THE arguments being put forward by opponents of independence are increasingly being couched in language which seems to suggest Scotland has no role in the UK other than to do what we are told.

Their complete inability to grasp Scotland’s status as a nation is reaching laughable proportions.

Take, for example, Nigel Biggar, emeritus and regius professor of moral and pastoral theology at Oxford University.

He told the National Conservatism conference this week that many Scots support independence because they cling to a false vision of the country’s past.

According to a tweet by National Conservatism on Wednesday, “this biased narrative excites unjustified indignation and resentment against the English and Britain today”.

READ MORE: Keith Brown: To win independence, we need to share this key message

In an article in The Times in February, Biggar took the “egalitarian” vision of an ideal Scotland adopted by some independence supporters for distorting the view of Britain and particularly of the British Empire as evil.

This is part of a growing trend to vilify any suggestion that Scotland is in any way different to England and therefore needs its own government better attuned to its specific needs.

Much of the Unionist reaction to a column I wrote last week took issue with my contention that the coronation of King Charles showed the political and cultural gulf between Scotland and England. The column was, according to these critics, divisive, hate-filled, racist and part of a “false and depressive narrative” and “bollocks”.

I found this response bewildering. At no point did I – or would I – argue that Scotland is somehow “better” than England, but it seems self-evident that the countries have different political cultures.

The very different responses to the coronation north and south of the Border represent just one example of that difference.

Of course, not everyone in England was filled with joy at the crowning of a new monarch, just as not everyone in Scotland found the whole celebration pointless and out of date.

But the cheering streets of London contrasted with the absence of crowds at the screens erected in Scotland surely point to a general difference in attitudes.

Voting patterns in Scotland are also undoubtedly different to those south of the Border.

The SNP have been the dominant party here for more than a decade and despite the ongoing police investigation into their finances this shows no real sign of changing.

Certainly, Labour’s recent move to become a replica of the Conservatives makes their chances of staging a comeback in Scotland virtually nil.

Just to make it clear, this is not a moral judgment that Scotland is intrinsically better than England. It is not. But it is different, and those differences are not and never will be accommodated within the Union.

The sheer force of numbers means that Scotland’s wishes will always come second to those of our largest neighbour.

Of course, to those who are against independence, even to make those arguments is anathema. They see no circumstances in which Scotland’s different priorities and needs should ever be prioritised.

Indeed, they increasingly refuse to recognise that Scotland is a nation and not a region in the same way that England’s largest cities are regions.

The argument was most recently put forward by the LibDems’ Scottish leader Alex Cole-Hamilton during a debate on Scotland’s independence at Oxford University when he notoriously said Scotland “can never and should never exist again”.

Cole-Hamilton, like Biggar, believes supporters of independence “pine for ancient nations” at odds with the modern world.

He added: “We are a people trapped between flags, between politicians who mythologise and pine for ancient nations that can never and should never exist again in the global world in which we find ourselves.”

Cole-Hamilton’s comments provoked anger from many in Scotland and again that backlash was labelled “anti-English” by those who oppose independence.

Blair McDougall, former head strategist of Better Together, said SNP politicians engaging in “dog whistles and disinformation” around what Cole-Hamilton said had provoked an “anti-English pile on”.

It seems that those who oppose independence can spout whatever tosh they want about Scotland but to respond – even just to re-assert Scotland’s status as a nation – is derided as another sign of the “divisive” or even “racist” nature of the independence campaign.

This is nonsense and the Unionists know it. Yet they are dragging the debate into ridiculous territory which seeks to ignore the fact that Scotland was an independent nation before the Union, and it retains its own legal system and its own education system.

The argument that there are significant differences between Scotland and England was underlined this week by the jaw-dropping National Conservatism conference in London.

Now of course there are some Scots who subscribe to the barmy beliefs espoused at this conference. Indeed, there were Scots – such as Biggar – speaking at it.

But it’s hard to imagine an event at which government ministers actually shared a stage with speakers such as David Starkey, who claimed that movements such as Black Lives Matter wanted to destroy what he described as “white culture”.

Or with Douglas Murray, a speaker who said people “shouldn’t be stopped from loving their country” because “the Germans mucked up twice”.

These were far from the only participants who held dodgy – to put it mildly – views.

PinkNews described the conference as “relentlessly anti-LGBT”.

Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon provided an interesting contrast on Wednesday evening when she accepted an award in London as Celebrity LGBT Ally of the Year.

That underlined a very different approach to the LGBT community than that adopted by the National Conservatism event, which was legitimised by the involvement of mainstream Tory politicians such as Michael Gove and Home Secretary Suella Braverman, whose speech on immigration was thankfully interrupted by protesters.

There is no significant support in Scotland for the type of extreme British nationalism on show at the National Conservatism conference this week.

And yet the evidence suggests this is the direction in which the current UK Government is heading, with potentially terrible consequences not just for the independence debate but for the very nature of Scotland itself.

Not content with seeking to block a second independence referendum and indeed any route to independence, Westminster is now setting out to undermine Scotland’s status as a nation and its self-confidence.

It’s doing so by curbing its Parliament’s powers, particularly by grabbing for itself those powers which should have gone to Holyrood after Brexit. It is also busy diluting the power of Scotland the brand, particularly in the food industry, by an increased marketing focus on Britain.

These moves follow a relentless litany of “Scotland bad” in certain parts of the media.

That’s the context in which we need to see these continual attempts to portray Scotland’s distinctive identity as divisive and hateful.

We should take strength from the fact that this assault is not having a major effect on support for independence, which recent polls have shown to be holding steady.

But it remains important to counter any attempt to label the Yes movement as divisive or anti-English. We want to build a welcoming, inclusive and diverse modern Scotland.

The fact that we believe we need to move away from the domination of a larger nation to do that is nothing to do with hate and everything to do with our ability to make our own decisions and carve our own future.