SAFETY or interest? Most lives are a blend of the two. Political life is no different. So, Wings Over Scotland is perfectly entitled to ask if the balance within the independence movement is wrong and electoral safety has become the overriding priority for the SNP.

Of course, Stuart Campbell may be right about this but wrong about his proposed solution of creating a new party for the 2021 Scottish parliament elections. Instead, the Rev Stu’s disruptive announcement may serve the useful purpose of giving both the SNP and the Scottish Greens two well-timed and long overdue kicks up their respective backsides.

The Scottish Greens saw their membership quadruple after indyref and picked up list seats at Holyrood from pro-indy voters who realised the SNP would most likely not benefit from a second list vote.

Although their climate stance is obviously the Greens’ most distinctive policy, they’ve unquestionably benefited from this symbiotic relationship with the SNP. But where is the party’s own vision of independence – are they letting the bigger, better resourced SNP do all the running, whilst occasionally lobbing occasional tough questions at FMQs? It’s hard to know.

The party issued a press release in the wake of the Ashcroft poll which was resoundingly ignored in the ensuing media stampede. So far, so normal. But being ignored is pretty normal for the pro-indy left. Women for Indy and local Yes groups get no formal press coverage but work even harder on social media, organising street stalls, training activists, leafletting and travelling to AUOB marches.

I don’t see the same levels of activism by Scottish Green branches or any real attempt to connect with the wider Yes movement. Why not hire some 48-sheet billboards and punt the top-five Green independence ideas in each city? A party with 6000 members should be more active, should have won a Scottish seat at the European elections and should have more than 12% of members voting for new co-leaders.

That doesn’t mean the Greens are doing nowt, though. Kevin McKenna said in yesterday’s National; “[The Greens] have contributed precisely nothing of any note in the 20 years of Holyrood’s existence.”

C’mon, Kevin. Nicola’s climate emergency declaration was poached from the Greens. Local government services would be hundreds of millions of pounds poorer without their budgetary intervention.

READ MORE: Greens hit back at Kevin McKenna over Wings Party jibe

If the SNP had adopted their proposal of universal free home insulation, our fuel poverty and housing emission levels would be far better now, and if the SNP hadn’t voted with the Tories, Scotland would today have powerful laws to regulate short-term letting, control our grouse moors and lower the price of land for affordable housing.

But despite many of the right policies on land, the environment (and the smacking ban), the party has become inward-facing in the debate over gender recognition and uncommunicative with the wider Yes movement.

The Rev Stu’s announcement should kick the Greens wide awake. If not, there could be trouble ahead if they presume the second vote of all Yessers belongs exclusively to them.

The SNP has become extremely complacent after 12 years in office. Its leadership routinely excludes members, voters, supporters and even its own elected representatives from decision-making.

Is that necessary to keep independence on track? Well the jury’s out. On the one hand, “tight” control of every policy statement means the SNP has none of the shambolic rows afflicting Scottish Labour. At least not in public. But a feeling of exclusion, a lack of communication, endless waiting and a growing distance between the leadership and grassroots supporters are taking their toll. Not to mention dissatisfaction with the SNP’s inexplicably timid, domestic policy agenda. Still, most independence supporters try to reconcile themselves to the situation.

READ MORE: Transcript: BBC interviews Stuart Campbell on Wings Party plan

So, Nicola doesn’t come to AUOB marches? Whatever. Folk who’ve spent weeks arranging their own attendance and lengthy journeys notice her absence but gamely manage to put it to one side.

She’ll be busy. She’ll be nervous about appearing to endorse some of the speakers at rallies. She’ll be organising her own gigs soon. Really?

So, there’s no evidence of joint working with the wider Yes movement? Whatever. Subscribers to Common Weal notice no Scottish Government acknowledgement of their think tank – ever.

Green supporters presume there will be a joint press conference some day soon, The National newspaper hopes for the occasional exclusive story and SNP members still assume there will be a free, vigorous debate of independence strategy at the October party conference. Really?

Having to make excuses for the constant absence of a lofty, unresponsive leadership drains the batteries of belief. And it’s belief – not mountains of cash or influential friends – that lets hundreds of thousands of Scots remain in a challenging, occasionally rewarding but emotionally draining state of utterly impotent, semi-constant readiness. But who are we, the mere foot soldiers, to complain?

Who wants the responsibility and perhaps the life-long guilt of rocking the boat badly now, in the run-up to Brexit, even though it’s perfectly legitimate to demand respect and involvement in what comes next? Next to no-one in the party (Angus MacNeil and Chris McEleny excepted) or the country. So, step forward the tough-as-old-boots loner, Stuart Campbell.

The National: Wings Over Scotland author Stuart Campbell has urged the SNP to show more urgency on independenceWings Over Scotland author Stuart Campbell has urged the SNP to show more urgency on independence

Now the Rev is clearly not motivated by a desire to rectify any of the above-mentioned shortcomings in the Green or Scottish National parties. A kick in the arse is rarely administered by anyone with the recipient’s best interests at heart. But that doesn’t make their disruptive intervention any less valuable.

So never mind if you would vote for Stu. I wouldn’t. Notice how the two independence parties react.

The author and ideas-man behind the Wee Blue Book is sharp as a tack and forensic in a way many journalists are not. He is also o’er quick to personalise arguments, unreconstructed on gender and social issues and revels in causing offence. Quite how such a prickly chap will manage the delicate business of working with like-minded folk is hard to envisage.

But maybe they will be followers, not fellow travellers. Fa kens. A disruptor doesn’t need a full palette of policies – not yet. He just needs to be right about a few things.

And there’s no doubt the current state of worshipful waiting perpetuates the British style of politics we’re all trying to escape – the one singer, one song style of leadership, the top-down “democracy” and the “winner takes all” control of the shared independence project by the single largest party.

SO, could the Wings Party work? Being a thorn in the side of the establishment is one thing – becoming an elected member quite another. As Nigel Farage has found, it’s easier to duck, weave and disrupt the Westminster political process if you have no formal role in it. Puppies are not just for Christmas and political parties are not set up for stunts. Of course it’s tempting to play Farage’s dangerous, cynical game, but to date Scots have remained impressively immune from the blandishments of his single-issue populism.

The problem is that mainstream parties have taken that as endorsement.

It isnae.

I imagine folk will tolerate the SNP’s “talk to the hand” style of leadership till the proposed date of indyref2 in late 2020. If it hasn’t happened by the next Holyrood elections in 2021 – unless there’s a genuinely good reason or a jointly agreed strategy across the entire Yes movement – then all bets are off.

Of course, many will still vote SNP and retain party membership. But a significant number will start looking elsewhere – for fresh leadership on independence and for new political groupings that replace the defunct Labour Party and offer real challenge to the SNP from an independence-supporting perspective.

So, Stu won’t have the list to himself in 2021 – and there are pretty big political fish to fry first.

But if his bold act of self-promotion has shaken political leaders at Holyrood, that’s no bad thing.