IN my career, the next big move will be retirement. I’m on the way out. In university, we sometimes talk about our students being “digital natives”, meaning they often have an intuitive understanding of new platforms which, as their teachers, we have only gained mastery through painful trial and error.

Knowing very little about the age distribution of The National’s readership, I am inferring from last year’s Yessay writers, many of whom seemed to be older people, writing to persuade other older people, that many readers have age, and wisdom.

Securing independence will need youth, enthusiasm, imagination, and dogged determination. It will be easy for the generations to talk past each other. Perhaps that has happened with the formation of the Alba Party.

To someone born in, say, September 1997 as Scotland voted to re-establish its Parliament, who was able to vote in the independence referendum in 2014, but who just missed out on voting in the UK General Election in 2015, devolution is completely natural.

READ MORE: Independent Scotland may hold EU referendum under new SNP plans for indyref2

Probably a Yes voter in 2014, this 24-year-old today looks to Edinburgh to make most of the policy decisions which affect her. She does not have to be actively involved in politics to see the substantial differences between the Scottish and the UK governments and to realise these are differences not just in policy but in how political leaders conceive of their role. This is not just a question of setting Boris Johnson against Nicola Sturgeon, or English Conservatives against Scottish Nationalists. It’s much more about the tone of politics in the two countries.

The Scottish political leaders who have been most successful under devolution – Donald Dewar, Jim Wallace, Tommy Sheridan, Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon, and, to be fair, David McLetchie, Annabel Goldie, and even Ruth Davidson – have, to some extent, treated politics as service. Of course, some of them have very large egos. Some have made career-ending mistakes. And I am not sure that it is quite right to put Ruth Davidson in that list. Her success was initially limited. In the aftermath of the referendum, she leapt from photo opportunity to photo opportunity, no longer astride a tank but instead startling a bull, honing the very personal message “Vote Ruth Davidson for a strong opposition to another divisive referendum.”

Scottish politicians seem to need a genuine warmth of personality. No doubt, in a private meeting, leading English politicians are also charming. But they are so surrounded by the privileges of power that they tend to come over as deigning to meet the common people.

In 2014, Better Together could rely on serious, highly experienced, Scottish politicians such as Alistair Darling to make the argument for pooling and sharing. The SNP’s vice-like grip on power will make that impossible if the referendum is held soon. That young voter from 2014 just needs to see the point of casting her vote for independence once again. The culture of our devolved politics is the best promise she will have that Scotland, independent, can be that better country.

​READ MORE: Scottish independence: Tory peer calls for 'Project Hope' to save the Union

There is no point in treating independence as an event, simply needing a choice now, lasting for ever. Independence is a process.

I expect it will take around 50 years in total. In my reckoning, the 50 years began in 1989 with the formation of the Scottish Constitutional Convention. It will end in 2039, with Scotland an independent country.

The process will see the rise of two generations of politicians. There will be a devolution generation, followed by an independence generation. The first generation is already in power. Politicised in the 1980s, after some missteps in the early years of devolution, the current leadership of the SNP have come to dominate Scottish politics.

They have used the devolution settlement to demonstrate that Scotland can be different from the United Kingdom. The devolution generation of politicians has brought us to the point where it is easy to imagine Scotland choosing independence. Yet nothing is inevitable in politics. In 1999, Donald Dewar chose a cabinet full of young, talented politicians. One of them, Wendy Alexander, briefly became leader of the Labour Party in Scotland. Perhaps her ousting in factional warfare confirmed that the self-styled “party of devolution” did not really understand it.

Like me, the independence generation can see the exit. Their understanding of politics was formed during the campaign to achieve devolution, and the years of turning the SNP into the dominant force in Scottish politics. It will be entirely natural if the final steps to independence mark the end that period of SNP dominance.

To drive independence forward, after the initial years of writing the constitution, and turning Scotland into a fully functioning country, political parties will need to find ways of engaging the young people for whom independence is natural as they approach middle age.

​READ MORE: Wheatus: Boris Johnson is worse than a Teenage Dirtbag, and we back independence!

Probably, these parties will be able to deliver good health and care services, and strengthen education. They will be competent economic managers, developing policies which are suitable for a small country, as it manages the green transition. The country will probably need to be outward-looking, aiming to be attractive place for migrants, and building closer links with Europe, rather than relying on a shrunken UK.

That much is easy to predict. With the constitutional question settled, and Scottish politics rather more ordinary, it will be for today’s young people to make the most of those opportunities.