A WISE producer with whom I once worked on a radio programme said that it was only healthy to read the views of people on the other side of political divides. Otherwise you would wind up in an echo chamber and fail to read all the runes. So I do.

I didn’t really expect that advice to be relevant to scanning the New Statesman, whose left of centre views are not usually at many odds with my own. Though from time to time I need to remember that – just like The Spectator and the Tory Party – the Statesman is a conduit for the views of ­official Labour. So, of course, its stance on Scottish independence would naturally ­reflect that.

The chap currently entrusted with the role of Scotland editor at the Statesman is Chris Deerin, a journalist who built a ­considerable reputation in many previous roles including being head of comment at the Daily Telegraph and as a columnist with the Daily Mail.

Among his current incarnations is ­Director of Reform, a think tank which merged some time back with the right wing Policy Institute whose founders had links to the Scottish Conservative Party. Its ­mission statement was to be “an ­independent body committed to researching how liberal ­principles of market economics, the rule of law and limited government can be applied to modern Scotland”.

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Reform Scotland is a less narrowly ­focused think tank, but it has long been committed to what the current jargon calls “devo max” or devolution plus. Not quite our old pal federalism with a ­tartan makeover­, but definitively not a body ­interested in Scottish independence.

No real surprise then to read a comment piece from Mr Deerin suggesting that “the independence debate can look like a game being played by an elite few, and one that is not especially relevant and certainly not urgent”.

Apparently, according to his account of current events, “Most people pay little ­attention to the daily ins and outs and ups and downs of politics.

“They have spent the past two years worrying not about what currency an ­independent Scotland would use or ­whether Westminster has ­exploited the Sewel ­convention, but about their ­children’s ­education, their elderly parents’ exposure to Covid, and whether they’ll have a job to go back to at the end of furlough.”

Now some of this is not disputable. You will not find your local Co-op queue awash with chat about the Scottish pound, or whether or not the Johnsonian visigoths are at the very gates of ­Holyrood. The missing part of his argument is whether or not the UK Government or a future Scottish one is best placed to remedy our social ills.

The idea a government is best placed to attend to our educational attainment gaps despite having kept the hopeless Gavin Williamson in post year upon year because he helped Boris clamber up the greasy pole, is strictly for our feathered friends.

As for the thought that Scots would fret less about granny’s exposure to the pandemic if only we would leave it all to a government whose Covid dealings have become a byword for casual corruption – you really have to be orbiting in different solar system to buy that one.

At the core of all this is what will “cut through” with the electorate. What issues will convince Scots that the Westminster game is up, and they should do what a 100 other nations have done in the last half century and become a fully fledged state in charge of its own destiny.

Journalists are very bad at spotting these tipping points. You might think that crashing parts of the Scottish economy through Brexit – given than we didn’t vote for it – would concentrate many minds. Some, it has. Though according to a London based columnist this week Brexit is not the issue it was in Scotland. Maybe he should get out more. Up the M1 for starters.

(Some politicians are not much ­better. Douglas Ross chose the week that ­Scotland’s vaccination performance was the best in the UK to complain about it at FMQs. Can the laddie not afford a ­researcher any more? Or did storm ­Arwen total his laptop?)

You might think that trying to ­criminalise the right to protest, or ditch the Human Rights Act and the European variety would have us all up in arms. Yet it seems we have too many other personal woes to care enough. Nevertheless this last week saw a poll which absolutely ­reversed the 2014 result: 55% Yes to 45% No.

One Unionist paper promptly called it an “outlier”.

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Maybe. One poll does not an ­independence summer make. It’s surely telling nevertheless that it follows directly on evidence of Johnson’s serial ­mendacity becoming too frequent and too obvious to ignore any more. It takes a special kind of hubris to tell porkies which can be ­labelled as such before your ample ­backside is back on its bench.

President Macron has apparently called him a clown in charge of a circus. The US has postponed a trade deal which would have benefitted them more than the us, given recent evidence of the UK ­Government’s ability to sell out farmers and fisherfolk without a backward glance at their promises to the contrary.

For all that, I’m guessing that what has really “cut through” to the public on both sides of the border is the news that whilst the rest of the country foreswore Christmas with friends and family on the PM’s explicit instructions, he was having a hooley in Downing Street. Booze, party games, and doubtless no masks.

At the end of the day what might do for Johnson, and what might set Scotland free, are not what people like me and Mr Deerin perceive to be cutting through, but the moment when a disgraceful ­apology for a Prime Minister is caught flouting his own rules to ensure his own pleasures are not disturbed.

IMAGINE, if you will, a scenario where Bute House played host to a Christmas Party as the First Minister sternly warned against meeting even your nearest and dearest. There would not be enough words in the average thesaurus to serve the needs of the commentators falling over themselves to decry her appalling hypocrisy.

Since news of last December’s knees up became public, all forms of media have come alive with personal recollections. New grannies and grandpas unable to meet the wean. Relatives having to die alone, or with only medical professionals to hand. Folks unable to travel to meet families they hadn’t seen for many, many months.

People made very real, highly personal sacrifices, because they were told it was their civic duty to do so. To do their bit to stem the covid tide. To keep the elderly and vulnerable as safe as possible. To be good, responsible citizens.

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As a good, responsible citizen ­Boris Johnson has long since failed the ­practical. The man charged with the ­moral ­leadership of the country eschews mask wearing, even in hospitals, even where doing so was illegal at COP26 in Glasgow.

The man who cancelled Christmas last year – very belatedly and only after his arm was forced up his back – thought, as he always does, that none of these ­deprivations applied to him.

It’s instructive to read the report of one master at that bastion of privilege Eton College that Boris Johnson, even then, had concluded that the rules of the ­institution could be flouted with ­impunity. He was merely biding his time till the call to be world king came along.

Until this last week I might have ­concluded that this ghastly man could get away with almost anything, as he has for most of his scandal strewn life.

Until we learned about Boris’ last ­Christmas.

I do believe this has cut through!