SOME 23 years after Scotland reclaimed a parliament its Time For Reflection slot was occupied last week by a Scot speaking in the Scots tongue.

Cue the amalgamated ­union of self-loathers making all manner of crass remarks about Billy Kay’s wee speech which was careful to give a nod to every political party in the chamber. And was braw.

We are, thank heavens, a mongrel ­nation. We have, thank heavens, no ­shortage of ­diverse views. So why do we keep ­encountering so many Scots bad mouthing their own?

It was certainly a puzzle to American ­public health specialist Devi Sridhar who found Scottish politics around the constitutional debate thoroughly baffling. “Anything you say positive about Scotland becomes a soundbite for independence. If you say anything positive about Nicola Sturgeon, even talking about her as an ­individual, that’s seen as pro-­independence.”

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She’s not the only one confused. I’m ­happy to wear my pro-indy heart on my sleeve, but that neither blinds me to stuff our government gets wrong, nor makes me deaf to people taking a Unionist line. I don’t necessarily understand their reluctance to break from what I regard as a profoundly dysfunctional Westminster, but I absolutely defend their right to propose their views.

Yet there are many high-profile Scots who seem to take a perverse delight in ­talking down their own country and their own heritage. Neil Oliver may be the thinking woman’s Daffy Duck, but he still enjoys media platforms from which he proclaims the superiority of Britishness to anything as “parochial” as being Scottish.

In his way he can make several claims to being unique; a self-proclaimed ­“historian” denounced by the real variety, whilst ­simultaneously being held in the ­lowest possible regard by the archaeological ­community. The fact that he’s also a prominent anti-vaxxer might offer a clue as to the intellectual rigour he brings to the party.

More disappointing this last week was the latest offering from the New ­Statesman’s shiny new political editor Andrew Marr. Mr Marr, unlike Mr Oliver, has ­commanded much respect over the years for some fine books, interesting documentary series, and a number of high-profile roles.

He has written extensively about ­politics for the Scotsman, the Independent, the Economist, the Observer and, of course, became the BBC’s political editor ­before hosting his eponymous Sunday show. In short the Glasgow born, privately ­educated (High School of Dundee, ­Loretto) Cambridge Graduate (a First) is not remotely daft.

Yet I wonder if both that kind of ­education, and the long number of adult years he has spent in London, might have altered his perspective on his ­native land. His latest New Statesman piece ­purported to look at the impact of ­independence on the future of Trident, given that the ­current Scottish Government has long been hostile to housing weapons of mass destruction. As indeed are most Scottish Labour politicians.

This latest column posits the view that the Ukrainian war is bad for ­Scottish ­independence, and that despite SNP ­hostility there are reasons why Trident must remain on the Clyde. The most ­controversial part of his reasoning goes as follows”

“The Ministry of Defence has ­considered, and rejected, sites in south Wales – too near oil and gas installations – and on the southern English coast – too close to busy sea lanes and heavily populated areas. Basing the submarines and warheads on US or French territory would, for the remainder of the UK, be a national humiliation.”

Presumably he means a ­humiliation for those UK politicians who retain the ­fantasy of being a global power ­post-Brexit. For many Scots, not least those of us who have nuclear subs sailing past our kitchen windows, it would be cause for national celebration.

And surely only a Scots-born ­Londoner could argue that basing the weapons ­system on the Thames would be too close to heavily populated areas, whilst ­apparently being content to have them sit tight within incineration distance of half the population of Scotland.

He rightly suggests that: “A Scottish independence vote next year would ­therefore also be a vote immediately to strip the UK of its nuclear deterrent … It would be a unilateral act deeply resented by millions of voters outside Scotland.”

Yet, at the same time, applauded by those Scots long appalled by being the involuntary housekeeper to the nuclear fleet. Then he adds:

“And those are the same voters, of course, on whose goodwill an ­independent Scotland would rely in trying to negotiate financial and trade-and-border separation deals.”

Herein lies the linguistic giveaway. Only those inherently opposed to ­Scottish ­independence deploy the terms “separation” and “separatist”. Those who favour the independent Scottish nation state ­being created, regard the move as an overdue declaration of self-determination.

THE Ukraine war has been used for many nefarious purposes – not least by the Kremlin. It has also been used as an attempted makeover of Boris Johnson, partygoer extraordinaire, and the more tricky task of making Liz Truss seem even slightly plausible as a Foreign Secretary.

Now it’s being deployed as the latest weapon of choice for some to sink any notion of Scottish independence. And ­remember the New Statesman prides ­itself on being something of a house ­journal for lefties, not a publication still fawning on the Tories.

Yet the sub heading on the Marr piece, probably not penned by him, reads: “As Nato fortifies to counter the Russian threat, the case against Trident – and for Scottish independence – is looking ­increasingly frail.”

Neither is this a one off for the NS. His colleague Chris Deerin wrote a piece on a similar theme sub headed as follows: “In the middle of the Ukraine war, the SNP’s foreign policy seems lightweight and ­tokenistic.”

These are the kind of sentiments you might expect to find in their Tory ­equivalent, the Spectator, which leads me to the belief that the great divide ­constitutionally is no longer right wing versus left, but a Londoncentric media versus Scottish ambition.

It certainly reflects the view of the now France-based Andrew Neil, who has long inveighed against independence and its supporters on various platforms and who, during his brief reign as Scotsman editor, contrived to alienate his core readership thanks to his somewhat curious ­conviction that the country of HIS birth was in thrall to “municipal socialism.”

Messrs Marr and Neil are both much admired broadcasters, yet both seem to hold their birthplace in little regard. I don’t imagine either would relish being regarded as House Jocks to the UK ­parliament.

The questions of Nato membership and future Trident deployment are very ­legitimate ones. The debate over how and to what extent the Western alliances should help the Ukraine in its hour of ­desperate need, ditto.

NEVERTHELESS the fact that Putin can wave around his nuclear arsenal and thus freeze some of Nato in its headlights merely proves to me that nuclear deterrence is a busted flush.

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How many enthusiasts for grotesque weaponry sleep easier in their beds knowing that Russia, the USA, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea are all members of this profoundly destabilising club?

Few of us look at our voting choices and place our cross against a party all of whose policies meet with our undiluted approval. That’s not how politics work.

What most of us do is examine how they stand in relation to those issues which matter most to us. I will be voting early (though not often) on May 5, as I’m off later on election day to the wondrous Ullapool Book Festival.

And I’ll be mindful of all those things which motivate me. The cost of living ­crisis, and our energy needs for sure. But if I live to see an independent Scottish state without a nuclear arsenal on my doorstep I’ll be one very happy voter.