ON Friday morning I was told about some friends of a constituent who live in England but who are seriously planning to move to Scotland, with their families, should the Tories win on December 12.

Horrified by Johnson, alarmed at the rightward march of the Conservatives (whose manifesto was endorsed by Nigel Farage last weekend as containing “things I have campaigned for, for years”) and aghast at the prospect of such ill-thought-out and unattractive ideas being insensitively implemented if Brexit takes place they want somewhere better to live.

For them, Scotland seems like that place. Moreover, if they did move they would, they said, wish to actively support Scottish independence as the best option for their adopted home.

Immigration into Scotland from England is, of course, nothing new. My own grandfather made the journey in the early 1930s, moving from the outskirts of London to run a printing and publishing business in Edinburgh. Scotland, then and now, is not full up.

Indeed my constituency of Argyll and Bute is one of the most sparsely populated in the country and there is a wonderful lifestyle to be had here and right across our beautiful, hospitable land.

This St Andrew’s Day weekend will also demonstrate again the rich diversity of our culture and our welcoming and inclusive nature and our Parliament is giving practical effect to such things, as can be seen by the fact that that just three days ago it approved (with only the Tories dissenting) the first stage of a bill which will give the vote in Holyrood and local elections to anyone living here with a right to residency.

That is a further indication that we regard all our neighbours as fellow Jock Tamson’s bairns who must be able to participate fully in our collective choice of our national future.

Last weekend, out on the doorsteps in my own area, I met a man who had moved to Scotland half a dozen years ago. He had opposed Scottish independence and he would still, he said, be saddened if Scotland chose to leave the UK but he now understood what motivated such a desire. He could also see circumstances in which he might support it himself, given – once again – what he was seeing playing out nightly in the TV news, for even this former Leave voter thought that Brexit was now an unmitigated disaster, being pursued by people he did not like or trust.

The latest poll on independence suggests a dead heat if indyref2 was held tomorrow. The votes of what may be an increasing number of English people living in Scotland will therefore be significant when it happens and as background it is safe to say that whatever the outcome of the election south of the Border the inherent political instability in a failing Westminster system, of which Johnson is both example and cause, will not be mended any time soon – if at all.

In addition the attractions of renewed membership of the EU for Scotland will become more and more apparent as will the damage being done by a hard-line refusal by Brexiteers to consider any type of positive, close relationship with the EU.

There is a huge opportunity and a huge responsibility for the national movement in this situation. The opportunity is to go on creating, with enthusiasm, a society which is welcoming modern, tolerant, diverse and outward-looking – the type of society which many of our neighbours have brought into being but one very different from that which Boris Johnson wants to impose on us.

The responsibility is to ensure the benefits of that society accrue to everyone who chooses to live here regardless of where they have come from and that they are defended from encroachment by the UK Government, as part of what I expect will be an intensified undermining of devolution if the Tories are returned in 10 days time.

The old mantra used to be that if Scotland could see that it could run some of its own affairs well, then it would in time wish to run them all. Twenty years of our Parliament have proved the first point and we are moving on to the second. Doing so with the enthusiastic support of like-minded people who prefer our form of governance to that of our southern neighbour would enrich that experience, bless it with an even wider mix of skills and talents and make it all the more successful, at home and on the international stage.