I’M not one for quoting long dead, beardy men but the logic of ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus was irrefutable when he said: “No man steps into the same river twice."

Let’s put aside the usual sexism and exclusion of women for the moment because the general principle is correct. Everything in the natural world is in perpetual of flux and nothing remains exactly the same even from one fleeting moment to another.

Politics is much the same. Since 2014, the river has become a swollen, turbulent torrent. We’ve had the demise of Scottish Labour; three more Tory Westminster general election victories delivered by English votes; the shock of Brexit; the rise to power of the erratic Boris Johnston and his sinister sidekick Dominic Cummings; the collapse of oil prices; mass worldwide youth protests against runaway global warming; and an almighty backlash against racist discrimination against black and ethnic minorities.

And last, but definitely not least, the coronavirus nightmare.

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We cannot just resume where we left off after the last referendum because we now live in a different world. Back then we were told, by Alistair Darling and a multitude of others that an independent Scotland would have a £10 billion deficit and that civilisation would come tumbling down. It was pure fearmongering because pronouncing the finances of a state that does not exist is like declaring the winner of next year’s Eurovision song contest.

Even if that figure were credible it would be a drop in the ocean compared to the £300bn hole in the UK’s finances – and that’s before we even know the full the extent of the Brexit economic damage.

Yes, no-one could have predicted the epidemic – but the sheer scale of the economic damage demonstrates the folly of the economic astrology we’ve been subjected to this week following the publication of the GERS report.

It also means that the electorate will not be the same as in 2014, when many people felt safe and secure, cautious about changing a comfortable status quo for them. Instead there will be massed ranks of stunned and newly impoverished workers – manual, white-collar, creative and professional, with nothing much left to lose.

Even now, there are folk who fell through the gaps in the government assistance schemes who are relying on community help and food banks to stave off hunger.

Some estimates suggest 900,000 Scots could end up losing their jobs. I know the sense of dread and insecurity because these past weeks I’ve been in the same boat myself.

We’ve all been severely affected by this epidemic: some of us have lost family and friends. Other have had their livelihoods snatched away, with all the damage that inflicts on our sense of self and place in the world. We are all rocking. I am taken back to when I left school in 1981 to join the queue that snaked all the way around the building of the local “buroo” as it is called by Glaswegians. Signing on and right to work marches were some of my formative experiences.

Before the pandemic, children were turning up at school hungry; food banks were proliferating; and many thousands of people, stigmatised as benefit “scroungers” were struggling to exist on a pittance. Unseen people were fighting with a bureaucratic online benefits application system, and being hounded for not “looking for work” 35 hours a week. To the more comfortable classes, they were almost invisible.

Now Radio 4 has people with doctorates describing the bureaucratic nightmare of applying for Universal Credit. So, in 2021, that river will be teeming with people whose outlook on life has been changed, fundamentally.

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Those whose mission in life is to preserve the United Kingdom are more worried than at any point since the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. People like George Galloway who has launched yet another new party – but this time with a bunch of far-right racist cranks.

Former STV journalist Stephen Daisley calling for a new Act of Union that would effectively prevent the people of Scotland ever again having a say over their own future. Michael Gove toying with the idea of turning a future referendum into an ethnic roll call of tartan-blooded Scots from all parts of the globe.

Their fear is absolutely justified. Polls are now consistently demonstrating growing support for independence. And the Scottish Government is now viewed across Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland and beyond as head and shoulders above the Westminster Government in term of confidence and decisive leadership. As deputy political editor of Sky News Sam Coates pointed out this week, Boris Johnson is being outflanked repeatedly by Nicola Sturgeon forcing him to perform almost daily U-turns for fear of diverging from Scotland and this undermining the Union. The tail is truly wagging the dog.

But as we approach the 2021 election, I hope we will have recovered enough from the trauma of 2020 to go back and retrieve something of the spirit of the 2014 campaign – a campaign, that whatever the white paper said, was electrified by the radical potential of an independent Scotland.

Former Labour strongholds in some of the most deprived parts of the country produced a 20-point surge in support of independence, many turning out to the polling stations for the first time in their lives.

By 2021 many more people will have joined the ranks of the dispossessed. And those trying to piece their lives back together after the shock of 2020 will not be inspired by constitutional gymnastics and endless debates over what we might/ should do in the hypothetical event that Westminster blocks a referendum.

If the UK Government does prove stupid enough to deny Scotland its right to decide, let’s then cross that bridge when we come to it.

In the meantime, we need more than ever before to focus on building belief in an optimistic vision over the horizon.

In this, we can learn from British history. In 1945, after six years of carnage and destruction, voters refused to stick with the devil they knew in the shape of the wartime prime minister, and instead went for the most radical vision on offer. And saddled with a war debt that amounted to 200 per cent of GDP, the new government went on to carry out an audacious programme of social reforms.

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At its heart was the revolutionary idea of the National Health Service, spearheaded by the socialist firebrand Nye Bevan from the valleys of South Wales who faced down an army of vested interests, including the British Medical Association and 84% of British doctors, who said it couldn’t be done.

By fusing the competence which the Scottish Government has won plaudits for with an ambitious and truly radical recovery plan on the scale of 1945, we could, in my opinion, build an unstoppable movement for independence next year.

People have never been more open to bold ideas such as a Universal Basic Income, Green New Deal, and a fundamental restructuring of the tax system to eradicate poverty from our nation once and for all.

As this year closes, millions of people will be on their knees. I hope the independence movement will be able to provide the vision, energy and motivation that will help people to stand up and stride out into a new land.