THE long wait for the second referendum campaign is now over.

With the publication of the first in a series of papers setting out the fresh prospectus for an independent Scotland, the Scottish Government has now officially launched the indyref2 campaign.

The new prospectus is needed due to the immense change in Scotland’s circumstances since 2014. Scotland has been dragged out of the EU against its will, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has plunged the world into a new era of uncertainty and insecurity, and the pandemic has shown both how interconnected the modern world is and that Scotland is perfectly able to rise to the challenges posed by a global crisis.

Meanwhile, we have learned since 2014 that the UK is very far from being the gold standard of democracy that British nationalism holds it to be. With the UK led by a serial liar and law-breaker and a British government which is prepared to trash international and domestic law and which has set out to neuter and undermine even the few inadequate means that the Westminster system provides for holding power to account, we see that the UK is at very real risk of descending into undemocratic authoritarianism.

Brexit has also exposed the fiction so beloved of British nationalists that British nationalism is not nationalist at all. Brexit has revealed British nationalism in all its ugly, xenophobic, reactionary and triumphalist reality.

In 2014, the Better Together parties with the aid of the British media very successfully framed the independence campaign as debate between Scottish nationalism and British non-nationalist Unionism. That’s a fantasy which they will not be able to sell the second time around. This is not a debate between nationalism and non-nationalism. Independence offers a choice between an internationalist civic Scotland or a reactionary and parochial British nationalist exceptionalism.

The papers due to be published over the coming weeks will set out a detailed platform for an independent Scotland and provide us with the answers that we need in order to persuade that vital part of the Scottish population which is as yet undecided on the question of independence.

In an interview with the BBC, the First Minister also addressed the vexed question of how the referendum will be brought about, saying that it will take place with or without a Section 30 order. Nicola Sturgeon suggested the Scottish Government would explore other avenues to hold an independence referendum outside of the route used in 2014.

Given that the Scottish Parliament has a cast-iron mandate from the people of Scotland, the First Minister said that if the UK Government “had any respect at all for democracy”, it would grant a Section 30 order, allowing a legally binding referendum to be held. However, she noted that this is a UK Government that has no respect for democracy, and added: “That means if we are to uphold democracy here in Scotland we must forge a way forward, if necessary, without a Section 30 order.”

The First Minister also revealed that work to explore alternative avenues to press ahead with a second referendum was well under way and added that a “significant update” on this was coming “very soon indeed”.

One way or another, Scotland is going to have its say, and when it does, this country will vote to restore its ancient independence and to rejoin the international community as an independent sovereign state, and that is a decision for the people of Scotland to make, not Boris Johnson.

The starting pistol has been fired. It’s time to persuade the people of Scotland to grasp the opportunities independence offers to make Scotland a more prosperous, fairer and more democratic nation.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

To receive our full newsletter including this analysis straight to your email inbox, click here and tick the box for the REAL Scottish Politics