A SMALL report today, from the other side of the General Election spectacle. One benefit of being under “n” for “Nat” in metropolitan iPhones, as well as having one foot partly stationed in London, is that you get invited to do TV punditry at election time.

Life being short, and experience being its own reward, I always say yes.

I’m a 55-year old kid of the TV age. I don’t care what algorithms and troll farms are squirting what memes at what micro-publics on social media. I have a nostalgia for the bloke/amazon in a suit, staring sternly down the camera, orchestrating the talking heads.

In an age where giant artificial intelligences hum away behind our backs, counting our clicks and calculating our next five emotional responses, it’s quite thrilling to sit on live television, and for a few blessed minutes be in control of your own mind and words.

I have my appointed role to play, of course. By the time you read this, I’ll have done my third Friday in four weeks on Sky News’s The Campaign Show at 9pm. I have been invited to join a “pool of pundits” by the show’s producer Andrew McFadyen, with whom I have been having an intelligent debate about independence since he was working at Al Jazeera (Andrew has a PhD in politics from Edinburgh University, so the debates don’t last long).

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I’m an odd indy advocate at the moment (having been at it since 1988). Watching ideological Terminators like Owen Jones (or for that matter, Nicola Sturgeon) leaves me in a state of nervous exhaustion.

At this stage in the long game, and especially after the climax and burn-out of 2012-2014, I’m pretty philosophical about indy. I look around Scotland and I see riches galore – human, cultural, scientific, entrepreneurial, communal, never mind our bounties of landscape and renewable resource. And a parliament beautiful and dignified in two respects – both the building itself, and its decent record of cross-party administrations, trying to progress and innovate with the powers they have accreted.

Yes, there’s still a worried 20% of Scots, waiting to be convinced that full indy is the best framework to develop all this extraordinary potential. But I can’t get angry at them any more. If they get a chance to vote for it again, and say No again, then I’ll be happy to get on with the remainder of my life, freed from that particular dream (there are others available, you know).

Either there is enough hydrogen in the tank to cross the line into a Scottish nation-state, after this long and historically tortuous semi-existence, and with all the environmental and technological urgencies facing us. Or there isn’t.

So I take my seat at the pundits’ table, simply deciding to believe that the former is solidly and incontrovertibly true. The rest is practicalities, what policy wonks are made for. Gimme what you got.

What I get, truth be told, is nothing but pleasant and respectful interest. My experience of the metropolitan media is that, in essence, they still don’t quite understand why Scotland isn’t already independent, so essentially distinctive are its politics and politicians.

In fact, after Brexit, I’d say this attitude has intensified. If the good yeomen of England and Wales could throw off the Eurocrats’ yoke, under a barrage of David Cameron’s latest version of Project Fear, then what exactly is keeping the Scots?

The National:

My first Sky election special found me sitting on a panel, at the heart of Westminster’s media centre Milbank, with a majority of Scots on it (which could be a kind of answer to the previous question).

Though it gets even weirder. Ayesha Hazarika, Ed Miliband’s former adviser, comedian and diary editor for the George Osborne-edited Evening Standard, is not only from my own home town of Coatbridge, but was home-delivered by my late midwife mum. We occasionally smile at each other across the big circular table, wondering how we got here.

In fact, Ayesha has been here since she was 16, working as a temp in the Department of Agriculture, recalling hilariously how she covered for her boozy, negligent masters. In the pub afterwards, I recognise her as someone who is genuinely interested in policy that works for the majority of people. She’s inching towards the radicalism of the current CorbLab manifesto, away from her Blair-Brown past.

The National:

But on air? Ayesha was incandescent with fury at what she sees as Corbyn’s welcome for, or at least tolerance of, antisemitism in “her” party. I gently reminded the panel of how the Labour Party had adopted, in full, the tough definitions of antisemitism laid down by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

“You’re saying there’s no abuse?” retorted Ayesha. Then followed a catalogue of incidents of prejudice from both major parties, delivered with trembling intensity.

I partly do these shows to sample what the political classes are feeling. And I felt sorry for Ayesha – subject to dog’s abuse online from every angle, and feeling evicted from a party now showing the policy ambition that people, in her era, had to keep quiet about.

With the non-Labour panellists, I’ve been lucky so far: no swivel-eyed Brexiteers (or Remainers). Kulveer Ranger, a calm and collected British Sikh, and Nina Schick, a Nepalese-Swiss geopolitical adviser, had both worked for Boris Johnson in one of his terms of office (Kulveer in particular was proud of helping to launch the Oyster travelcard; Nina was also involved in both Macron’s campaign and Open Europe).

Again, both exemplified that metro-assumption about Scotland: “what, you’re not independent yet?” This seems to have been the effect, specifically, of Nicola Sturgeon’s executive performances in UK media. Going by the responses of these slick professionals, she couldn’t have more respect or approbation.

YET these centrist, liberal pragmatists, eminently employed in the service of Johnson, made me wonder whether the Bumbler-in-Chief will quite be the libertarian monster people (including me) have imagined. It could be worse than that: he may just trim and reverse any previously held positions, to keep his own grandiloquent show on the road.

The National:

Can I imagine BoJo the PM offering up a shabby, crabbed indy deal to Scotland – scandalising his Unionists, but thereby bolting in a perma-Tory majority in England and Wales? Observing how many notes these former advisers were taking from my downloads, it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility.

My gig earlier this week was a return to the Jeremy Vine show – 90 leisurely minutes of punditry and phone-in, where Vine leaps about the polarities of any issue with what seems to me a genuine curiosity and liberal spirit. I got three of my favourite talking points out, with enough time to do so, and mostly familiar to readers here.

This was the absurdity of “button-pushing” talk about Trident, the primacy of non-proliferation, and Scotland’s moral role in that; my old chestnut about how “indy will be good for English identity and governance”; and even a chance to talk about why the child-and-play-friendly city will be good for all its denizens, young and old.

I did meet my first genuine Tory bruiser, Daily Express columnist Carole Malone, who nevertheless charmed me with tales of her Glaswegian mum’s favourite ice-cream shops in Dumbarton Road. But I also met one of the brightest Corbynistas yet – the poet, presenter and businesswoman Salma El-Wardany. We tag-teamed each other on left-green sentiments all morning, and shared fist-bumps on Twitter afterwards.

So this is my take on a few days strolling through the broadcast media talk-spaces of the UK General Election, at the heart of the London establishment. I’m not here as a party member, yet I still have strong convictions for Scottish independence, and for progressive policies on these islands.

My strongest impression is not of a metropolitan elite that’s ignorant or indifferent to Scotland. They are, instead, wondering when we’re going to give them the news they’ve been expecting for a while. C’mon – shall we oblige them?