AUGUST is traditionally regarded as the silly season in the press. It’s the month when government has all but closed down for the summer holidays, and newspapers must find other ways to fill their pages with amusing wee stories about seagulls stealing crisps, or dire warnings that the supervolcano underneath Yellowstone in the USA is showing signs of restlessness and it’s a bigger threat to civilisation than Love Island.

Unfortunately however, British politics have been mired in a silly season for quite some time, with no indication that things are going to get bettter any time soon. What passes for serious politics these days is a toe-curling speech about food exports from Trade Secretary Liz Truss, during which she kept pausing for the applause that never came, and claimed that it was a disgrace that people in the UK eat so much foreign cheese.

We’ve now reached the point where expectations are so low that if there are three tins of carrots left on an otherwise empty supermarket shelf after October 31, Liz Truss will gleefully point out that all the remainer scare stories were exaggerated, even as car plants close down and thousands of jobs are lost. And if by some miracle Brexit can be avoided, Liz will only claim it’s all the fault of the foreign cheese eating surrender monkeys.

READ MORE: SNP figures speak out on Scottish Independence poll

Over the weekend, The National reported that the Conservative think tank Policy Exchange had come up with some proposals to save the Union that could have appeared quite comfortably in a Liz Truss speech. The UK can be saved from those dastardly separatists by, amongst other things, making Armistice Day a bank holiday, showing more sports on the telly, and putting county symbols on car licence plates. These proposals follow on from the recent plans for the beefed up Scotland Office to rebrand itself as the Ministry for Putting Union Flags on Things and for the Scotland Secretary to give up any pretence that he was ever supposed to be Scotland’s voice in the UK Government and instead to devote himself to the production of propaganda.

Although let’s be honest here, if Alister Jack is your front man, you’ve probably lost the charisma war.

What all these proposals from Conservatives have in common is their refusal to recognise that there is anything structurally or institutionally awry with the UK, it’s all just a matter of presentation.

Scotland can be reconciled to Brexit and the undermining of the devolution settlement by waving more British flags and having more fitba and cricket on the telly. It’s bread and circuses, only without the bread, which is appropriate for a government led by clowns. Their problem however is that it doesn’t matter if you give your clown car a lovely new Union Flag themed paint job, it’s still a clown car.

Recently there have been many anecdotal reports that there’s a shift in Scottish opinion going on. People who were nailed on No voters in 2014 are now thinking that independence may be a better option than remaining a part of a Brexit Britain led by Boris Johnson and his acolytes. These anecdotes were resoundingly confirmed on Monday with the publication of a poll which showed a majority in Scotland now back independence, 52% once the don’t knows are removed.

The National: Prime Minister Boris Johnson

This poll endorses the growing sense of expectation, and the feeling that the tides were starting to flow in favour of independence, which has characterised the Yes movement of late. Opponents of independence clearly sensed it too, that’s why lies behind the Policy Exchange report, and the shift in emphasis in the Scotland Office. No matter how vocally they would try to deny it, the Conservatives know, deep down, that they’ve broken the Union.

Now that a poll, from the Conservatives’ own Michael Ashcroft no less, has confirmed that Brexit and Boris Johnson have brought about a majority support in Scotland for independence, we can expect nothing less than full-on panic from the British nationalists.

READ MORE: Scottish Independence support is growing before starting gun

What is striking about the recent slew of reports from those who are reconsidering their previous opposition to Scottish independence is that they are not rethinking their position because of the appeal of a positive case for Yes. They are being driven to independence because of the failure of the British political establishment to keep the promises it made to Scotland in 2014.

They’re changing their minds because it’s now evident that the UK which we have actually been delivered is not the UK which was sold to us in 2014.

They were told that it was only by voting no that Scotland could remain a part of the EU. They were told that by voting no Scotland would enjoy better, stronger, and safer devolution. They were told that by voting no Scotland would benefit from the closest thing possible to federalism. They were told that by voting no Scotland would be able to lead within the UK and be an equal partner in a family of nations.

And they were told that by voting no Scotland would continue to be a part of a UK that punches above its weight at the international level.

All those promises have turned to dust, crushed under the weight of Brexit and the English nationalism which drove it. Scotland has discovered that it has no voice or influence at all in determining the shape of Brexit.

These voters are not going to return to their previous support for the UK because the British Government suddenly starts waving more flags or makes Armistice Day a public holiday. The only way in which the British Government can get that support back is by making serious and substantial accommodations to Scottish interests, accommodations which it clearly has no intention of making. Tory party members would prefer to see Brexit completed, even at the price of Scottish independence. Boris Johnson knows where his political priorities lie, and it’s not with listening to Scotland.

It might be the silly season for the press, but for the independence movement this summer is a summer of opportunity. People who had never previously considered supporting independence are now doing so, because they are so disenchanted with the UK.

In order to ensure that those voters become nailed on supporters of independence, we need to engage them in conversations, to answer their questions about independence, to put their fears and doubts to rest. This time we’re going into an official independence campaign with the tide on our side. We must get our ship in order.