IT’S been a flying start to 2020 across the independence movement. All Under One Banner’s march in Glasgow this weekend looks set to be the biggest demonstration ever held in Scotland – and whether the BBC and STV do or dinnae quite make it along again, international broadcasters have already indicated they will cover proceedings. Braw.

Meanwhile at Holyrood, yesterday’s near-unanimous rejection of the UK Government’s Withdrawal Bill by every political party except the Tories was a rare and significant moment of unity. As an extra detail, MSPs weren’t voting on the actual bill, since Westminster made it clear that Scottish debate is just a paper exercise that can make no difference to the final article. That’s what “legislative consent” means in British democratic parlance. So instead, in a gesture of constitutional contempt, parliamentarians debated and voted on a memorandum from the Scottish Government about the Withdrawal Bill. Perhaps an obscure way to raise two fingers to Westminster, but two fingers backed by Labour, LibDem and Green MSPs as well as the SNP. That matters because it lays the groundwork for joint working to protect the Scottish Parliament – an anti-Tory consensus that will be tested as soon as Boris Johnson’s power grab kicks in. Not a great situation for Scotland to be in, but an unusual, cross-party act of defiance.

READ MORE: MSPs vote to reject Boris Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement Bill

At Westminster, Ian Blackford has elevated party spokespeople, to something approaching their proper rank as shadow ministers. Of course, they aren’t technically Her Madge’s Opposition, but since the rudderless Labour Party is distracted by the search for a new leader and a Brexit/Europe policy until April at least (ditto the leaderless LibDems), the SNP is the nearest thing to an unofficial opposition – clear-sighted on reserved issues, bolstered with an increased majority and active, even hyperactive – in its members’ willingness to turn up, speak out and lead more hesitant colleagues in the continuing fight to ameliorate, if not halt, Brexit.

The National: Former LibDem leader Charles KennedyFormer LibDem leader Charles Kennedy

Charles Kennedy unilaterally renamed his frontbench team the “Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet” in 2006 and the UK Parliament’s website obediently started using the term. Jo Swinson (remember her?) had the temerity to keep describing her “top team” as shadow ministers, despite leading just the fourth party in British politics. So why shouldn’t the SNP take its top brass seriously enough to treat them as “ministers in waiting”. Hopefully, they won’t be waiting too long for a Scottish Government that finally controls all reserved issues.

READ MORE: Ian Blackford puts SNP on indyref2 footing with new-look team

Nae doot the presence of a Scots shadow cabinet at the heart of Westminster will greatly annoy cock-a-hoop Tories who cannot abide the sight of SNP MPs. No big downside there either.

Despite the numbers against them now, SNP MPs are not going down quietly. Yesterday, shadow home secretary Joanna Cherry hit the ground running, with a Commons bid to require consent from the devolved parliaments before the Withdrawal Bill becomes law, and to curb the Henry VIII powers which let Boris repeal or amend acts without taking them back to Parliament. Needless to say, her move was defeated. So too was the bid to limit Withdrawal Agreement powers that let UK ministers intervene in devolved policy areas. Shameful proposals undermining devolution are being enforced by a shameless British Government. At least Scottish MPs are fighting them with as much verve and eloquence this year as they did last.

READ MORE: Joanna Cherry: Protect child refugees or risk 'tragic consequences'

Meanwhile, the First Minister has been busy winning hearts and minds abroad. Yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon addressed an energy conference in Oslo on joint working by Norway and Scotland to achieve a speedy transition to a carbon-neutral economy. But most of her speech was spent laying out the credentials of Scotland as the kind of progressive place Nordic nations can do business. The First Minister promised that despite Brexit, “Scotland will continue to be an open, outward-looking nation” whatever our constitutional situation. She added that the best advert for independence is seeing how other small nations like Norway use their powers to play a constructive role in world affairs. Before the event she met CEOs of Norwegian companies with a strong presence in Scotland and afterwards met Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg.

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READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon meets Erna Solberg to discuss climate change

Not bad for a morning’s work.

We can expect the canny exercise of much more soft power like this by Scottish ministers and by MPs since regulations still permit travel to EU member states for meetings with fellow parliamentarians. Now that the Tories have a comfortable majority and wafer-thin votes are a thing of the past, SNP MPs could usefully be put on a rota to spend some time defending Scotland’s interests in London, but more time spreading influence in Europe and back home in constituencies, where MPs can be gathering ideas from business and communities about post-independence priorities and outlining the Scottish Government’s plans for each sector of the economy.

So far, so purposeful and energetic.

But there’s a big question.

Is this flurry of activity on the streets, in Holyrood and in Westminster backed up by a strategy to up the ante if – or when – the British Government exercises its newly acquired right to interfere in devolved matters or “retrieve” regulatory powers from the Scottish Parliament? Put bluntly, is there a fully fledged Referendum Bill ready to go before MSPs at the drop of a hat – complete with date, proposed question and campaign rules a la Edinburgh Agreement of 2012?

A Referendum Bill was passed in December last year, but it’s just the vehicle to carry the actual legislation that authorises indyref2. Of course, the UK Government will block any attempt by Holyrood to pass such detailed legislation. But the Scottish Government should be ready to pass the Bill straight to the Supreme Court so that judges can adjudicate on its legislative competence. That may not result in a win for the Scottish Government – but it will bring matters to a head democratically, as Nicola Sturgeon desires.

Does such a draft bill exist? Because if it doesn’t, it should do.

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Sooner or later Boris Johnson will throw down the gauntlet to the Scottish Parliament in an unequivocal and provocative way. Until that moment, it would indeed be unwise to escalate confrontation with Westminster to a point of no return. We need undecided Scots to be as convinced as they can be about the bad faith of Westminster and to reach their own conclusions about the wisdom of sitting on the constitutional fence any longer.

But once the power grab begins, it would be absolute folly for the Scottish Government not to bring matters to a head as quickly as possible.

All the parliamentary manoeuvring, street marches and increased international awareness of Scotland’s democratic dilemma will be wasted if the first clear threat to the Scottish Parliament’s authority doesn’t provoke an immediate legal challenge to Westminster’s untested claim that it alone has legal authority over the timing of indyref2.

Last year was busy for Yessers – 2020 is bound to be busier.