MOST politicians are big on promises, especially when seeking election. Some as we all know, will pledge or vow almost anything provided they can hang on to a handsome salary and comfortable existence of the kind they might perhaps only dream of were they consigned to make ends meet like those “lesser mortals” that inhabit their constituencies.

There were a lot of promises made during the May election in Scotland, not least by the SNP on that elusive second independence referendum. Maybe it’s just me, but since then hasn’t it all gone curiously quiet on that front? In fact, I’ll go further and say that the silence right now is almost deafening.

I’ve always been a stickler for the importance of tactics and timing when it comes to Scotland’s own campaign for independence. Patience, bide your time, choose your moment, maintain solidarity has been my mantra based on the evidence to date. My fears though of jumping the gun on another referendum are rapidly being replaced by another fear, that of missing the boat.

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In fact, sometimes in my more pessimistic moments the niggling doubts of those sceptics who maintain that the Scottish people are being led a merry dance over independence seem hard to refute.

Back in May in the run up to the election the word “independence” was never off the lips of those SNP candidates seeking election or re-election. These days you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s tantamount to political blasphemy to mention the ‘Aye’ word, let alone take action to overcome the apparent impasse that has ensued.

That such an impasse exists we all know is not solely of the Scottish Government’s making. But exist it does and it’s bad enough that any suggestions as to how to circumvent the Section 30 conundrum have regularly been drowned out or sat upon, but even worse that there appears little sense of urgency in proffering alternative strategic moves to overcome it.

In the wake of the SNP securing its fourth historic term much was made of how the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told Boris Johnson that a second referendum is “a matter of when, not if.”

Sturgeon too is on the record as saying that Johnson would “have to go to court” to stop her new government introducing legislation for another referendum. In other words, we the Scottish people were being assured of the Scottish Government’s readiness for a constitutional battle and that it would come full pelt in the wake of the election.

Since then, you could hear a pin drop, in the chamber of silence that exists after the clamour.

So, then, if indeed it is “a matter of when not if”, just when can Scotland expect to see such a move? Yes, I know it’s never tactically wise to telegraph your intentions to the opposition, and yes, I realise the Scottish Government has to navigate a tricky political landscape. I’m more than aware too that Scotland, like the rest of the UK and the world, is still in the throes of a pandemic.

But when I read on the SNP website that “once we rebuild Scotland from Covid, there will be an independence referendum”, I can’t help wondering if here yet again the constitutional can is being kicked down the road.

The National:

It’s not as if the pandemic’s impact is stopping Johnson’s government from turning the political screw on Scotland at every opportunity. In fact, as Gordon Brown’s latest pernicious intervention has shown, there is a queue of Unionists setting about Scotland right now completely unrestrained by the effects of the pandemic. Meanwhile the response from the Scottish Government? Yet more silence.

Just this week two academics in a London School of Economics blog, opined that that “the road to Scottish independence will involve the SNP wooing not just Scottish, but also English and British identifiers”.

On reading it over breakfast yesterday morning I almost choked on my cornflakes. Not you understand because such an idea is baseless or anathema, but that it struck me that right now the SNP have enough work cut out holding on to those Scots who have put their faith in them to deliver on independence than worry about potential fellow travellers.

Almost daily we hear from various quarters of the UK establishment about how much they fear for the Union right now. But frankly those Unionists can sleep easy in their beds for two simple reasons.

The first reason is that under the Tory government and its allies a robust bulwark has been constructed and continues to be built against Scottish sovereignty with the “Union unit” being only one example.

Shamefully, the second reason is that because of its cowed posture and reticence in the face of such an onslaught the SNP is effectively doing much of the Unionists work.

Sometimes of course the SNP do get it right, such as the welcome news yesterday that the party’s battle led by Tommy Sheppard to release information about polling on public attitudes to independence and the Union has been successful.

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The real question now of course is what will be done with that information and how to maximise its use in hitting back, and just as importantly what other active strategies like it are in the offing?

As I mentioned earlier, patience, timing, solidarity, are all crucial if independence is to be realised. But so too is a situational awareness when circumstances shift significantly, and I see precious little evidence of that right now coming from the Scottish Government.

The patience of those Scots desirous of sovereignty is not endless. Their trust in those politicians who have promised to step up and deliver independence should not be taken for granted. The apparent impotence of the Scottish Government as Unionists take the initiative cannot continue.

It’s now long overdue for the FM and those SNP MSPs and MPS to go on the political offensive. Should they fail to do so, then don’t add insult to injury by feigning surprise or grumbling when others within the indy movement take up the baton.

It’s now a matter of urgency that a campaign using everything in the independence movement’s political arsenal be used to call out the “Union unit” and their ilk.

Above all else though, it’s time for the Scottish Government to end its silence and move assertively on to independence.