THE closer you get to Abingdon Green – a nondescript patch of grass just across from the House of Lords – the more the grim farce of Westminster politics becomes tangible. Currently, it’s a nightmare of churned-up mud. So everyone here, to some degree, is befouled.

Tall Tory ministers stride about as if this were a mere blip in their busy corporate schedule. Mike Gapes, debenched MP for Labour, and now the inert Change UK, slowly and corpulently wanders around in front of me. Various TV anchor folk glitter from on high, swaying in their scaffolded media towers.

Yet all of them, every one, is spattered with dirt, one way or another. Seems appropriate.

My talking heid slot was on Sky News; I’m next to the gimlet-eyed Adam Boulton and the bustling Claire Fox, a Brexit Party MEP. I’ve known Claire for many years. As usual, she is heading towards some ideological destination which is not quite the one she currently appears to be on.

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We are preceded by a video vox pop with a sole-trading florist from Bolsover, the seat in which veteran leftist Dennis Skinner has just been replaced by a Tory. “This is about us reminding them who pays their wages,” the florist confidently tells the reporter. “Three years to wait till Brexit gets done! Ridiculous.”

My line is that this is at least the fourth mandate for an indyref2 – one that would give us the opportunity to remove Scotland from Brexit. If we get a fifth in 2021, I ask, and still no response, then what does a democratic mandate even mean any more?

But Claire pounces on the Bolsover florist. This is where politics is really happening, she insists: “You can’t talk about the working class if you don’t listen to them when they actually speak.”

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Are the working classes of Scotland, and the UK, speaking the same messages? The extremely pleasing number of 48 SNP MPs returned clearly involved an element of anti-Tory (and maybe explicitly anti-Boris) tactical voting.

We’ve been a bit prideful about our capacity to do this. No doubt the first and second options of our additional member voting system have trained Scots well. We can cope with the dissonance of not quite voting for our tribe if it’s for good pragmatic reasons.

But haven’t millions of northern and Midlands Labour Leave voters “lent” their votes to the Conservatives, just as a range of Remain-oriented Scots lent theirs to the SNP? And consider this: after three years in constant debate, might not English Leavers also be aflame with their own form of “constitutional/democratic” self-awareness?

Not for the first time, I found myself musing on live telly about the philosophical power of the famous Brexit slogan “take back control” (which don’t forget started out as “take control”, in Dominic Cummings’ office). What makes one form of national self-determination pure and progressive, and another grimy and regressive?

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Some Scottish nationalists have a speedy answer to that. The admirable (and indy-friendly) Paul Mason told a cautionary story, in his immediate post-election explainer.

“I expected Labour to lose but not this badly”, Mason wrote. “Given Corbyn’s unpopularity and the newness of Johnson it was always going to be an uphill struggle. The shocking thing is that, almost without a machine or any campaigners, the Tories took historic Labour towns, because the vibe was on their side.”

That vibe was best summed up by a man who approached Mason in the high street of Leigh, where he grew up. “I’m not allowed to say what I want … ” the man began. Mason and friends coaxed it out of him: “I want Boris Johnson to send people round to the homes of every Romanian and throw them and their kids in the back of a van, lock the door and drive them to Dover.”

Scottish popular attitudes to immigration, when discretely polled, are not amazingly cleverer than this. But the indy leadership’s liberal, inclusive and open mentality cannot be shaken (thank God). The desire to “take control” of Scotland is not allowed to slip into “taking control back” from haughty Eurocrats or sponging foreigners/others. We are lucky to have such narrators from the front.

So does this excellent electoral advance mean that the SNP will be able to return to their “continuity” argument for independence? That is: let us fight for the freedom to remain in accord with the “acquis communitaire”, alongside the island of Ireland, in an outer ring of civilised EU-ness, protected from the deregulated hellhole below us?

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Haud on. That Eurotopia really won’t work anymore. After years of Eurosceptic acid rain from London’s politics and media, I’m sure the SNP leadership don’t think we’re a nation of Erasmus scholars-in-waiting.

So while 80s/90s types like me will still exult about a Scotland “independent in Europe”,

I nowadays think that an indy Scotland “friendly, co-operative and proximate to Europe” should also be one of our options (Efta – European Free Trade Association – status, as its known). And that the plausibility of sterlingisation and separate currency should be properly and publicly debated.

But that’s the planning and prospectus that the indy movement can control, if we ever get into an indyref2 situation (and good to see the Scot Government will next week lay out its plans for the transfer of powers required for this).

What about the coming moves from the decisive, unscrupulous, fact-free regime that Scotland now faces? Which we can’t control?

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I entirely agree with Jamie Maxwell, the brilliant critical heir of the late Stephen Maxwell, when he tweets that: “The worst thing SNP leaders could do is bank on the inherent reasonableness of the British state. They need to apply maximum political pressure over the next 18 months, at Holyrood, in the House of Commons, and – yes – on the streets. And the pressure needs to be relentless.”

The Tories won the election by deploying the latest political technologies – simple three-word messages sprayed at identified and susceptible voters in a firehose of different, funny, visceral ways, none of them that concerned with “facts” or “spending plans”. (I knew Corbyn’s Labour had no chance when they started waving about grey books, or folders of redacted documents. As if verifiable truth was really the way political power is operating at the moment).

What’s the SNP version? “Choose Your Future”? (Hmm. I’m glad this isn’t my job.) I have no doubt that the windowless rooms that Dominic Cummings tends to inhabit are already dreaming up their counter-messages: “Let’s Stay Together”, “Britain Won’t Break” etc.

But I think they’ll move fast on more than the messaging. The question is whether Johnson’s oleaginous pragmatism will hit the brick wall of residual British imperialism (“of course we can’t lose Scotland” etc). Or whether it will ooze around it, even through its cracks.

“More powers” is the usual bauble dangled by the British state. But what about a “Velvet Divorce”, similar to the Czech Republic and Slovakia in the early 90s. No referendum required – essentially a business deal offered (except with some judicious redrawing of the coastal borders)?

This is part of that prospect, as I hinted last week, that we may well figure in Boris’s plans for a post-United-Kingdom. Call it “Brengland” – in which the meddlesome Scots are shucked off, and a permanent Tory majority rules. They inherit the existing range of symbolisms, flag markings and post-imperial neuroses.

I’m not saying that these scenarios will happen – but that we should be ready for them. I’m presuming that the Catalan situation is distasteful to everyone. But I think we should also be ready to face a radical and disruptive UK Government, which will easily and readily use strategies of division and polarisation to shore up its power.

This is hardball politics – and it isn’t quite my gig, these days. Looking at the sallow, baggy-eyed, mud-caked denizens of Westminster, squidging gingerly around Abingdon Green, I was reconfirmed in that.

But it’s good to get back to a political community which you find coherent and positive. And you can have enough news of the sky falling down around you, for one day.