TWO events are colliding in Scottish politics – the Supreme Court case on whether the Scottish Parliament has the power to legislate on an independence referendum and almost daily calls for a Westminster election. Don’t shoot the messenger, but neither vote is likely to happen.

In the background, the Scottish Government’s visit to the Supreme Court puts a tombstone on the eccentric days of three years ago when we heard the vacuous nonsense of “Plan A” (the referendum route to independence) having “momentum”. That was a time when “Plan B” (the election route) couldn’t even be discussed.

Obviously, Plan A does not have that asserted momentum. However, the repercussions of the lack of discussion and consequential learning are still affecting current conclusions.

It is arguable that it would have been better for Holyrood to have legislated for a referendum and have the Supreme Court process done by now. Actually, it might have been even better to go to the Scottish electorate with the background of the UK Supreme Court striking down the decisions of a democratically elected Parliament on self-determination. However, the decision was made before the debate was had. But, the “court of the people” might subsequently have taken a dim view of the Supreme Court’s actions at any plebiscite election (and may still do), thus adding percentage points to an independence win.

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Regardless, now it is clear Plan B is winning out, especially given the Supreme Court visit. Lately, the First Minister’s sudden conversion in announcing the use of elections as a vote on independence was a welcome eventual realisation that the referendum route was, as warned, somewhere between blocked and non-existent within the 1998 Scotland Act.

When the Supreme Court rules, it probably will indeed leave the election route as the only possible ballot box event for independence.

As the other big event of the moment, we have had calls for a UK General Election as this week, Rishi Sunak became the latest Prime Minister to assume office without the backing of a public vote.

Currently, we in the parties of opposition all want an election. However, the current parliamentary arithmetic from what I dubbed at the time the “Christmas Present Election” of 2019 still casts a shadow. Back then, when the Tories were riding high in the polls, a combination of the opposition parties’ miscalculations and a variety of other zany reasons contrived to gift Boris Johnson victory and a majority of more than 80 MPs, I was one of very few MPs to vote against a snap election, which was such an obvious favour to the Tories. That gift has another two years to run.

Conservative MPs, who are now seeing the polls run against them, are very far from being minded to return the naive favour. They will, therefore, cling on at Westminster for as long as they can and hope that something turns up. There will be no immediate UK General Election.

Now to the upshot – if the Supreme Court confirms the referendum route to independence never actually existed and a UK General Election isn’t happening, will Scotland’s politicians and Parliament complain for two years about Westminster choices or make an opportunity for the Scottish people to vote for independence and hold an extraordinary Holyrood election under the 1998 Scotland Act (Sec 3, Subsection 1)?

After all, there will be elections in Northern Ireland on December 15 under Section 22 of its 1998 Devolution Act. The debate will logically coalesce over Holyrood or Westminster elections for independence. So then, do we wait for a Westminster election of an uncertain date, with a franchise different to the 2014 referendum, in which 16 and 17-year-olds and EU nationals cannot vote?

THIS could mean leaving Scotland at the mercy of Tory economic extremists for two long, difficult years or having an election as soon as seven weeks away at any near-random point in time. Would the Scottish Government be ready to dance to that tune tomorrow?

Then there is the question of the “media narrative”, which will essentially be about how many seats Labour will win in England – a sort of “1997 election” all over again.

A UK election will see Scottish independence only as a footnote. The narrative will concentrate on the majority in the sinking ship of the UK and not the 8.4% of the UK population, Scotland, which has a lifeboat. A Westminster election is never on Scotland’s terms and certainly won’t be in the now-panicked UK.

By contrast, triggering a Holyrood election is something the Scottish Government can control, in terms of timing. The media narrative on an election only in Scotland, called on independence, is obviously going to reflect that.

It would have the proper franchise and would save the Scottish population a possible two years of difficult Tory policies from over the Border at Westminster.

The day of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement at Westminster on November 17 could be the carpe diem moment.

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In any independence plebiscite, the strengths of the opponents are a huge part of the equation. The former head of the UK civil service, Lord Bob Kerslake, stated this week on Sky News that the UK is facing a perfect storm. Inflation is at 10%, –or 14% for food inflation – interest rates have almost doubled; we are likely moving into a recession, government finances are in deep trouble, public services are more strained, and austerity cuts are likely incoming. This will put the UK Government on the back foot.

Meanwhile, as Scotland suffers due to UK mismanagement, independent Ireland (newly number eight in the UN Human Development Index) is free of Tory-induced misery A Scottish Government showing that independence is seriously on the cards with a definite ballot-box date and a broad-based inclusive campaign will win against the weakened UK Government position.

Given that the referendum route is 99% dead and the Westminster election route is not about to be gifted by the Tories, does Holyrood act positively or dither on the sidelines, moaning about the battering from the coming clearly predicted dark economic storms on the population?

Ultimately, it is down to collective choices and leadership to make itthe weather. The alternative is the anxiety of missed opportunity and continuing with passive coping strategies – such as asking Westminster to gift us an election, please.