THIS little missive is something of a plea and a caveat at the same time. There is growing dissent and division within the independence community, it is plain to see. Camps are being erected and positions are becoming entrenched and most of this polarity is personality-based, at a gut level, rather than policy or performance-based.

The Unionists for years have been attacking our FM for harping on all the time about independence, which she studiously wasn’t (for a reason), and not doing the “day job”, which she was (for a reason) and perversely the Yessers have been attacking her, especially recently, for exactly the opposite reason – get on with independence, for goodness sake, and stop all the empty talk. Just declare UDI and be done with it, why don’t you? Are you getting to like being in power too much, Nicola? Well, something like that anyway.

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Well, here’s the rub, as I see it. She’s been doing both. It’s taken a few years of solid graft, political acumen and a bit of very beneficial globe-trotting to prove to Britain and indeed the rest of the world that Scotland is more than capable of governing itself, on a limited budget and with one hand tied behind its back. That’s what the day-job is all about. Without that evidence, that confidence, and a woman behaving like she is already the leader of a free country, independence is not even an idea that can be realistically contemplated. And yet the people who fail to see what her journey has been all about are mostly Scots who dislike her at a personal level, sometimes for who she is and sometimes for whom she replaced.

Nicola Sturgeon is without doubt the most admired and respected politician in Europe, and quite possibly amongst the most powerful female political leaders in the world. There are some who abhor that, and would seek to undermine her, even those closest to home.

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The SNP is the only realistic vehicle we have to take us across the independence finishing line. The powers-that-be know this all too well and will seek to separate the broader Yes movement from the SNP under its current leadership. This is already apparent on influential blogs and social media platforms. The war has begun in earnest.

The Scottish Government has spent years doing what it absolutely needed to do, pursuing every legal avenue towards achieving independence, with utter reasonableness and in good faith. It must continue to do so by insisting on a Section 30 order. The Smith Commission and the Claim of Right attest to this, that Scotland is free to choose

its future. The British Government has already agreed that the people of Scotland have a right to self-determination. This is legally incontestable. We are not a colony, we are not an oppressed people, even though it may feel like it. The UN rules on decolonisation do not apply to us. The framework is already there in British law for us to achieve independence – we just need to keep pushing it. Those who clamour more and more for UDI are either ignorant of the facts, or are false friends hoping to lead the Yes campaign up a blind alley, a cul-de-sac of confusion and ultimate humiliation.

Joanna Cherry has now very cleverly established that neither individual politicians nor the government are above the law. Scotland has a right to demand a Section 30 order if it becomes clear that a majority of the people support independence. It’s crucial that we wait until that has become evident. The forthcoming General Election should clarify this, if the SNP conducts a campaign based explicitly on securing a second referendum. If a Section 30 is then still denied the case should go to court. A precedent has now been set, ironically with the assistance of Unionists who abhor Johnson and his playing fast and loose with constitutional law.

My plea? Let us all stick together and support the SNP at the polls, whenever that may be. My caveat? Beware of the old guard, the cult of personality and the narcissists who inhabit every nook and cranny of the political landscape.

Judith Jaafar