A BLUEPRINT? A scene setter? A trigger finally pulled on the starting gun? We shall glean more next week about whether the latest pronouncement from Scotland’s First Minister is one likely to deliver on her often-stated promise of a referendum in the first half of the current parliament.

Most of the commentariat have already decided that a poll before the end of next year is a non-runner. Their views are ­nothing if not predictable. More worrying for the Scottish Government ought to be the views of thousands of independence ­supporters whose frustration and ­impatience is now visibly boiling over.

If the latter were all members of Alba, or devoted adherents of Bath-based bloggers, they would be labelled the usual suspects and discounted. Yet the discontent is wider and deeper than the ranks of those who have already given up on the SNP as a likely delivery system for Scottish independence.

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Our government urgently needs to reflect that the dressing room now in danger of ­being lost comprises loyal footsoldiers in the independence movement, long-standing and convinced Yes supporters, and even those fans of the First Minister’s many ­admirable qualities who are to be found querying – not her commitment to indy, but her ability to carpe diem.

We have had so many days which should arguably have been seized, so many nettles needing urgently to be grasped, so many moments, not least last week, when the Yes family clamoured for the full-throated ­campaign so long promised yet not begun. The campaign without which we cannot move the dial significantly towards a settled majority for Yes.

It makes me sick to the pit of my ­stomach that we should be content to allow our ­future to be decided by a man so ­palpably unfit for office, and a cabinet who are ­apparently comfortable with deporting ­asylum seekers to Africa. Asylum seekers!

It makes me incandescent to watch the casual way in which the UK Government carelessly loses billions, whilst those whom they were elected to protect sidle into food banks to put some sort of nourishment on the family table.

So long as we are content to give any credence or obeisance to this car crash of a government, we will never be more than imprisoned back seat passengers.

The Scottish Government is not ­immune from political gravity. After 15 years, the weariness is apparent. As well it might be after the particularly ­arduous strains of the pandemic. Yet that is ­another reason for urgency. It would be a foolish ­administration who presumed itself to be immortal. The Canadian ­Conservatives and Scottish Labour all paid a high price for electoral complacency.

There is a narrative currently ­being sold by a range of columnists and ­analysts to the effect that if Scottish ­Labour just upped its offer, just provided more ­evidence of policy development or ­another reconfiguration of the UK/Scotland relationship then it would reap a tidy harvest. It would see off the SNP and push the Scottish ­Tories into greater irrelevance.

I’m not buying. There are some ­genuine talents in the Labour fold in Holyrood, but hardly sufficient in number to portray themselves as a government in waiting. And as for yet another all Brits together reworking of a very tired script, Messrs Starmer and Brown might do well to ­reflect that pigs in pokes rarely survive a second, third, or fourth journey to ­market.

The National: Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar speaking to party candidates and activists in Glasgow about building on this week's council election results. Picture date: Monday May 9, 2022. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire.

I think Scottish Labour will do no more than whistle in the wind so long as it ­continues to take the London ­Labour hard line on opposition to ­Scottish ­independence. It’s not only failing to bring its lost sheep “back home”, but turning a blind eye to the third of its own membership who pronounce themselves pro-indy. It’s behaving like a team who’s six nil down at half time and pulls off ­defenders to give its new striker a run.

Conversely, if it looks both at its own history and the current constitutional stand off with a pragmatic eye, it might find itself in a much healthier situation in the post-independence Scotland against which it continues to set its face. For ­Labour (Labour!) to consider it a triumph when gaining more Scottish votes than the Tories, then it’s surely way past time for a re-think.

Meanwhile those selfsame Tories have devised a very particular form of ­suicide. As all but the bloodless Alister Jack, and David Duguid ­concluded last week, the Johnson gig needs to be up if they fancy any chance at the next election.

Which leaves Scotland in a quite ­different place to its neighbour in the south. In England, it has been clear for some time that the government which shot itself in both feet over Brexit, is now hobbling about; six ministers in search of a policy, 12 more household names only in their own households. When your “big ideas” comprise imperial measures, crowns on pint glasses, and re-heated Thatcherian housing policies, time to exit the stage.

Just as the Scottish Government has been fortunate in the paucity of plausible alternatives, so too has the Westminster variety in whom it has faced across the dispatch box. Jeremy Corbyn may have been lauded by many for his radicalism, but politics ultimately is about power and there is no way he was going to be voted into Number 10.

The National: Sir Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer has disappointed many of his own supporters who didn’t expect him to miss so many open goals with only Johnson between the sticks, and certainly didn’t expect him to wrap himself in the Union flag and play the patriot game so avidly. Neither is it a performance likely to win him many plaudits in Scotland, though I did once spot Ian Murray in a Union flag jacket.

Like many folk on this side of the pond, I watched slack jawed as the inquiry examining the appalling events of January 6, 2021, laid out its findings on prime time US TV. You only have to substitute the Houses of Parliament or Holyrood for the Congress building to grasp the enormity of what that hysterical riot represented in the denial of democracy.

There are two lessons we might take from that awful day. One was how quickly the Republican Party re-wrote the script, the GOP having been siezed by Trump supporting zealots. The capture of the Tory party by extreme Europhobic ­Brexiteers provides a worrying mirror ­image of how once mainstream parties can morph into reality deniers.

The second thought I had was about Trump and Johnson. Previously I had concluded the comparisons being made were lazy and self serving. Yet when I listened to sober sided legislators telling TV hosts that America had contrived to elect a serial liar only ever concerned with his own status and advancement, I heard troubling echoes of where we find ourselves in the UK.

READ MORE: Corruption and cruelty: Is Boris Johnson the UK's 'Donald Trump phase'?

Boris Johnson is not a Trumpian ­rabble rouser. Neither is he even slightly as ­stupid as the former President, though we are not talking high bars here. Yet, like Trump, he has left behind a litany of broken promises, casual lies and broken commitments in his personal life.

Like Trump, his primary motivation seems self-promotion on the way up and blustering self-protection when on the slide.

Happily, we do not have any obvious comparators in any political party in Scotland. Whatever the doorstep pundits may opine, most of our politicians believe in public service.

I would argue that post independence most of them will also find a new lease of life. Why take the risk, argue the ­Unionists? Because, my dears, there can be no greater risk for Scotland than failing to take the path to self-determination. We will make mistakes. I cannot imagine them to be worse than those of the Johnson/Patel/Truss/Gove/Raab combo.