IT is a fact of Scottish politics that the greater the demand for independence, the higher that support for independence rises in the polls, the more that the Conservatives and their British nationalist enablers in the LibDems and the Labour Party will resist calls for another Scottish independence referendum. They’re not going to concede to a referendum when they’re likely to lose it. Indeed, the only reason

that David Cameron agreed to a Section 30 order in 2012 was because he was convinced that independence would be defeated in the referendum by a huge margin, putting the question to rest for decades.

READ MORE: Welsh Labour: We won't rule out backing independence after Brexit

The current blanket refusals of both Conservative leadership contenders to allow another independence referendum must be seen in that light. Support for independence has been rising in the polls, and in the likely event of Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister, a majority in Scotland would back independence. The Tories know that the next Scottish independence referendum is not going to go well for them, they are terrified of the verdict of the Scottish people on Brexit.

The Conservatives know that they have nothing positive left to offer. No one in Scotland is going to believe a Vow Mk II. No one is going to believe a promise that Scotland will be an equal and valued partner in a family of nations. No one is going to believe a commitment to entrench and strengthen devolution.

The Tories know that they themselves have destroyed many of the strongest arguments that were deployed against independence in 2014. They can no longer present the debate as one between British internationalism on the one hand and Scottish parochialism on the other, when it’s the British state which seeks to isolate Scotland from Europe. They can no longer pretend that this is a debate between Scottish narrow nationalism and British non-nationalism, when Brexit is an intensely English nationalist project into which Scotland is being dragged.

READ MORE: Angus MacNeil calls for 2014-style campaign for Yes NOW

The only weapon that the Conservatives have left is a refusal to allow an independence referendum to take place. They’re going to double down on that argument as Brexit looms and as Boris Johnson enters No 10. They’ll cite opinion polls selectively. They’ll continue to misrepresent the statements made by certain SNP figures about the 2014 referendum being a once-in-a-generation opportunity because in 2011 the SNP broke an electoral system designed to prevent a single party from winning a majority. They will point to the fact that the SNP lost seats in 2017’s General Election.

Stopping another referendum from taking place is all they have left, because they know that when it does happen, they will lose.

You might think that this means it’s a waste of time for the Scottish Government to continue to press the British Government to concede to a Section 30 order. But we’re not at the end of the Section 30 order road just yet. In order to justify taking other actions such as a referendum without a Section 30 order or a plebiscite election, the Scottish Government must be able to demonstrate to soft No voters and undecided voters in Scotland that all opportunities to gain the co-operation of the British Government have been exhausted.

Those are the people that we need to convince and to get on board with the indy cause, not those of us who are already committed. Before other routes to independence can be explored, those voters need to know that no other options are left.

The British Government is highly unstable right now. It has a majority of just three, and that’s counting the support of the DUP. Boris Johnson has already been warned by enough Remain-leaning Tory MPs that they will block any attempt from him to bring about a no-deal Brexit. Yet him being committed to leaving the EU come what may on October 31 is precisely why the Conservative membership is going to support Boris Johnson in the leadership contest. As soon as he gets into office he’ll be caught between the rock of the party membership’s expectations and the hard place of voting strength within the Commons. The only way to break the log jam will be an early General Election. It is now highly likely that the UK will face another General Election before the end of the year.

The National: Boris Johnson will face a Brexit dilemma if, as expected, he becomes PMBoris Johnson will face a Brexit dilemma if, as expected, he becomes PM

During that election it’s going to be crucially important in Scotland to maximise both the votes and the seats won by the SNP and other pro-independence parties. That election will be fought in Scotland on the basis of giving the SNP a mandate for another independence referendum. The opinion polls are looking good. In that election the pro-independence parties are likely to return to the Commons with much greater strength than they currently possess and with an iron-clad mandate from the people of Scotland for another independence referendum. If we wipe out the Scottish Tories, or reduce them to low single figures, they will no longer be able to claim that Scotland doesn’t want another referendum. Their lie will be exposed.

However, if following that vote the British Government continues to insist that it will not grant a Section 30 order, the Scottish Government will be in a much stronger position with the Scottish electorate to make the case for an alternative route to independence. Those undecided voters will see that it’s the British Government which is blocking the democratic expression of the people of Scotland. They will realise that within the UK it makes no difference what Scotland votes for. They will understand that the union they thought Scotland was a part of is nothing more than a fiction, a convenient story told by Scottish Unionists to comfort themselves and hide from the truth that Scotland gets what England votes for.

READ MORE: SNP figures stress indyref option over MacNeil's ‘Plan B’ option

The recent proposal from the SNP’s Angus MacNeil and Chris McEleny for an alternative to the Section 30 route to independence is a welcome indication that the party needs a back-up plan, but that plan needs to be one that stands the best chance of taking undecided voters with it. After securing a strong victory in a snap General Election with an iron-clad mandate for a referendum, if the British Government still refuses a Section 30 order, then the Scottish Government will both have the democratic legitimacy and the right set of political circumstances to press ahead with an alternative route to independence.

Eventually, the SNP and the Scottish Government are going to have to face down the British state, but it’s only when the Section 30 order route has been proven to be dead and buried that we can take undecided and soft No voters with us. An alternative route could consist of a referendum without a Section 30 order, or it could consist of turning the Scottish elections in 2021 into a plebiscite on independence. Then the consequences of Conservative refusal to allow Scotland a voice will return to destroy the Tory Party, and will bring Scotland to independence.

It’s coming yet.