralty of Istanbul the other week. They won, and resoundingly, by distributing a publication called the Radical Love Book.

The text is explicitly aware that modern Turks are being polarised by the government’s orchestration of disputes on social media.

Their counter-tactics were simple. Find your opponent, use some simple methods to engage them in respectful talk, and aim to hug them at the end. The opening lines of the Book are stirring enough: “In the endless emptiness of space, there’s life on a tiny little planet. But there’s always fighting on this planet … When did the world become this loveless?”

There will be much fighting in the media trenches over the next few years – and all power to those well capable of it.

But can we also get to a discourse around indy with engages with our most basic yearnings and aspirations, in this poetic way? Or will all that be dismissed as rainbows and unicorns by the political cognoscenti?

Morning TV might well be a battleground friendlier to soft power than hard power, empathy over antipathy. Worth a try. If they invite me back, I promise to inflict it on Jezza.