‘EVERY day in Scotland is Groundhog Day” says former Labour MP Tom Harris in the Telegraph. Actually, I agree.

The Vote Leave Scotland boss says Scotland has become a country that isn’t sure about independence but keeps electing an SNP government which keeps announcing a mandate for a second indyref without ever quite holding one. It’s a country which had one chance to vote for “separation” in 2014 but didn’t take it and has now elected “a nationalist administration [that wants] to put the territorial integrity of the UK under a question mark for the second time in seven years – no other country in the world would stand for such constitutional anarchy”.

Yip. Scotland is indeed stuck in a demoralising Groundhog Day – entirely of Westminster’s creation.

Of course, other countries don’t have constitutional referenda every seven years because they have grown-up, mutually respectful, consensual ways to resolve internal differences instead. Some, like Norway, have had proportional representation for more than a century; others like Germany are fairly federated states whilst others like Denmark allow such major divergence by devolved administrations that Greenland and the Faroes are both outside the EU whilst the Mother Ship is a fully paid-up member.

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Flexibility, fairness, consensus and decentralisation – that’s how you achieve constitutional stability.

But Britain doesn’t do any of the above.

It leads by the example of its power, not the power of its example, to quote Joe Biden.

In Britain, might is right. So, no wonder constitutional issues keep bubbling back to the surface over and over again. Each grudging, unsatisfactory, one-sided “solution” concocted and then imposed by one Westminster party leaves a stack of unresolved issues that will waste the energies of all concerned in another few years’ time. And so it goes on and on.

In winner-takes-all, first-past-the-post, un-proportional and unfair Britain (where the seismic Brexit referendum could be unleashed by a Conservative government that attracted just 37% of the popular vote) – in such a ramshackle excuse for a democracy, where the true face of the status quo generally only appears after the votes are counted, instability is the order of the day.

In short, as long as Scotland votes for power based in Scotland but gets power centred in London, votes centre-left and gets hard right, votes for freedom of movement within the EU and gets a hard Brexit instead, political opinion in Scotland will be in a never-ending state of flux.

You can regard that as “dangerous instability” or the inevitable outcome of a rigid, inflexible, centralised and backwards-facing political system that dramatizes, pouts and struts instead of accommodating competing political realities – on the island of Ireland, amongst our neighbours in Europe, or the nations of the UK.

So Scotland is stuck in a Groundhog Day, created by a British state that feeds off the nervousness and tension constantly bubbling up from its subterranean fault-lines. Unionism thrives on a fear of change, yet guarantees pressure for change by its own stiff and unyielding demeanour.

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Besides, it’s gey mysterious that folk who support the status quo don’t seem to vote for its staunch advocates in Scotland. Why is that?

If the bulk of Scots really do support the Union, why do they keep electing independence-backing parties, politicians and individuals?

Is it a personal failing thing? A lack of ability, smeddum or fire in the belly of Unionist candidates? Is it a collective thing, a missing narrative from their parties about Scotland’s potential within the UK (good luck with that by the way)? Or is it something even bigger?

Is it an absence of the hope, belief and vision that any country needs to make progress? Is it the infinite weariness of Unionist leaders? Is it their inability to hear mature criticism of this failing state (Gordon Brown’s description) without hurling childish insults at Nicola “talking out of her kilt” Sturgeon or offering political placebos like Boris Johnson’s Imaginary Bridge to Northern Ireland?

Answer – it’s all of the above, and more.

Unionist Britain requires unquestioning minds to function. After all, curiosity about why things work better in small, independent countries just causes trouble.

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So, Commons Select Committees can sit forever hearing insightful reports on useful reforms that work everywhere else but are just too radical to fit in here; academics can spend decades advocating “adventurous” new electoral systems adopted everywhere else a century back; professionals can wring their collective hands, and spend entire careers mitigating the damage that inevitably flows from unreconstructed welfare and taxation systems.

So much effort, so little progress. And not by accident but by design.

Take just one area. Currently Scotland must manage its energy futures via one solitary lever – not control over energy investment, connectivity and supply (all run from London) but control of planning. That’s like steering a ship through stormy seas by clutching a compass whilst the sails, helm and rudder are locked on an immutable, ancient path chosen years back by a Grim Auld Uncle fae sooth obsessed with nuclear power and refighting the Second World War.

I’LL be honest. Much as I love almost every square inch of this country, the thought there might not be some imminent escape from Britain’s Groundhog Day – the thought that all the insights gathered, connections made and progress half-started might yet be stalled or cancelled, the thought that in 2030 we will still be sitting here, voting for a new country but sitting in the draughty remnants of an old one – the prospect of living forever in Groundhog Britain almost makes me want to quit Scotland and live elsewhere.

And before Tom and his colleagues roar me and other despairing Yessers on, he might ask what happens when folk with activist energy and higher hopes for Scotland give up and move out, followed by a generation who prefer life in the EU to a beautiful but stagnant British backwater.

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It’s a sair fecht. As followers of Scottish fitba know, it’s the hope that gets you in the end. And yet without it – without the hope that Scots get a second crack at independence – the prospect of living in Broken Britain is almost unbearable.

Of course, folk may pick at the failings of the SNP. But the irony is that folk who are “tired of the Nats” will only have a reasonable chance of voting them out when Scotland is independent. Until then, the anti-Scottish outlook of Boris Johnson, the steady unravelling of devolution and the demolition of Britain’s post-war settlement will encourage Scots to keep electing the most energetic advocates to protect our interests. And let’s face it, they’re not Scottish Labour or LibDems. Those parties can only benefit from independence – or they might if a stolid refusal to countenance change hadn’t already become their political legacy. But the SNP can only lose, as this unnaturally large party breaks down into more natural and sustainable groupings, and political and civic energy is focused at last on creating new fit-for-purpose systems and laws.

It won’t be easy – it will be eventful. But it is inevitable.

Because strong as the forces of stasis may be, even Groundhog Day finally ends and gives way to the energies of a new generation.