OF late, there has been considerable focus within the Yes movement about alternative plans to get us to independence. There’s been a lot of discussion about Plan B, and even Plans C or D. However, it now seems that the Johnson Government’s Plan A is already reeling under the impact of sustained majorities for independence in the opinion polls.

The Conservatives have realised that just saying no to another referendum is not a winning formula when there’s clear and unarguable majority support for independence in Scotland. It’s one thing to claim to be acting as the defenders of the silent majority when you can point to opinion polls which show that only a minority, albeit a large one, would prefer independence for Scotland.

You can then still pose as champions of democracy, no matter how cynical or hypocritical that makes you. In the case of the Conservatives, cynicism and hypocrisy is pretty much on-brand.

In his poem the Inferno, the great Italian poet Dante placed hypocrites in the eighth circle of Hell which he called Malebolge. This is also the constituency in the Westminster Parliament represented by Michael Gove.

However, it’s an entirely different proposition to keep blocking another referendum when you’re standing in the path of the majority will. It exposes you for the authoritarian anti-democratic hypocrite you really are. This is not a stance which is guaranteed to win back voters in Scotland who have recently shifted to supporting independence.

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All it does is deepen Scotland’s alienation and make it impossible for opponents of independence to win a popular vote when the topic inevitably comes to the ballot box as it most assuredly will.

Some months ago, Gove gave a speech in which he proclaimed the public can only have faith in politicians if those politicians provide competent and accountable leadership. Yet the Government of which he is a prominent member seeks to deny accountability to Scotland, and is certainly very far from competent.

It’s because Scotland’s electorate can see the stark contrast between the shambling chaos that surrounds Johnson and the brisk efficiency of Nicola Sturgeon that support for independence has been rising.

We’ve heard reports recently that the UK Cabinet now has a “greater understanding” of the situation within Scotland. That understanding is the realisation that just as “Just Say No” didn’t work as an anti-drugs strategy in the 1980s, it won’t work as a bulwark against Scottish independence either. And let’s face it, Johnson, Gove, and Cummings don’t have anything like the popular appeal of the cast of Grange Hill. They’re more like that really annoying one who made you leave the room and go make a cuppa whenever they appeared on screen.

In fact, just saying no to Scottish independence is going to be counter-productive in the longer term. A Scotland which sees the results of Scottish elections being ignored and traduced by a Conservative Government in Westminster which doesn’t have majority support in Scotland is a Scotland that is going to conclude that it’s right to pursue independence. The Conservatives appear, belatedly, to have grasped that. It’s just that they’re still in denial about their own role in creating Scotland’s lack of trust and faith in British governance, and still don’t have a clue how they’re going to reverse the rapidly increasing flow of support towards independence and away from Westminster rule.

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The Tories still want to centralise power in Westminster as much as possible. They still seek to undermine the devolution settlement. And just last week we learned that they also seek to make an all-out assault on the independence of the Scottish judiciary which was guaranteed by the Treaty of Union.

What they are unable to do is to think of a strategy which allows them to continue to do all these things, while at the same time stemming the rising tide of support for independence. It’s like wondering how to stop a bucket from overflowing when you insist that you’re going to keep dumping more dirty water in it. Then when it spills on the floor and ruins your rug, you blame the water. The best they can come up with is to tell Scotland it can’t manage its own affairs because the British Government has turned Scotland into a basket case. We now hear that the performance artiste whose stage name is Boris Johnson is to make a third visit to Scotland soon in an attempt to boost support for Westminster rule.

The playbook ought to be familiar by now. Johnson will fly into some remote and rural corner of the country where he is carefully insulated from any direct contact with the natives. He’ll do a photo op with some vegetables in order to show supposed support for farmers.

The vegetables concerned will be both those that grow in the ground and a couple which have been elected as representatives of the Scottish Tories. Don’t say the Tories aren’t inclusive.

Then Johnson will mouth some toe-curling platitudes about how the UK is like a team of superheroes, where Scotland’s only superpower is the ability never to have its voice heard by Johnson. Finally, he’ll fly back to London again without having encountered any Scottish people who haven’t previously been vetted for loyalty. This bears the same relationship to saving the UK as shopping in a craft shop for some sparkly red, white and blue sticky tape and some glittery Union flag stickers does to a surgical operation to re-attach a severed limb.

The Tories are reeling. They are already starting to crack. They will not be able to withstand a demand from a newly re-elected majority SNP Government for another referendum. Those who lead the Conservative Party are not formidable figures. They are not political giants. They are small and untalented individuals who enjoy their power because of their loyalty to the Brexit project, not because they have skills or abilities.

The real political giants in Scotland are the people of Scotland, a people growing increasingly angry and frustrated that the Conservatives dare to refuse us our democratic rights.

What will defeat them is our determination, our force of spirit, our conviction that we have right on our side. That’s why it’s vital that we remain united as a movement and resist the temptation to split and splinter. United we will win. Scotland doesn’t need to orbit Johnson’s ego.