IF the last few years have shown us anything, it’s that the Conservative Government’s tolerance for democracy extends only as far as when the goals of the people just happen to align with its own.

While braying the importance of the will of the people on Brexit, they seem equally comfortable to overlook Donald Trump’s impotent wails to stop the counting of votes in states where his defeat seemed inevitable.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Westminster institution breeds such disdain for democracy in our leaders when from birth many are raised to believe they have an inalienable right to rule. And then, come the end, there’s a cushy spot in the Lords for anyone with the right family, or a large enough bank account, to continue their political career with nary a voter in sight.

No, the Tories just love democracy; so long as the people want what they want … and you don’t live in Scotland where a constitutional storm is brewing.

The past fourteen polls on Scottish independence have shown that not only do a decisive majority of those living in Scotland want to hold a second independence referendum, but that a Yes vote will win.

So what’s a flag-waving, will of the people loving Unionist to do when there’s a pro-independence majority at Holyrood next year for the third time in a row?

Well, there’s a tried-and-true solution as old as time for politicians and those standing in the way of progress: accuse your opponent of doing the very thing that you are doing.

This tactical flourish is at the crux of the pro-Unionist argument that we shouldn’t have a second independence referendum because (take a big deep breath in) don’t you know that it was “once in a generation”?

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It takes some brass neck to stand up, like Scottish Tory MSP Annie Wells did last week, and accuse Yes supporters of having zero respect for democracy while slyly dismissing calls for a common vote on our future.

So let me summarise my argument against anyone who smugly points out that a few campaigners said the last referendum was a “once in a generation” opportunity: I don’t care.

I don’t care about what a politician said nearly a decade ago before the modern Yes movement even existed, and neither should you.

The drive for Scottish independence, and for a more democratic state, is bigger than any one person or politician.

Denying us the right to vote on this basis requires that we view all politics and political change through the narrow lens of parliamentary sparring, as if activism starts and ends with a mark on a ballot slip. It doesn’t.

The Tories would have you believe that independence is the pet project of a political party, rather than the galvanised movement for political change that it has become.

There is power in the people; a fact that many politicians would rather you forget and just let them get on with whatever schemes they have underway.

We have the right to demand change.

Left with nowhere else to turn, and unwilling to explicitly just say that they are not interested in democracy, the Tories have instead decided to hold us hostage with a piece of political rhetoric that hasn’t been relevant for years.

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So pervasive has this trickery become that some anti-independence politicians have started rewriting history to give it validity. Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has repeatedly claimed that Nicola Sturgeon signed a document that confirmed the independence referendum would be “once in a generation”.

The Edinburgh Agreement, as the document is called, set out the terms of how the 2014 referendum would be conducted between the Scottish and UK Governments.

Nicola Sturgeon was indeed one of the signatories of the agreement back in 2012.

Unfortunately for Ross, however, the phrase “once in a generation” does not in fact appear in the document even once.

Faced with overwhelming support for constitutional change, this is the last refuge of fairweather democrats.

On top of this, the Tories seem to believe that the somewhat nebulous meaning of what a “generation” is gives them carte blanche to delay the inevitable almost indefinitely. The Secretary of State last week told the BBC that, in his eyes, a second referendum should not be held for 25, or even 40, years.

The Tories appear to have decided to define a generation as “however long we need it to be”.

The Conservative Government is playing fast and loose with democracy, even while some of their own voters are beginning to see the value of independence if recent polling is to be believed.

Perhaps the Prime Minister parachuting Douglas Ross into the role of Scottish Tory leader, despite members putting their weight behind Jackson Carlaw, has opened the eyes of the party faithful to the benefits of self-determination.

So let’s not forget that the power to call for constitutional change does not lie in the hands of Westminster elites, content to brush off democracy with a wave of rhetoric. We have the right to organise, to agitate, and to set the course of the country we live in.

The power is with us.