AS we begin to fight like rats in a sack, who needs the opposition?

The PM’s broadcast last week, with the usual platitudes talking of “pulling together”, fell on stony ground. Didn’t he hear the outcries: “Durham Castle”, “eye tests” and some profanities thrown in as well? Does he wonder why rule-breakers break rules when the said rules don’t apply to everyone?

When the PM failed to find his backbone and kept Dominic Cummings in post, any “togetherness” south of the Border was lost. Whereas with her statement, the FM spoke neither in platitudes, nor to the camera, but to the people beyond the camera, with facts, information and, yes, hard news. Her address closed with the exhortation around strength, solidarity and kindness.

Westminster now appears less and less in “control” of anything, far less governing as an in-charge government should be. Scotland appears more indy-looking as we are seen to handle the pandemic here, and more pro-indy leaning in the polls. Is it any wonder Wales is beginning, even under Labour, to flex its dragon’s talons, with broadcasts, briefings and pursuit of local responses to local needs primarily through the use of localised public health infrastructures?

But sadly, the (latest) Labour leader doesn’t know where he stands, or when he’d take said stand regarding #indyref2. Now? Later, before 2021 elections, or after the results? If Scotland, our place as equals in the Union, now and post Brexit, were a priority, surely Labour would have identified such a priority and nailed it to the mast? No, not really, History is replete with incidents of Scotland being betrayed by Labour, in their pursuit of London-centric power. “Labour first, Scottish second” was a naked reminder in 2014 by Trevor Davies, Edinburgh Labour.

But out of all the parties opposed to independence, I still fear the Tories the most, with their “agents” lined up against us, from state broadcaster, to pro-Union press, and the less visible but always present MI5, the service established to “protect British parliamentary democracy and economic interests, and counter terrorism and espionage within the UK”. Paranoia on my part? Naw, since independence is perceived by Westminster as a threat to “Britishness”.

This might make you think now would NOT be the time to provide the opposition with an open goal. But no, even Suella Braverman, made QC a few days after her appointment as Attorney General this year, was able to take a pop at Joanna Cherry in Parliament last week about the disunity now openly appearing within SNP ranks.

There should be a red line between open healthy debate, democratic and appropriate procedural challenge, back-door briefings and black ops.

For those of us not in any party, far less the SNP, what are we supposed to believe? How much energy is being dissipated, misdirected, column inches wasted? How much succour is being proffered to the opposition as this infighting spills out?

I’ve banged on often enough in the past about the grassroots, but it will be the thousands of us in that broad movement that will win independence, that will take to the streets again, self-organise again with a passion, non-aligned to the future other than the desire for independence.

But even there, with some murmurings in the recent past, there is the impression that some fancy the “leadership” tag of the grassroots – my group is better placed; naw it isnae, we’re best placed, and such like.

Ironically, there’s not much to show for that, is there? The Zoom meetings, webinars et al are happening without centralised direction.

So, can you please all grow up, forget self-interest, self-promotion and grandstanding with a view to positions post independence. Otherwise, the game’s a bogey. There won’t be a third chance.

Selma Rahman