IT was good to find that for once this column is, at least on some important points, in complete agreement with the First Minister. So much was revealed by her view of “a different and better future for Scotland” in her speech last Friday on the cusp of Brexit.

Nicola Sturgeon said: “To achieve independence, a referendum, whenever it happens – whether it is this year as I want, or after the next Scottish election – must be legal and legitimate. That is a simple fact. It must demonstrate clearly that there is majority support for independence. And its legality must be beyond doubt. Otherwise the outcome, even if successful, would not be recognised by other countries.”

The conclusion rests on the same sort of survey of the present situation as I had carried out in my column two weeks before.

I too came to the view that, as things stand, indyref2 “cannot be carried out in a legal and constitutional manner”, at least if we want it also to have immediate political force and to be directly applicable to our actual governance.

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Nicola went on to state that the best way to achieve the desired legal and constitutional outcome “is to reach agreement with UK Government on a transfer of power to the Scottish Parliament, just as we did for 2014”.

I in my turn had specified “an exact rerun of the procedure in 2014: Section 30 order soon, referendum to follow, both sides to be bound by the result. This procedure requires the acquiescence of the UK Government,” I added helpfully.

The First Minister said she had not entirely ruled out a do-it-yourself (or, as she called it, a “wildcat”) referendum, though she felt sure the right time for such a venture was yet to come. Unionists would in any event mount a legal challenge, and a verdict favourable to Nationalists could not be guaranteed.

Judges of the case would necessarily look at it in the light of the primary legislation, the Scotland Act 1998. This states in no uncertain terms, at schedule 5: “The following aspects of the constitution are reserved matters, that is (a) the Crown, including succession to the Crown and a regency, (b) the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England”.

The Act is, in our flawed and imperfect system of devolution, the nearest thing we have to a constitution for Scotland. As such, it overrides all other measures that might be taken at a lower level of government, including Acts of the Scottish Parliament. I fail to see how a wildcat referendum could be compatible with it. I think Nicola fails to see that too.

This is why she does not want to test the issue. The chances of success are far outweighed by the chances of failure. It could set back the cause of independence a long way, just as happened with a similar gamble in Catalonia in 2017. The gamble was not, and is not, worth the stake.

So what do we do then, with a majority for independence at Holyrood and among Scots MPs at Westminster, and with the opinion polls indicating post-Brexit support up from 45% to just over 50%?

It is a democratic outrage that the UK constitution allows this to be ignored. But it also happens to be a political reality. Impulse is seldom a virtue in statesmen or stateswomen. The First Minister’s essential answer is to prepare, but to wait. This column supports her. Hasty critics should note well how far the position is from a Unionist one.

Still, that’s enough for today of being nice to Nicola. She remains short of sound ideas, being in her practical economics still largely stuck in the Old Labour postures of the 1970s, as is general among the leading cadres of the SNP.

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Opposition to Brexit may have carried them up to the 50% threshold but will fade as an influence on events from here on in, simply because we will not be arguing about it every day.

And austerity – who is now interested in austerity? Not Boris Johnston, ready in an imminent budget to splurge fabulous sums on projects which, whether of any use or not, are above all visible: HS2, an £80 billion fund for infrastructure north of the “red wall”, maybe even a bridge across the sea from Galloway to Ulster.

In Scottish parlance the words Tory and austerity have become inseparable, but the link may soon need to survive a love-bombing.

Recently I wrote how Scotland anyway required a new narrative to cope with huge changes in our political landscape. Up to now I see precious little sign of one. If I ask in particular how we push on beyond 50% so as to approach a safe majority for independence – the 60% that is the First Minister’s ideal – the silence just comes surging back.

As ever I can oblige with suggestions. I see two main answers to the dilemma. One, as espoused by many SNP activists, is just to shout louder. If we march enough, sing enough, mouth slogans enough, brandish banners enough, then somehow, one of these days, a sufficient majority of Scots will be converted to the cause of independence.

I’m not sure if Nicola really belongs to this tendency – she is not, after all, a noisy person. Yet it does suit her for the troops to keep up their spirits in these boisterous ways while we wait for better times.

The second answer is to seek some closer compromise with those sections of Scottish society that have not yet reached the point of conversion, though Brexit may have pushed them in the right direction.

I had lunch the other day with an old friend who built up his own business and has now sold it to a German competitor: he can look forward to a comfortable retirement. He told me he was dying for indyref2, so he could again vote Yes. But meanwhile he would not support the SNP in its existing degree of economic illiteracy.

There are many voters like him and me who will never again support the Scottish Tories because they have been insane enough to turn themselves into an unpatriotic party.

But there is a much bigger section of the electorate who remain, in a broader and wiser sense, conservatives – Scotland is not a country seething with barely repressed revolutionary fervour.

I would say the appeal to them of conservatism lies not just in the patriotic aspect but also in its promise that government will leave them alone.

Thousands and thousands of people will always vote for this because it represents a quieter life, quieter anyway than a life of marches and songs, slogans and banners.

I would add that it chimes with the internet age too – the fact the younger generation have their own voice, and don’t like being told what to do, or who to be. Looking for an indyref2 consensus, I would start here.

Mired in the 20th century, the SNP may yet miss the boat of the 21st because telling people what to do is exactly, under the present leadership, what it loves best.

We all have to be cajoled into political correctness, and into an economy of intervention or regulation.

The Scottish Government even likes to poke its nose, with wrinkled nostrils, into our home lives.

And I thought Scotland was supposed to be a nation of individualists.