I WOULD suggest I’m someone with my finger fairly firmly on the pulse when it comes to how the SNP works, both at grassroots and at leadership level – how we campaign, how we talk amongst ourselves and how we speak to the public at large.

I’ve been an activist, I’ve been a branch officer, I’ve worked in a constituency office, I’ve headed up the party’s press and research operation at Holyrood. I’ve worked at Westminster, I’ve been a candidate, I’ve helped shape and run national election campaigns, I’ve plugged the SNP’s manifesto and defended us in the face of criticism live on air. I’ve debated Scotland’s constitutional future on stage and on doorsteps, I’ve worked closely with councillors, MPs, MEPs, MSPs, ministers, Cabinet secretaries, our former First Minister and our current one.

Over the past few months a fair amount of my time has been spent putting minds at ease in discussions with ordinary party members over “divisions” within our own ranks and the wider independence movement.

Mostly these conversations are underpinned by a genuine worry that we could squander hard-won gains that have taken us to the brink of independence.

This week a fifth poll on the trot, the latest from Business for Scotland, shows a solid Yes majority is the sustained and established position among voters. The timing, on the face of it, could not be worse for digging trenches ahead of the SNP’s much-vaunted civil war.

But that’s the thing. These so-called deep divisions in the movement that will apparently be our downfall have been the talk of the steamie since at least early 2017. Thus far they’ve amounted to nothing. I strongly suspect they won’t ever. Indeed, why should they.

In part, I think they are phoney or phantom arguments being stirred by forces who might wish for the independence movement to crash and burn, or those who for whatever reason relish a rammy.

I also believe some of the heat is fuelled by ignorant or oversimplified analysis. It’s easy enough to characterise differences of approach or opinion as Salmond v Sturgeon, slow-and-steady vs UDI now, Cherry v Robertson, or any other lens which fits the eye. That might be the perception that suits the commentariat, most of the usual suspects in the press have written a variation on this theme over the previous months, but it’s not the reality. It’s not just gospel that is written in ink.

It is possible, would you believe it, to acknowledge that Alex Salmond was an incredible force who took us to the brink of independence but it will be Nicola Sturgeon who will take us over the line. You can simultaneously think that Joanna Cherry is a brilliant politician who led the charge in the most remarkable case since the inception of the UK Supreme Court but also think that Angus Robertson would make a formidable MSP. You can be frustrated that we haven’t succeeded in securing independence yesterday but also appreciate there is a patient game of constitutional chess to be played in the months ahead. Heck, despite what depressing discourse on Twitter would have you believe, you can even agree that outdated legislation governing the recognition of gender needs reformed and concurrently speak up for the advancement of women’s rights and protection of safe spaces. None of these things are mutually exclusive.

Autopoiesis is a concept in biology describing systems which reproduce themselves from within themselves. Literally, it means self-creation. This notion of an entity sustaining itself, by itself, might easily be applied to the never-ending carousel of newspaper columns which predict the SNP’s internecine undoing before long.

Kirsty Wark was the latest to fall into the trap. The documentary that she clearly wanted to make was about Alex Salmond being thrown in jail. The one that ultimately aired this week focused on rumours, tribalism and conjecture. It made for poor television on that basis alone.

But as hard as these voices might will something to be, they needn’t become self-fulfilling prophecies. The irony is not lost on me as I write this in a weekly newspaper column, but readers can be more discerning than to live up to the hype of weekly newspaper columnists.

Cutting out that white noise, and respectfully agreeing to disagree on certain issues, is the way forward for the SNP and for independence.

Regrouping and refocusing will be vital for the big fights we face in the very near term, and they are significant battles indeed.

Tory proposals for a UK internal market regime are incompatible with devolution and present the biggest threat to devolution since 1999. They will undermine policy choices on a range of matters, including our environment, public health and social protections. We can unite our national parliament against such moves.

In just four months time, we drop off the Brexit cliff-edge by default. The damage that will inflict upon an economy already ravaged by a global pandemic is unthinkable. There is no good reason to have confidence in the UK securing a favourable deal given the experience of the past four years, and so the campaign must start in earnest for Scotland to find our way home to the heart of Europe.

And crucially, while current support for independence is cause for optimism, we don’t secure our future by putting our feet up. Despite the polls I would still have some trepidation if Scotland went to the polls tomorrow. Polls closer to 60% would keep those butterflies at bay. There is still much work to do and many switherers to be convinced.

I’m bored of the prophets of doom and the fatalistic Greek tragedians who hold to the belief our hopeful cause must inevitably unravel on the eve of achieving great things, like a Scottish football team at a World Cup final.

I’m up for the fight for Scotland’s future and realising our potential as an independent country.

I have no wish to fall out with anyone who shares that ambition, and I won’t be told otherwise.

Who’s with me?