EVERYTHING in Scottish politics changed three years ago. Well, everything except the Labour party in Scotland’s persistent search for a leader who can last longer than a gob-stopper. On Monday it was the third anniversary of the first Scottish independence referendum.

There will be another one, and the next independence referendum will be the last Scottish independence referendum, because the independence movement is going to win it. Scotland is on a trajectory that leads only one way, and today, the 20th of September is the third anniversary of that journey. The 18th of September is the anniversary of a vote. The 19th of September is the anniversary of a hangover. The 19th of September 2014 was the day that we nursed our wounds, when we grieved for the hopes that were not to be realised immediately, we mourned for the dreams that were not about to come true.

The 20th of September, today’s anniversary, is a much more important date. The 20th of September 2014 is the day that the independence movement picked itself up, dusted itself down, and said to Scotland and to the world: “This story isn’t over. We’ve only just got started.” The 20th of September is when we realised that the dream of independence wasn’t dead, it was still very much alive and it still danced and shone and lit the path to a better country. It was the day when we made a vow of our own, a vow to hold the British establishment to account for the promises and commitments it had made during the referendum campaign, a vow to keep the flame of hope burning bright.

Supporters of the British state constantly claim that Scotland has passed “peak Nat”. It’s a claim that’s made even more regularly than the Labour party in Scotland seeks a new leader. That would be the new leader who really is going to put the SNP back in their box this time. Honest. Pinkie promise. No really. It’s a claim that’s made more out of wishful thinking than anything factual. It’s a claim that’s based in a nostalgic longing for the days when the desire for Scottish independence was the preserve of big beardy men who put on kilts at weekends and ran about the hills pretending to be Pictish warriors.

It’s a claim that’s based in denial of the reality that Scotland changed irrevocably in 2014, and the independence movement is here to stay. It’s a claim that fervently hopes that any temporary reversal for the independence movement means it’s going away for good. Sadly for them, but happily for Scotland, that’s not going to happen. There is no country in the world where an independence movement has achieved the support of half the population and then just gone away.

In Quebec, the independence movement has only just been kept at bay by a Federal Canada which has bent over backwards to accommodate the national aspirations of Quebec. The Quebec referendum of 1980 was followed by changes to the Canadian constitution which strengthened and enshrined the national rights of Canada’s only majority French-speaking province. The Quebec independence movement remains strong and vital, even though Canada has gone a long way to answering many of the demands of the movement, and even though Quebec has considerably greater powers over its own affairs than Scotland does. There might not be any immediate prospect of a third independence referendum in Quebec, but only a fool would insist there could never be one, and only a bigger fool would be confident that the Quebec independence movement couldn’t win it. The politics of independence are part of the Quebec mainstream.

In the UK, on the other hand, the promises made to Scotland by the Westminster Parliament during the independence campaign have turned out to be as empty as Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Big Book of Modernity and as truthful as Boris Johnson’s insistence that he puts the needs of the country before his career.

The Scottish independence referendum has been followed by a series of vindictive and power-grabbing acts on the part of a Westminster which seems determined to punish Scotland for daring to be different.

They told us that Scotland was a valued and equal member of a family of nations. The British parties competed with one another in the Smith Commission to give as little ground as possible and to strip the infamous Vow of any meaningful content. We got English Votes for English Laws, and the legal guarantees of the permanence of the Scottish Parliament turned out to be meaningless window dressing. We were promised that the only way to be certain of our membership of the EU was to vote for the UK, and then we got Brexit.

The independence movement at large looked at the work of the not-so-mighty British state and didn’t despair. Instead we all said “I told you so” to our No-voting friends and colleagues. Every lie, every slight, every insult, it’s only fuel for the independence cause.

We don’t need to go grievance hunting. Grievances are dished out by the British state like confetti at a wedding. It’s the only thing they’re generous with. Three years on and the independence movement is still active, still energised, still enthusiastic. We’re going nowhere until we’ve acheived independence.

If you wanted a lesson in how not to deal with an independence movement, you couldn’t do better than to look at how the UK is riding roughshod over Scotland’s vote to remain a part of the EU and is using the Brexit vote as an excuse to weaken the devolution settlement and constrain Holyrood even further. Where Canada strengthened and empowered Quebec in the wake of its first independence referendum, the UK is weakening and trivialising Scotland. It’s because Westminster didn’t take Scotland seriously that we had the first independence referendum. It seems that they’ve learned nothing. That’s why, unlike in Quebec, Scotland’s second independence referendum is going to produce a Yes vote.