‘ACHIEVEMENT of these aims will require unprecedented levels of support and compliance from the whole population. The virus has not been eradicated.”

These lines leapt out at me from the Scottish Government’s coronavirus framework for decision-making, launched on Thursday. The stated aims were to “control transmission of the virus” and to “minimise broader health, economic and societal harm”. That’s every good country’s intent.

Yet it’s these “unprecedented levels of support and compliance” that intrigue me. The “new normal” sketched out by the FM is a Scottish society which will be planned from the top – plans guided by an executive informed through data scans and medical expertise.

We are being asked to agree to our lives being controlled like a DJ’s mixing desk. The faders go up on school attendance and some construction work; the faders go down on sporting, hospitality and entertainment crowds. And all of these change dynamically, week by month.

Different channels on the desk separate the vulnerable, the infected, the immune, the economically functional. And Scottish Government ministers are the trusted producers, orchestrating a collective slow groove, scanning the dance floor carefully.

I know: that’s a too cute way of putting it. Other views might be somewhat grouchier. Are we watching a Scottish Government with centralising, patronising (or maybe even matronising) tendencies being granted even more opportunities to direct our daily affairs?

Yet faced with such biological disorder, and the human unravelling and estrangement it causes, you might ask: how could any national authority act in any other way? If the first duty of a polity is to “minimise harm” to its citizens, how should it best execute that duty?

This is an acute question for the independence movement. Could anyone have foreseen that our arguments for territorial sovereignty could come to fruition when essential freedoms were being curtailed, rather than asserted?

Read the Scottish framework paper closely and you’ll see glimpses of the kind of techno-monitoring that gives us mild shivers when we hear about it in South Korea or China. (We’re told that contact tracing of the infected will “involve digital tools and require active support from the public”.) To be sure, the paper contains many – and welcome – declarations of compassion, inclusion, and sensitivity to human rights.

READ MORE: Why independent Scotland could lead the world in reframing how we live

But history doesn’t deal its cards straight. Turns out that a “Team Scotland” corporatism, and the habitual respectfulness of Scots towards legitimate authority, might well be survival assets in the pandemic. We slowly lower our Tom Nairn and Stephen Maxwell books, as we affix that bloody foam mask again on the way to Scotmid.

But I devoured a useful book this week, which asks awkward questions – and draws difficult conclusions – about the relationship between civic nationalism and environmental crises. “Behaving well for the future of Scotland” is a rotten slogan, and makes my skin crawl. But a certain element of it may be a real asset in our battle against climate breakdown.

Anatol Lieven’s Climate Change And The Nation State: The Realist Case makes one clear point. In order to decarbonise our societies as a response to global warming, we will have to accept limitations to our lifestyles in the present, so that future generations will benefit.

Are we particularly good at “supporting and complying” with such privations (as the framework paper puts it), for the sake of those beyond our immediate interests? Not notably, says Lieven – and especially not in modern Western societies. Here, deep family ties or religious commitments are on the wane. A frantic consumerism keeps us plugged into an “eternal present”.

For Lieven, the only viable creed that can “inspire” populations to make “collective sacrifices” to those not yet born – the core request of ecopolitics – is nationalism. As he quotes academic Yael Tamir: “Nationalism endows the state with intimate feelings linking the past, the present and the future. The fact that individuals feel that they are part of a continuous entity induces in them mutual responsibilities, and invigorates the will jointly to pursue common ends.”

Or as greens might say, “the world is not given to us by our parents, but borrowed by us from our children.”

The National: Climate change protest

Yet before you plug all this into your activism, there are a few “haud on” moments in Lieven’s book.

He despises green politicians who condemn nation states, and dream of global consensus (particularly as intergovernmental climate summits regularly drive themselves into the wall). However, and uncomfortably for his thesis, the Scottish Green Party’s commitment to Scottish nation-state independence is pretty robust – although not noticeably nationalist.

Lieven’s other angst is that blue-collar voters feel alienated from climate politics, at a time when they need to be urgently enlisted to its cause. For him, one solution to that is a strong version of the “Green New Deal” proposed by Corbyn and Sanders in their recent campaigns.

READ MORE: We must balance actual and digital realms during coronavirus lockdown

This is even more relevant as we face the economic carnage of the coronavirus, and decide what projects our public investments should support. The Scottish Government document hints that they’re ready for these investments to be radical: “When things come apart, there is always the opportunity to put them back together differently”.

Yet Scotland may be lucky that it’s not in a position to enact Lieven’s other appeal to the working class. He wants khaki-clad military engineers, supported by a national draft, to lead these green reconstruction efforts.

This is about strongly connecting climate change to the sentiment of defending and strengthening the nation against threats. A tactic for Trumpland, maybe. But in a country where Trident cancellation still gets cheered to the rafters at SNP conferences, perhaps not so pertinent.

The other alarming solution that Lieven’s version of green nationalism implies is stronger immigration controls. This is a sop to Brexitry, where “taking back control” is allowed to drift towards “taking back control of our green and pleasant land”. Yet the climate/immigration story for nations like Scotland has to be considerably different.

Yes, the desertification of North Africa and Southern Europe (and the obliteration of other bread-baskets in the Southern Hemisphere) will generate a massive, multi-million-strong flow of migrants. Let’s also presume that a damp and dreich Scotland will become the new paradise for many.

Yet we also know we are in a sharp population decline which threatens the staffing of our public services. So the challenge for Scottish political leadership is to narrate ourselves to the world as a more open nation than others, rather than reassure our working class that we’re defending them against the wretched of the earth.

(And in any case, sociologically, the Scottish workforce is hardly ethnically homogenous. The whole wide world is already safely inside these perimeters: operating respiratory equipment, selling you local groceries, defending you in court … ) All of this, reassuringly, reminds us that there are strong Scottish traditions of liberalism, pluralism and progressivism. Ones that may, at least, put a limit on the “will to control and monitor” that coronavirus seems to trigger in the average national administration.

And if what’s coming is a “new normal”, let’s be vigilant about who gets to define “normality”. A futurist friend of mine, Superflux’s Anab Jain, coined the phrase “the New Normal” about eight years ago.

For her, speculating about the “raw weirdness of our times opened up an array of possibilities”. When she did her future-design exercises in 2012, Anab’s hope was that making an “emotional connection to the unknown” would help us “innovate in a way that is meaningful and desirable”.

Jain’s interest in contagion, climate and collapse might be useful reading (if it isn’t already) to Scottish Government policy people. They’re already asking in this paper whether citizens and politicians can together find “innovative and inspiring ways to recover”.

But this implies “Teem, Scotland” as much as “Team Scotland”. We must try to keep our minds and sympathies open and fizzing, even as this Gaian warning-shot scatters us inside and outside our streets and homes.

This virus may be “eradicated” – but there will be others. So let’s make sure when they arrive, they only enliven our civic imagination.

Climate Change And The Nation State: The Realist Case, by Anatol Lieven, is on Allen Lane (£20)