IT isn’t a reshuffle of the deckchairs on the sinking ship SS Westminster that Scotland needs – it is the step shift in our governance that independence in the European Union will bring.

The broken Westminster system created, enabled, aided and abetted Brexit, the rotten May, Johnson and now Truss governments and, on all the big areas, Labour has accepted their premise, not pushed back against it. It is becoming ever clearer that the Tories’ time in office is up. Yet what will replace them is still up for grabs.

The implosion of Liz Truss’s government over just a few weeks has been astounding, even by the metrics of recent political history. Her authority is shot, her influence negligible, and her allies dwindling.

Her recent media appearances strike me as someone who has had their entire worldview crumble before their eyes and is in shock that it happened.

READ MORE: Liz Truss isn't the only Tory leader who should go – The REAL Scottish Politics

Having given up everything to be Prime Minister, she now resides in Downing Street without any influence over the events that she and her Brexit backers have set in motion.

Don’t get me wrong – I will be more than happy to see more than a decade of Conservative rule be over. Surely something, anything, can be better than what we have seen from Truss, Johnson, May et al?

Except … what if a Labour victory isn’t much better? Put Keir Starmer’s Labour next to David Cameron’s Tories, and it will be very difficult to find many differences. Immigration? Hard as possible. Rejoin the EU? No chance. Democracy? Only if delivered by first-past-the-post, please.

We don’t know for sure when the next General Election will be. It could be weeks, and we need to be ready. But, mitigating against that, we should not forget that the Conservatives still have an 80-seat majority, as we saw on Monday night as they trooped obediently through the lobbies to vote on the Energy Prices Bill.

Current electoral polling predicts a bad night for the Tories, and they are not required to hold an election until January 2025. They may be imploding, but simple arithmetic and Tory political history suggest they will cling on as long as they can. How long that is is an open question, and we need to be ready.

BUT what if there is a snap election called either later this year or sometime next? It is possible Labour could be returning to the sunlit lands of government, and that, I suspect, will set the tone of the UK coverage of the election. You can be certain the other UK parties and the media will seek to portray the next election as one that is choosing the next prime minister. “Strong And Stable With Starmer”, as it were – although we all know how that slogan turned out last time!

And there is the SNP’s challenge. We already know that independence is the only way for Scotland to get rid of this Westminster bourach for good. The Punch & Judy revolving door of Tory-Labour-Tory governments have delivered this mess, and only independence will permanently get us out of it and allow us to work with our friends and colleagues across the EU – and, indeed, to deal with our friends in the rest of the UK as a friendly neighbour, as sovereign equals.

However, what of the electorate and those desperate for an end to the nightmare? Starmer has successfully purged Labour of its values as well as some of its toxicity, but many might make the political calculation of “better them than the Tory”. If he succeeds in getting the backing of much of the media, this is something we must take into consideration while we are campaigning now.

We need to be aware, and we need to be ready. The economic storm that has hit us will only get worse and won’t be resolved, so long as we remain part of the Union.

Even if Starmer were to somehow become prime minister tomorrow, the challenges we are facing will not be resolved quickly, nor will there be anything to prevent their re-emergence, going by current Labour policy proposals.

Our task then is to make sure voters in Scotland understand that. Complacency is a killer for any political party, as is the arrogance that the electorate will somehow always back you. Those were two of the reasons for the decline and fall of Scottish Labour and how, more than 15 years later, in their hearts of hearts, they still can’t believe Scotland is no longer theirs.

We must not make the same mistakes. Neither independence nor a UK election victory is not going to simply fall out the tree for us to catch – we need to be out there making the case one doorstep and public meeting at a time.

Our recent SNP party conference has given us a much-needed boost, but we need to continue making the case for independence day after day, door after door. Regardless of its occupant, 10 Downing Street will not consider the interests of the people of Scotland, only whatever helps their own agenda.

Starmer might well offer a more attractive gruel than Truss (or whoever is in titular charge by then), but it is still weak beer compared to what we will win with independence.