AMONG other things, last Friday’s speech by the First Minister was patronising, because the Yes community across Scotland have been persistent and prominent in their activism for the past five years. She must have noticed. All the while dither and procrastination of the high command is plain to see. Multiple mandates for independence are a diminishing return; we need only one. Which one do we choose to use?

We are told that legal opinion can work for or against any litigant. In this, the year of the Declaration of Arbroath, some simple questions for SNP high command:

  • Are we the people sovereign or are we not?
  • Did the Brexit Act with its declaration of parliamentary sovereignty not drive a coach and horses through the Treaty of Union?
  • Why don’t we re-convene the real Scottish Parliament?

READ MORE: No amount of wishful thinking will make the PM change his mind

There is no disagreement that the power of the devolved Scottish Parliament to legislate is limited by the act of parliament which established it, but what we seem to have forgotten is a Scottish Parliament in suspension for 300 years and embodied in 48 MPs sent to Westminster in December only last year.

  • Where was the gold standard in the International Court of Justice case on Kosovo in which it was specifically confirmed that the agreement of the state being seceded from was not necessary for independence?

Nicola Sturgeon promised me, my family and fellow citizens that we wouldn’t be dragged out of the EU against our will … how did that work out? We hear in her statements of the need for conversations and consultations and another Convention.

  • What did the New Conversation on Independence launched in Stirling in September 2016 tell us?
  • Where’s the summary report on the National Assemblies a mere two years ago and as promised by SNP deputy leader Keith Brown?
  • The rebuttal unit he subsequently took charge of … how’s that going then?

Now, I have no illusion that the SNP are the key to the door of independence but it’s the Yes movement which is the door. I’m told I need to have patience and perseverance, no need for a Plan B when Plan A will work. I have perseverance, but it’s difficult and insulting our collective intelligence to have patience while she pursues the gold standard of referendums with a proven liar – a particularly forlorn prospect.

The Yes movement really isn’t impatient, merely acutely aware of the limited time we have available before the mad man of Downing Street closes down our options and converts us back into 19th-century North Britons. In the heady days of 2012 it was an easy for them to accept the “gold standard” Edinburgh Agreement when we were a mere 28% in the polls.

With an 80-seat majority, the mantra that their position is unsustainable is negligently naive in the face of the draft Act of Union Bill and its stated aim of providing a “strong and effective Union between the people of the constituent nations and parts”.

Back in October 2018 when I first wrote about it, it was too ridiculous for words. Unfortunately nothing in the post-Brexit era is ridiculous anymore and following its first reading in the House of Lords it’s nearly oven-ready, with the dark shroud of the Hendry VIII powers ready to reveal the true nature of the Britnat dictatorship.

Respect has to be earned and whilst the FM is a rightly respected figure at home and abroad, what many of us don’t understand is the tactic of the endlessly pleading supplicant, which is both demeaning and prejudicial to a strong negotiating position, particularly with a demonstrably corrupt opponent and its mantra of No means No for an eternity, never mind a generation.

I was mightily impressed with the elegance of both the argument and presentation of Scotland’s Future in Scotland’s Hands, which gave me the confidence that this was indeed designed for the three or four moves down the chessboard to the ultimate prize of admission to the club of UN sovereign nations. Unfortunately last Friday’s speech was a considerable stumble towards that goal.

Respect and leadership are two sides of the same coin. But leadership is about inspiring foot soldiers with a strategy which, through effort, leads to victory and not a debacle which snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

I can’t imagine the FM has respect for her adversary but we need to be biased in the pursuit of our independence, not reasonable. We need to be belligerent in our challenge to the Britnats and their naked self-interest in pursuit of Home County values, be they residents of Perthshire or Morayshire.

What we can’t do is play by their rules and their timetable.

Iain Bruce