NOT much of a military type, but I guess that opening up too many battle fronts is not the smart way to win a war. Which advice I offer freely to the Conservative and Unionist troops who are grabbing every bit of assorted weaponry in their fight to the death of independence.

Professor Adam Tomkins, tutor in public law and outgoing Holyrood MSP has gone for the nuclear option – just make the whole notion illegal. His intervention has the ­merit of simplicity; keep these damn ­natives under legal lock and key. Better yet, throw the key away. His somewhat ­startling ­offering is contained in The ­Spectator ­magazine, rapidly becoming the house ­journal for ­Unionist refuseniks. Chaired by Andrew Neil, edited by Fraser Nelson, and featuring die hard naysaying columnists, it is a noisy part of the editorial battle for the UK.

Not that it lacks friends. You have to laugh at these jibes from down south that the ­nationalist successes are down to a compliant mainstream media. If only. ­Maybe nobody in London bothers much to read or watch the Scottish media; that would certainly explain the widespread ­ignorance of a devolution settlement which has been with us for over two decades.

READ MORE: Tory MSP says Scotland should be legally forced to stay in the Union

Professor Tomkins, who, in a ­previous ­incarnation was apparently a man of the ­nationalist left, comes up with some ­startling legal precedents for his position. One is a law passed in the wake of the 18th century American civil war, where the ­parallels with contemporary UK politics are not immediately apparent. One is Spain, where the Spanish government evidently believed that the way to win the hearts and minds of the Catalonians was to beat them up prior to chucking their ­government ­representatives in the pokey.

I venture to suggest to the good ­Professor that neither seems the ideal template for 21st century constitutional agreements ­between two self standing, long established nations who formed a consensual partnership in 1707. Though admittedly consent on the Scottish side of the Border involved a somewhat restricted electorate.

Yet, as I say, this is but one strand of the war being waged. For those who still set their face against Scotland having any parliament at all, say, to take a random ­example, Scotland Secretary Alister Jack, the ploy has been to make Holyrood into a political Toom Tabard, an empty vessel ­incapable of enacting legislation even in areas which were specifically devolved to it.

In this cause, Brexit has proved a blessing. (Not words readily falling from these lips.) It has been used as a handy wrecking ball to ensure that many Holyrood powers repatriated from Brussels take a detour to Westminster. And stay there. That laid the groundwork for the Internal Market Act, ostensibly to ensure hassle free trade across the UK, but actually, again, to strip the Scottish Government of meaningful powers.

The convention that no law could be passed by Westminster which affected devolved areas without specific Holyrood agreement has been unblushingly binned.

Allied to this shot across Holyrood bows, comes some heavy artillery in the shape of infrastructure projects paid for by the London kitty (including that which has been purloined from Scotland’s Euro biscuit tin) and festooned with Union flags so that the locals should be in no doubt about the origin of this amazing ­largesse.

The National:

In fairness, this is not a novel ploy. We are well used to traversing the ­Highlands and Islands and being confronted with branding which tells us that Europe has partially funded the improvement in ­question.

Somehow I doubt that Union flags will incur quite the same brand of gratitude.

Then, this last month, the Holyrood dreambusters excelled themselves. They advised the Scottish parliament that it would be taken to the Supreme Court to attempt to overturn two laws passed unanimously. As in voted for by every party, including the Tory MSPs. As you might imagine, this was greeted by ­Scottish Tories on the campaign trail with something other than unalloyed glee.

However the Westminster defenders of the Unionist faith had only one calendar month to raise objections, and they sure weren’t going to let a little thing like throwing their own tartan troops under a bus get in the way. Maybe they thought we were just electing the odd regional mayor. One national, London based newspaper even published a guide to “the Scottish local elections”.

Which brings us to the much vaunted Unionist Unit; guerrilla troops under the command of General Gove. All has not gone entirely to plan in the secret bunker. Commanding officers ­resigning their commission within a fortnight of ­getting their pips is not a great look. Nor is ­sidelining the only chap who had ­actually once ­actually lived in Scotland. I’m told the game plan is now to ­bolster ­established ­Unionist “think tanks” like These ­Islands, chaired by Unionist ­blogger Kevin Hague and featuring a raft of academics and commentators some of whom are even ­Scottish. These include Jim Gallagher, leading architect of the 2014 Better ­Together campaign. In its Home Page you are not too late to read Neil Oliver’s “emotional paean to Britain and the Union”.

READ MORE: Neil Oliver to join Andrew Neil's GB News in 'move towards news commentary'

Giving aid and comfort, and perhaps a fiscal leg up to organisations like that and Scotland in Union is now thought to be a better bet than re-inventing wheels. Especially if they keep falling off. Besides, time is of the essence. These jocks might go and do something even more radical if we’re not careful – like electing a parliament with a majority in favour of independence. Then it’ll be a’ “whaur’s yer Section 30 noo Boris?)

HOWEVER, even for the Scottish elections, there is a cunning plan. You may have heard much huffing and puffing about the iniquity of “gaming the system”. Which is odd. Since that is precisely what the Tories are advising their followers to do.

Their election leaflets advise you not to risk “splitting the pro-UK vote, and letting more pro-independence list MSPs slip into Holyrood”. They’ve thrown in the towel completely on winning constituencies, and, for the benefit of the hard of thinking, even advise you which colour of ballot paper you need to concentrate on.

“Voters who want to prevent that SNP majority…..will this time be backing the Scottish Conservatives on their PEACH ballot papers”. Their capitals.

OF course voting Tory isn’t always a fail safe way to ditch the Nats. Not in the many constituencies where plighting your troth to Dougie will certainly not stop the referendum. Credit where it’s due. They’ve thought of that, too.

In my own backyard, where the ­Labour Party holds Scotland’s slimmest majority, natural born Tories are ­popping up on election material professing a somewhat unexpected affection for the red party.

Tory tweets are even more explicit. I quote: “Vote tactically against the SNP. Party loyalty is on hold until we oust the separatists.”

READ MORE: Pro-independence parties blast Scotland in Union's 'desperate' tactical voting tool

Not content with asking fellow ­Conservatives to vote Labour, my local Tories suggest the second vote should go to George Galloway’s rag-tag gaggle in ­Alliance4Unity. Because that way they can “get fresh anti-nationalist talent into Holyrood”. Fresh talent? Galloway has been in more parties than the average teenage clubber.

And they conclude: “We CAN defeat the SNP #snpout21.”

If that is not nakedly gaming the system I’m the ghost of Margaret Thatcher.

The Unionist arm has one new shot in its locker. Alleged supporters of, and bloggers for, independence who are more vitriolic about the First Minister than any of her opponents in other parties.

Maybe they think sabotaging the cause on the brink of the long and weary road to victory gives them some purity of mind and purpose. A sense of self ­importance.

I’ll tell them what it brings: four more years of a corrupt Westminster ­administration; endless more years of Tory government and a hobbled Scottish parliament.