I WANT to tell you a story. It’s about a journey, from No to Yes. But much more besides. It’s based on an interview I did on the TNT show this week with David Clark.

We talked about Ukraine, Brexit, ­Europe and his voyage to ­independence. David is a foreign ­affairs expert and in a previous life, he was ­adviser to the then Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook. So, he knows what he’s talking about. And is well worth listening to.

David voted No in the 2014 referendum but now believes that independence is inevitable. Moreover, he feels the present Unionist position is unsustainable. They will continue to parrot “now is not the time”, because they know they will lose if a vote is taken. So, delay is the only play available to Westminster parties.

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On the Unionist side, there are those who claim federalism is the answer. I have ­interviewed some of these folks on the TNT show. And Gordon Brown is working on a paper that will likely take this position, or something close to it. Clark thinks it is a non-starter.

“Why?”, I asked. The answer is simple and straightforward.

Few south of the Border wish it. Outside of some on the radical wing of British politics, there is little enthusiasm for the notion. The UK is much too unbalanced, with one large entity and two or three much smaller ­components. Besides, why should the vast majority on these islands agree to amend the shaky British ­constitution simply to accommodate those on the periphery?

Another argument deployed by less fanatical Unionists is that we in the UK are all one. You may have heard this used. There is little difference, they say, between those in Bathgate and those in Blackpool. They share the same problems and have the same values.

Clark used to believe this too. But this changed with Brexit. People in the north of ­England voted very differently to the Scots. It seems we do not after all share the same values. ­People in ­different parts of this island want different things. And that’s OK. What’s not OK is to ­continue to pretend otherwise.

The bulk of people who elect MPs were able to go along with devolution in Wales and Scotland because it largely did not affect them. The ­English parliament continued much as ­before.

Just as importantly for Clark, Scottish ­independence would release England. There are major discussions that people in England need to have about their future. They need to get to grips with the large disparities between north and south, and about how they wish to be ­governed. But Britain gets in the way.

So much energy that should be deployed in England and talking about English matters is ­instead used to shore up a defunct Britain.

England deserves its own space to talk about things that matter to it. How its people see their future, and what they hold dear – without the encumbrance of Wales and Scotland (and Northern Ireland).

This vital discussion has been too long ­delayed. Ironically, it is commonplace in ­Scotland and, increasingly in Wales. It needs to happen south of the Border too.

On the TNT show, we also talked about ­Labour and its muddled approach to ­Scotland. Clark’s view is that Labour sees itself as a ­British project, despite its Scottish roots. ­Labour is the most Unionist of Westminster parties, ­according to Clark. And this severely inhibits its thinking about Scotland.

I would go along with this view. The Tories are much more pragmatic. Faced with a choice of power in England that meant Scotland ­leaving or losing England, independence could be ­guaranteed.

No-one is suggesting this would happen in the near future. However, as Clark pointed out it is difficult to be prescriptive. As they say, a week is a long time in politics. And events have a ­disturbing tendency to make the seemingly ­impossible become entirely practical.

For the foreseeable future, I suspect, we will see more of the same. As conditions ­deteriorate sharply across the UK, Scots will be told, ­uniquely, that it is their fault. The NHS in England is in a very serious condition, people increasingly can neither heat nor eat, and the pound will slump. But – ferries!

If Labour is beyond reasonable argument, my advice to Scottish Tories is this. ­Decouple the Conservative and Unionist Party.

Leave hardcore Unionists to their dreams.

Set up a right-wing independence party with the old-fashioned Scottish values that the party once espoused – untrammelled by ­Unionism.

After all, and uniquely, Scotland does not have a non-left-wing independence party. There is a clear gap in the market.

The TNT show is taking a well-earned break next week. Join us at 7pm on Wednesday, November 23